Nick Cushing is excited to return to Yankee Stadium on Saturday as he prepares for the next installment of the Hudson River Derby.
The Boys in Blue will host their rivals from across the Hudson in a 3:30pm kickoff. Both teams are in pursuit of a place in the playoffs meaning that three points could prove vital come the end of the regular season.
Asked whether this being the last Regular Season game in the Bronx impacted the team's motivation, Cushing said, "To play at Yankee Stadium means everything to us,"
"To play in front of our home fans at Yankee Stadium, especially in the game against Red Bull is an amazing occasion. It's really unique for us, really exciting for us. I don't know if we call it pressure, we feel pressure to win always because we want to win, it comes from the desire of wanting to win, but we definitely have a huge desire to do it.
"I would like to think we have the same desire and fight to win at Yankee Stadium, whether it's the first or the last."
The two sides have faced off twice this year with Red Bulls taking the victory in both. Reflecting on those two meetings, Cushing believes his side have failed to adequately take their chances.
"I think it's been tough because we haven't put our chances away," he said.
"I think we have respect for the fact that their style is completely different to us. We completely dominated the first game. We didn't create enough clean opportunities and the second game was fairly even in the sense of they applied the press well, we played through the press on many occasions, and we don't create clean chances because we have to make better decisions in the final third and they win the game on a penalty.
"I think both games were pretty even I think we probably played better in terms of imposing our style in the first game, without creating clear chances and taking those chances.
"We know that the games are always going to be fine margins, but we have opportunities in the way that we play the game to create chances in both games and those are the small margins that gives us wins in these games.
"We won the game last year at Yankee Stadium off a set play moment and an almost secondary attack from a set play. We have to make sure that we don't allow counter attack moments. We don't allow Red Bull to apply their style but I can't say that I feel like we've been dominated in either game."
Cushing also discussed the contrasting styles between the two teams and why it makes the Hudson River Derby such an enthralling contest.
The Red Bulls will be keen to use their high press to create problems in the final third, while NYCFC's preference to control the ball through possession paints an interesting tactical battle, with the NYCFC Head Coach adamant that whichever team imprints their idea on the game will gain the upper hand.
"I've said before when we play Red Bull and I say this to Troy Lesesne; when we play each other our styles really conflict," Cushing said.
"If you don't support Red Bull and you don't support New York City it is an amazing game to watch because the two styles contradict each other really well and that's why I think it makes for an amazing game.
"The team I say every time we play the team that applies the style the most will get the upper hand in the game and then it's about taking your chances."
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