Nick Cushing | "We're Taking Each Game As It Comes." 


Nick Cushing will focus solely on the upcoming game as his team chase down a playoff spot. 

The Boys in Blue welcome Orlando City to the Five Boroughs on Wednesday night eager to take three points and close the gap on D.C. United in the final playoff spot.

A busy week for NYCFC will see them face the Lions on Wednesday before hosting Toronto FC at the weekend, and while both games could have a significant impact on the playoff race, Cushing is keen to focus solely on the upcoming game.

“I think every game is going to have a playoff feel to it for us and it should do because every point and every win is critical,” he said.

“Although the process will give us a solid base to work off, for sure we will be as practical as possible to make sure that we can win as many points and just take one game as it as it goes.

“That's all you can do in playoff football. And we're in a situation now where we're playing playoff football.”

The Head Coach also discussed the team’s tactical tweak against the Red Bulls on Saturday that saw them opt for a more direct approach in possession.

The Boys in Blue were still able to produce moments of controlled possession, as is their usual style, but sought to catch out Red Bulls by freeing Mounsef Bakrar in behind.

“I think ultimately we don't want to be a team that is predictable,” Cushing said.

“We want to play a possession-based style but you can see that sometimes the easiest route to goal is to give the ball to you number nine.

“The goal against Montreal is a really good example of that. We want to be a team that can attack from every situation in the game.

“We have a lot of players that want to play with the ball at their feet and they want to combine and that gave us a really good high possession style. That's meant that we've controlled opponents but Mounsef gives us that different dimension now.

“It's the same challenge, we have to find the balance in play and in making the right decisions in the right moments.

“I think there is an element of when you play against Red Bull with a high press style and in a highly charged, emotional, game that means you want to take a little bit of the risk out, but if we can get Mounsef in on goal we want to get him in from wherever we are [on the pitch]."

Cushing also provided an injury update on midfielder Keaton Parks after he was substituted during the first half of the Hudson River Derby.

Parks complained of ankle pain after landing awkwardly following a contested header, and following scans, his coach was able to provide some clarity on the situation.

“After the game [at the weekend] he used the facility within Yankee Stadium and the X-ray was clear,” Cushing said.

“He went for an MRI scan and it is not as bad as we thought but it's going to be an ongoing one. It's going to be a pain tolerance issue – it’s an ankle sprain. I think we were happy with the fact that it wasn't a high ankle sprain which means that this is probably the most aggressive form of ankle injury.

“It wasn't that, so it's going to be about pain tolerance and how quickly the medical guys can work within their department with Keaton. He was outside today and is in good spirits. He wasn't on the grass but he was outside with training shoes on just doing some small exercises to get him moving.”

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