Nick Cushing hailed New York City FC's loyal fans as the driving force behind his side’s success.
The Head Coach has often highlighted the importance of the City Family in spurring the Boys in Blue to victory, especially on home soil.
Speaking ahead of the final fixture of a three-game home stand – Saturday’s visit of FC Dallas – he echoed the sentiments, asserting how much he and the squad love to play at home.
Cushing revealed the team watch footage of the fans for inspiration before a match, dubbing the NYCFC supporters ‘the best in MLS.’
“We feel at home in Queens just like we do in the Bronx,” he said. “We love that New York feel, the atmosphere, the connection we get with our fans, the real energy that we get when we get those offensive moments.
“We have had a lot of games at Citi Field that we just get that real energy in the magic there. To me, it’s that New York feel.
“It’s the only way you can win. Of course, there is a huge demand on our performance, and we play a major part in preparing, and putting in a performance that will win football games – but you have to have that connection, that synergy, that real spark between your supporters and your team.
“We know that we drive that, and if we start well, if we play high, intense football, if we play an offensive game, we can build that connection in the early parts of the game, we know our supporters bring incredible support.
“They are in my opinion, the best in MLS because not only to they support us here in the Bronx, and in Queens, but they also support us on the road.
“We’ve seen that, and I’ve seen that personally across 2021 in huge games, and then across last season, whether it be Montréal away in the playoffs, [Inter] Miami at home… Those amazing games.
“We know we play a huge part in that. It drives us every day. We use our supporters, and the video that our Content Team collects to demand performances out of our players, because they really love it when they have the connection with the fans.
“I say every week: if we can create that, we get the magical moments at the end for the game where we share the win, so when we do have a game in the Bronx, and in Queens, we get really excited for that.”
Previewing this weekend’s clash, Cushing shared an update on James Sands, confirming the midfielder is fit to feature after his midweek exploits with the US Men’s National Team.
The 22-year-old completed the full 90 minutes against Mexico, as the Stars and Stripes earned a 1-1 draw, courtesy of Dallas dangerman Jesús Ferreira’s late leveler.
With the transfer window set to close next week, the Head Coach added the Club are assessing options with the focus on ensuring the right players are recruited.
On Sands, he said: “James is available to play. He's in good spirits. I think he's pleased that he played well in the game and we'll prepare as normal.
“It was good game I enjoyed the game. I stayed up and watched the game. I thought James played well, so we’ll plan as normal.
“The luxury for both teams is that it’s that only one player that played the majority of minutes. I know a second Dallas player came on the pitch, but for a short period of time. I think what we’ve both got going for us is that both players – James Sands and Jesús Ferreira are – are both incredibly professional players.
“Their recovery, and what they're doing today and tomorrow, they will be doing everything that they can do.
“Recruitment is ongoing, but when you get to the place when it's three, four days away, the day is important, because if we want to bring in a player, we have to do it in the next four days.
“There'll be no disappointment. I'm really pleased with the group that we have. We will continue to try and bring in the right players in the positions that you can see where we need depth, or where you can see where we can potentially make the team stronger.
“We're working at it. We will be working at it on Tuesday, if we don't do it by Monday. It will be no different – we're not working any harder than we were.
“In our league, it's really apparent that you have to recruit the right players for your squad, and if you bring the wrong player, whether it be a player that doesn't get in your first 11 that you've brought in to be in your first 11, or a player that isn't the right guy for the culture that you have in the group, or is in the right position for what you need, then has a huge impact.
“We will continue to communicate together – me, David [Lee], Brad [Sims], the coaches – to see whether we can recruit players to make this group stronger, but I'm incredibly happy with where the group is.
“You can see in the performances that the team is improving and growing, and I (like all the fans) want the best players to make our team the best team for New York City, and if we can do that today, tomorrow. Saturday, Sunday, we'll of course do that.
“If the right player comes along in the secondary transfer window, we'll do that. The whole focus is on making the team the best team that we can be, whether it's on the training pitch or in the recruitment.
“We're here working hard, trying to find ways try and organize and prepare this team so that we can be a better team every week, because ultimately performance is what will give us results.
“For the players, it's been good to review over the last six, seven games where we feel the performance was improving. Especially this week, the players are seeing that the hard work is paying back in those moments.
“We're not getting carried away – we know that we still have huge areas to improve in. Once again, the team has worked incredibly hard this week to make sure that they prepare themselves to put a performance in at home again.”
NYCFC are back on home soil next weekend for the last match of our three-game home stand.
The Boys in Blue welcome FC Dallas to Citi Field on Saturday, April 22 in a 7:30pm ET kick-off.
Tickets for the game are now available. Don't miss your chance to cheer on the City Boys!
Sign-up for MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app - and never miss a moment of the 2023 season. Stream every regular-season, playoff, and Leagues Cup match. Every Screen. No Blackouts.