Nick Cushing | “We Didn’t Start Well Enough.”

Nick Cushing post

Nick Cushing says his New York City side were left to rue a slow start in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Toronto FC.

The Boys in Blue are still searching for a first road win of 2023, having suffered a narrow defeat at BMO Stadium, courtesy of C.J. Sapong's strike just 22 seconds into the second period.

Though kick-off was delayed for 20 minutes due to a fire alarm, the Head Coach refused to use the fact as an excuse.

Speaking after the loss, Cushing expressed his disappointment that the Boys in Blue started the game on the back foot, and were left chasing the game.

“We didn’t start the game well enough,” he admitted. “We spoke about having to start the game well, especially here, and we didn’t start the game well enough.

“Both teams have to go through the same process [with the delay]. It’s not helpful to go out, warm-up, come in and have to go back out, but both teams were just as frustrated with that.

“It took us 40 minutes to get ahold of the game possession-wise – the last five minutes of the first half were better… Matías [Pellegrini] gets a chance.

“We turn the ball over far too much in the first half, which means we sit low, and suffer against two top wingers – and it’s really poor to concede a goal straight after half-time because it puts us on the back foot.

“You have to have these games where you don’t play well but get points on the road. I’m disappointed that in the last ten minutes, we didn’t approach the game in the way we should have.

“We have to be a team that when we’re not playing well, develops the mentality to correct that in the game. 

“I’m sure there’ll be small positives in the way we played once I’ve watched it back, but I don’t feel positive at the moment.”

In the midst of a four-game road stretch, Cushing had acknowledged before the Toronto trip he would be able to assess the level of his team upon the conclusion of this challenging run.

The Head Coach conceded his team are lacking the same level of performance on the road as on home soil, but asserts his side will solve the issue as soon as possible.

“We know we’re not producing the same away as we are at home,” he added. “This game is another reflection of that.

“It’s the second game we’ve gone with Santi [Rodríguez] up there [in the forward role]. Previously, we went with Gabe Segal at New England, Talles [Magno] at Houston… We have to produce more.

“It’s a mindset, it’s a mentality. We were better in the New England game. It’s disappointing we didn’t approach this game in the way we wanted to.

“We know at the moment our home record is good; our away record isn’t good enough, and isn’t where we want it to be for the team we want to be.

“We have to solve that. That’s the opportunity we have now – we go onto Charlotte, Cincinnati, Red Bulls…

“We have to look at this. If we want to be a team that is developing week in, week out, a team that is developing the ability to get points on the road, we have to look at this game.

“Whatever the reason is why we don't start the game, we will find the reason, and put it right for the Charlotte game.”

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