Nick Cushing | "You Can Feel The Buzz Ahead Of Home Opener."

Nick Cushing prematch presser

Nick Cushing says his New York City Football Club squad cannot wait for Saturday’s 2023 home opener.

The Boys in Blue welcome Inter Miami CF to Yankee Stadium, gracing home turf for the first time in the new campaign, having started with successive road trips to Nashville SC and Chicago Fire.

With almost five months passed since the City Boys’ last home fixture – a 3-0 win over Miami in last year’s playoffs – the Head Coach asserts he and the squad are counting down the minutes to kick-off.

“We’re really, really excited to play at home,” he said. “We’ve been on the road through preseason, then Nashville and Chicago, and you can feel the buzz, the excitement in the team that we’re going to play at home in front of our fans.

“We’re really hungry to put a performance in for 90 minutes. It was a slow start in Nashville and a slow finish in Chicago. It’s Game Three coming up against a difficult Miami team, but I can feel how hungry the team is.

“We just want to make sure that at home, we can play well and entertain our fans.”

Sharing a squad update, Cushing also revealed Tayvon Gray is back in contention, having missed the Chicago trip through injury, while Santiago Rodríguez is settling back in well upon his return.

“Santi came in on Friday afternoon, then we played on Saturday,” he explained. “He’s been here through Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and we have another session tomorrow. There’s plenty of time to get him integrated into a new way of working.

“There are not so many changes, but we played five at the back at the end of the year with him in one of the front three. Now, we’ve changed a little bit: 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3.

“We still have the opportunity to play three at the back – Tayvon’s back – so for him, it’s not so much change. It’s just about getting him integrated with the group, and we’re pleased we have had that opportunity this week.”

Nick Cushing presser chivnyc

Miami have enjoyed an impressive start to 2023, winning both of their opening fixtures against CF Montréal and Philadelphia Union with four different players on the scoresheet.

Cushing asserts he is not surprised by their strong start, heaping praise on counterpart Phil Neville.

“Phil has done an incredible job,” Cushing added. “He’s a top coach, a really good manager. You can see in the way he’s transformed that team – whether that be the personnel in the team, the guys on the roster, the effort and togetherness they have. They’re a really difficult team.

“We experienced that last year. We played them here at Yankee Stadium, and we had a really good game, though they were good on the day.

“We lost away at Miami. They were improved, and then the playoff game was difficult. We played our best football in the second half.

“They have some really important guys – Gregore, [Jean] Mota in the middle of the pitch – and they’ve added really good guys: [Rodolfo] Pizarro is back, Josef Martinez has been a goalscorer in the league for years…

“It will be a tough test, and it doesn’t’ surprise me that they’ve started 2-0. Not only are they an improved team, but they’ve had the opportunity to play twice at home and they’re really strong in front of their own fans.”

NYCFC are back on home soil, welcoming Inter Miami CF to Yankee Stadium in our 2023 home opener on Saturday, March 11th (7:30pm ET). Tickets for the game are available now!

Join us at our pre-match Home Opener Celebration between 5-7pm at Billy's Sports Bar in the Bronx, and get in the mood for our first home game of 2023 with a DJ, food and drinks, games and raffle prizes! Register here.

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