Nick Cushing | “This Team Will Fight.”

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Nick Cushing says his New York City squad are ready to fight in Wednesday’s trip to Orlando City SC.

The Boys in Blue travel to Florida looking to bounce back from a disappointing run of form, and claim a first road win of 2023.

Speaking ahead of the midweek clash, the Head Coach revealed the team had held positive discussions following Saturday’s Hudson River Derby, eager to set things right and restore confidence ahead of this weekend’s bye break.

“Physically the guys are good,” Cushing said. “We had the opportunity to rotate a few guys from the Cincinnati game… 

“We will have to rotate a few guys again because Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday is difficult to turn around, but we've had a really good training session with the guys that didn't play, so they're prepared. 

“Whichever team that we put on the field, that team will fight to try and win the football game against Orlando.

“Lifting this team is something that only time will tell. If you ask my opinion and the feel for the facility, everyone is happy – the guys are frustrated but they’re playing their part.

“We had a really good meeting on Sunday where we had the guys in, and the guys were really honest with where we feel we are, discussing what we have to do better, and how we get better quickly.

“We’ve gone through the video this morning on areas where we need to be better – the critical areas of how we win football games.

“It's critical that we rely on the leadership of the group: Thiago Martins, Maxime Chanot, Keaton Parks, Alfredo Morales, Luis Barraza – guys that are all in different places: from time at the Club, experience in playing, age...

“That leadership group, I will rely on – guys that have been through really successful periods, and the periods when we haven't won many football games, and we've had little bumps in the road. 

“Those guys are helping the inexperienced guys but it's a young team. Ultimately, it's a team that wants to win, and we encourage the team all the time to review and reflect on why we don't win.

“We're open and we're honest with where we feel we need to improve, and it's been actually refreshing in this period. It's difficult that we're losing football games, and we're not happy – we’re frustrated – but it's been refreshing to see the guys really look at themselves, and look at their teammates, and demand more because we have to do more to win.

“The guys are motivated. I think ultimately, if I felt the guys were not in a good place, I would be worried but all I see is guys that are really hungry to win a football game. We have to go and put the performance in against Orlando.“


Reflecting on the recent run, and Saturday’s trip to Red Bulls, Cushing asserted his City side must be sharper in the final third with a much-improved end product, and better decision-making.

“As a coach, with the team I’ve addressed it already,” he added. “We have regular review meetings after games, and we always reflect on the games.

“I showed some video this morning of where I feel we should be better – we have to make better decisions in the final third.

“We have to grow, and we have to improve in that area. I think that pleasing part is: we're getting into the final third, and we're getting the ability to highlight those moments but like I said, we have to be better.

“These are moments that are going to define us in the sense of scoring goals and winning football games. If we don't do that, we won't create enough chances. That's why the stats say that we don't have shots on the goal – because our decision making in the final third must be better.

“As coaches, we look at what areas of the game we have had real focus on. We've done a lot of work around trying to build, and trying to connect and improve the chemistry of our front players, and we've been happy in moments with it. All we have to do is make a better decision, and we get a clear chance on the goal. 

“If we weren't working the ball into the final third, or teams were forcing us to be a team that was direct – kicking the ball up to Santi Rodríguez and Richy Ledezma – I'd be really worried because we don't have that real physical presence that we can play direct to, that we can put the ball up there, and go and fight with.

“We have to work the ball – the profile of our team is: we're a team that has to keep possession of the ball, and get up the field, and keep the game compact. If the game gets end-to-end, we will lose because of the style of the game. 

“At the moment, we're not losing because of the style of the game – we're losing because we aren't creating clear chances, and we have to be better at that. It’s a real small detail but the differences is: it’s the most critical detail in the game. 

“Until we make better decisions and create clear chances, we're going to make games difficult for ourselves. We were by far the better team in the game [against Red Bulls] but we didn't win the game, and that ultimately is the aim: we have to win football games.

“Whatever the reason is, it's really simple: we have to score goals to win football games.”

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