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Nick Cushing | "The Team Showed Togetherness." 

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Nick Cushing has hailed his team's show of togetherness in the face of adversity against Portland Timbers on Saturday Night.

The Boys in Blue took to the field at Providence Park on Saturday knowing that a victory would aid their attempts to climb closer toward the playoff line in the Eastern Conference.

Those aspirations took a dent towards the end of the first half after Brazilian forward Evander put the hosts a goal up thanks to an effort from the top of the penalty box.

Heading into halftime a goal down, NYCFC responded well after the break and found their equalizer in the 51st minute via a Keaton Parks header.

That sparked City into life in the final third, and they produced several more great chances before ultimately being forced to settle for a draw. Reflecting on the game afterward, Cushing hailed the spirit and togetherness of the group, particularly after finishing the first period a goal down.

"Football is a game of mistakes," he said.

"Mistakes happen in the game but I think the team has been forced to mature forced to become resilient. You see a team today that hasn't won in ten go one nil down and comes in at halftime one nil down.

"Many teams will break and split and the dressing room will start to splinter. What we see is a group that comes together stronger.

"Yes there are areas we need to improve in. We have to put teams under more pressure offensively, more shots on goal, more opportunities created. I think the team is really coming together.

"We need to improve the team. We need to we need to add more quality when you have more quality moments to see. But actually the togetherness the fight and the spirit is the best I've experienced as I've been since I've been."

Santi

Cushing was also keen to focus on the positives after a challenging seven days for his side in which they endured three games - including two on the road - in less than a week.

Their journey started in the Bronx on Saturday when they took on the Columbus Crew before trips to Atlanta and Portland completed a busy week of games for the Boys in Blue.

"I think ultimately coming into these places is incredibly difficult," Cushing said.

"I mean, just the travel distance alone - going from Atlanta to Portland, Wednesday to Saturday - I think the nature of our league is if you go to these places and you pick up a point it's not so bad.

"We obviously want to win but I think the nature of the run we're on it feels disappointing because we want to win a football game but to go one nil down in Portland and come away with a point we have to look at the positives.

"We need to win football games because we need to climb the table so it's small positives, but we still have to show the desire and the hunger and we have to continue to do the work."

He went on to add: "I said at halftime I really believed they would find a way to get back into the game because I know my team. The surge of energy [after the goal] was there because you know that they weren't prepared to lose the game.

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