Nick Cushing | "We Want To Attack The Game." 

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Nick Cushing is keen to see his side marry defensive strength with attacking intent this weekend.

Saturday's meeting at DRV PNK Stadium pits the team with the best attack across the last five MLS games against the team with the best defensive record across the last five games in NYCFC.

The Boys in Blue are currently on a five-game unbeaten run and while much of that success has been built on keeping clean sheets and defensive strength, Cushing is still eager to show attacking intent as they seek a third win in a row.

"We want to attack the game," Cushing said.

"We want to be the team that can create chances. I think you see across Miami's games that they score a lot of goals but they also allow a lot of chances, or they allow a lot of attacks.

"I watched the Houston game last night and you know there were many moments where Houston created goal chances, but we respect that Miami are incredibly dangerous with counterattacks, incredibly dangerous in offensive moments.

"We're going to have to be as good as we can be defensively. We've been good over the last few weeks so we'll have to retain that. If we don't score goals we won't win football games, and we need to win to continue to climb the table and solidify our position.

"There is a defensive element against this team because of the number of goals they've scored but we for sure want to put an offensive element into the game as well."

Cushing also took time out to discuss the growing influence of defender Birk Risa. 

The Norwegian defender joined NYCFC this summer from Molde FK and wasted no time in helping his team pick up points. Risa, a former youth international with Norway, has begun to form a formidable partnership with Thiago Martins which has helped the team on its recent run of form. 

Equally adept on the ball, Risa has become an important player, and Cushing confirmed the Club had been tracking the defender for some time. 

"I think we knew Birk's qualities before we brought him here," he said.

"He was on our radar for a fair amount of time. We wanted him earlier but we managed to get the deal done in the midseason transfer window. We knew the qualities that he had. He's really good with the ball. He has a really good passing range.

"He came from a team that played in a back five. The questions were around him playing in a back four and his defending capabilities in a league that's far more physical than where he came from.

"We know the work we had to do - myself and the coaches have worked hard with Birk - and his best attribute is that he wants to improve. He wants to be a really important player for NYCFC.

"We knew that we had to replace that left-footed central defender because it gives our team balance. The nature of our recruitment is that guys come in with huge potential - they're the guys we want - huge value in areas but potential to improve.

"I'm really enjoying working with Birk. We're really enjoying having him in the team and we just want to continue to push him to get his performances out and improve him as a football player." 

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