Thiago Martins says the New York City squad cannot wait to step out onto home soil once again this Saturday.
The Boys in Blue entertain Philadelphia Union at Citi Field for our first home fixture in more than a month, having spent the previous five games on the road.
After a tough run of results, Martins asserts the players are relishing the chance to play in front of the NYCFC fans once again, refreshed from last weekend’s welcome bye break.
“It’s really good to be back home with our fans,” the defender said. “They always support us and at home, we work hard and we play very well. We need to continue that and improve that.
“After this time away, we feel fresh and refreshed mentally. We lost four games in a row and drew the last game against Orlando, so this time was good to refresh the mind and body.
“Now, we are working hard this week, and we know it’s going to be a hard game against Philly. At home, we need to impose ourselves, press higher, and do or best in front of our fans and our families.
“We need to do our best to win the game.”
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City headed into the 10-day break on the back of a positive result at Orlando City SC, thanks to Gabe Segal’s last-gasp equalizer.
Martins, who addressed the squad in a huddle after the game with a rousing speech, highlighted the fighting spirit of the squad, and the importance of bringing a tough losing streak to an end.
“Like I told the guys after the game, we know that point in Orlando was so important for us,” he added.
“We’d lost four games in a row and in the final minutes of that match, we could see how we worked hard together – we ran together, we did everything together in that game.
“We need to think about this Club, this team, and work together because we know if we play together, we are a good team, and we can be a better team.
“We know If we continue that, if we improve that, we can be a better team – against Philly, against anyone. If we work together, there’s a big difference than if we decided to play for ourselves.
“In my position, as a defender, I can’t be selfish – I just want to help the team. I just want to help the Club, and I want to help my teammates. If I help them, it helps me – if we play well, we press well and we are doing everything together, I’ve got an easy job!
“I’m there in the back, and I can see everything and help them. I just want to improve my soccer, but I also need my teammates to improve this. Everyone needs to have this in mind because if we help each other, we can be a better team and achieve our success.”
Saturday’s encounter marks the first fixture in a three-game home stretch for the Boys in Blue with quickfire matches against FC Cincinnati and New England Revolution next week.
Martins expects a hat-trick of tough tests against three of the Eastern Conference’s in-form sides, but believes his City team are growing together week by week.
“We know it’s going to be a difficult game,” he said of Philadelphia. “They have a good team, an experienced team, and we are working hard this week to prepare for this game.
“We know that we need to improve. Step by step, it’s a process. We have changed a lot over the past two years, but we want good moments – we want to achieve what we want to achieve: to be successful.
“[We can do that] when we play together, when we work together, and we are working hard for that.”
Tickets for NYCFC's visit of Philadelphia Union this Saturday are available. Don't miss your chance to secure your seat at Citi Field.
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