Nick Cushing | "We're Prepared For An Exciting Occasion." 

Nick Piece

Nick Cushing is prepared for an exciting occasion on Saturday when New York City FC kick off their 2024 MLS season.

The Boys in Blue travel to North Carolina this weekend as they prepare for their season opener against Dean Smith’s Charlotte FC.

The hosts are anticipating at least 60,000 fans in attendance, with Cushing ready for an exciting contest between the two sides. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30PM ET and can be seen on MLS Season Pass.

“It's going to be a really exciting occasion,” Cushing said.

“We know any home opener is going to be exciting. We know we’re prepared, the challenge of MLS is there, it’s going to be a difficult game, but every game is going to be difficult and we have to embrace that.

“They [the players] have a huge motivation to get results. They have a real strong togetherness that has been built by them and developed over the preseason.

“The ideas on how we want to be a better team have been applied really well. Their work ethic has been excellent and we are excited to start.

“It has been a really good preseason. I've been really proud of the stuff in preseason and really excited to see the team get going.

City spread their preseason schedule across Florida, California, and Texas, culminating with a match against Austin FC. Reflecting on preseason in greater detail, Cushing believes his side will enter the season fully ready and prepared for the road ahead.

“I think what you have to do is set your objectives for preseason,” Cushing said.

“We had real clear objectives for the first camp and then we had different objectives based on what we'd achieved in Tampa going into Coachella and then moving on to Austin.

“I think it's a hot debate; should you go and win every game or should you make sure that you progress every player.

“I think we're in a place where we feel every player is prepared to either play 90 minutes, come off the bench, or not even be selected but still be able to play that part for the group.”

The team has made a number of new additions to the roster heading into the new campaign, and although on field success the primary goal, Cushing is also keen to see his side channel some of the qualities associated with New York.

“I hope we're exciting team to watch,” he stated.

“I hope we are a team that embody all of the values that we have in our city here, which is the hard work and togetherness and the real excitement that New York City brings.

“I think we've had real in depth conversation around who we want to be without the ball and who we want to be with the ball.

“That's a team that attacks games. Maybe didn't attack games enough last year - for many reasons.

“I think we want to be a team that's on the front foot, a team that's attacking the opposition in every moment, and a team that wants to go and win football games.”

He later added: “I think my message to the team all the way through preseason was that if the start of last season showed us anything it is that the depth and balance of a roster is really important.

“We feel we've built a roster this year that has depth and a has real balance and blend of players that we want so we are able to play the style that we feel is going to win football games.

“So the message for all of the players is that you have to be at the top of your game every day.

“You have to train with incredible work ethic and you have to make sure that you continue to perform and show a real willingness and a want to perform for the team.”

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