Nick Cushing | "We're Prepared To Fight For The Win." 

Nick Cushing Piece

Nick Cushing has said his side are prepared to fight for a victory this weekend.

The Boys in Blue are locked in the middle of a tight and tense battle for the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Only four points separate Chicago Fire in 8th place and Charlotte FC in 13th, with the two remaining spots above the playoff line still firmly up for grabs. also expressed how proud he was of the group and their willingness to embrace the challenge during what has been a testing season for the group.

"I think one thing I've been really pleased and proud about is how this team has embraced the challenge," he said.

"Six games ago we were in a worse position than we are now and we gave ourselves a real chance by winning football games and by making sure that we pick up points.

"We want to turn the draws into wins, and we wanted to beat Minnesota United at home. We reflect consistently on all of these games and where we should have picked up more points - that is the job of myself and the staff.

"For me, I've been really proud of how the team have pulled together and embraced when we've had change and when we've tried to find the group of guys that can give us the performances to help us win.

"I've been really pleased with the likes of Andres Jasson and the way that he has contributed. I said previously, how Talles Magno and Santi Rodríguez have stepped up and Mounsef Bakrar continues to be that guy that puts himself in the position to score goals.

"The defensive record speaks for itself. I was looking before I think our form lately puts us up there with the best form in the league.

"That is a positive but we know we have a job on and we know that we have a job to do over the next two games. The one thing I can say is that this team is fully embracing the challenge and is prepared to go and fight for those two wins."

NYCFC will require wins against D.C. United and Chicago to give themselves the best chance of being part of the postseason, and Cushing confirmed the team is determined to try and secure all three points in the capital this weekend.

"We've looked at all the permutations of what we need - we need to win the game," he said.

"Of course, there are possibilities and eventualities either way for us. We just have to continue to try and prepare ourselves to win a football game and the next team is D.C. United.

"We're in the same situation as we were before in the sense that it's playoff football. If we win we're in and if we lose it's going to be really difficult.

"We've prepared the team ahead of D.C. and it has been a really good training week. The mood and the feel of the group has been excellent. The intensity of the training has been really good and we've prepared the team to win a football game."

The team is currently enjoying a six-game unbeaten run and only narrowly missed out on three points last time out against Inter Miami CF. An injury-time equalizer forced the two teams to share the points, and Cushing admits the team needs to work on closing out road games.

"We know that we've dropped points against Atlanta, Columbus, and now in this game [against Miami]," he said.

"I think for us in the short term it's about trying to find that quick fix. It's trying to make sure that we can manage the game better and try not to give away a set play in the last moments.

"If there's a good moment where we can keep the ball in their half and maybe not go to goal, those small fixes, will give us the best opportunity to win those moments.

"I think the reality is this team is going to learn from those moments and this team is going to improve from going through those situations as a young team.

"We can only learn and become a better team from experience if it's difficult in the short term, but with a young team, you have to go through those moments to improve and to learn from them."

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