Nick Cushing | “We Have To Be Up For The Fight.”

Nick Cushing Piece

Nick Cushing is ready for a high-intensity battle when his side takes on St. Louis City SC this weekend. 

New York City FC travels to CITYPARK stadium this weekend with the hope of securing a big road win to kickstart their season. 

The hosts play with a distinct high-press style, and Cushing revealed his side is aware of what awaits them in Missouri this weekend. 

“I think St. Louis will put us under more pressure [than Charlotte FC],” Cushing said. “They’ll put our first line of possession under more pressure. The front two for St. Louis and the front two for Charlotte will be different in terms of their pressing intensity.

“I think we have to be better with the ball to play through that, but that will give us more space in behind. 

“St. Louis likes to add players versus drop deep. Charlotte dropped deep and sat narrow. St. Louis will defend forwards and try to put pressure on us so they can win the ball and get an offensive transition and a counterattack opportunity.

“I think both teams will be direct. Charlotte were direct from their backline, the ball was in the air a lot, and I think it will be no different in the St. Louis game. 

"We will have to adapt in the offensive moments and we'll have to be good on first and second balls. I thought we were good at that during the Charlotte game. 

“The notable difference will be the intensity of the press from St. Louis' front players.”

Cushing also stressed the need for his side to dominate in defensive and offensive duels against St. Louis - stating clearly that they must be up for the fight on Saturday.

“I think the nature of our league is you have to be good in the duels,” he said. “Whether it's aerial duels, whether it’s tackles, our league is very physical. 

“It’s part of why there are so many different styles in this league. I don't think that's any different, whether you are perceived as a possession team, a team that plays in transition, or a team that plays direct football. We have to be up for the fight.”

Elsewhere, Cushing discussed his tactical vision for new signing Hannes Wolf.

The Austrian youth international joined City from Borussia Mönchengladbach and has already shown an ability to play several different roles for NYCFC.  

“I think his position will be the same - inside the field attacking spaces - whether we play him off the right, off the left, or as a number ten,” Cushing said. 

“If you see the setup, it’s him and Santiago Rodríguez playing as number tens, which allows us to have one player come play with his feet and one get in behind. 

“I think there were many moments in the game [against Charlotte] where we had to find them better, but like I said, we’re only one game in. Hannes can play as a wide winger, but I don’t think he’s a dribbler, I think he’s a runner and a technical player. 

“I think playing him inside the right pocket or the left pocket and blending with Santi will give the team a real opportunity to play between the lines and also attack the space.” 

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