Monday, May 27, 2024

Toronto v New York City FC: Progress does not happen without ‘taking punches’ – Cushing

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 May 2024

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Nick Cushing believes you have to “take the punches” in order to make progress as his New York City side prepare for a trip to Toronto FC in MLS on Saturday.

NYCFC were on a five-game unbeaten run in MLS, winning three matches in a row, before they lost 2-0 to the Colorado Rapids last weekend.

They currently sit seventh with 14 points, but things are tight in the Eastern Conference and another defeat could see NYCFC slip further down the table.

“When you win a three-game homestand, you feel like you’re on top of the world,” Cushing said.

“And then you lose one, and you feel like you fell off the edge of a cliff.

“This team is on a journey, and it’s making progress. I said three, four weeks ago that progress is disheartening, right?

“Progress is demotivating, progress is disappointing. You have to take the punches and go back and figure out how you continue to progress and improve a young team, a new team, to continue to win football games.”

Toronto are flying high in the East, sitting third with 19 points after putting together a three-match winning run, and are just five points behind leaders Inter Miami.

Federico Bernardeschi scored twice as they beat FC Dallas 3-1 last time out in MLS, leaving head coach John Herdman to sing the Italian’s praises.

“I really enjoy working with Fede; there are so many different layers to him,” Herdman said.

“I asked him to stay focused on his leadership. As I keep telling him, if you keep focusing on shaping your leadership, good things happen to good leadership, and the universe turns, and that’s what happened.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Toronto – Federico Bernardeschi

Bernardeschi (two goals, one assist) was involved in all three of Toronto’s goals against Dallas last Saturday, making him the first Reds player to record three goal contributions in a match since Jacob Shaffelburg in September 2021.

NYCFC – Mounsef Bakrar

NYCFC lead all MLS teams for touches in the opponent’s penalty area per match this year, averaging 30.2.

Among players, Bakrar is second in the league behind only Denis Bouanga (9.5), with 8.1 touches in the opponent’s box per 90 minutes this season (minimum 400 minutes played).

MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

NYCFC have won three straight meetings with Toronto, including a 2-1 home win on March 16. It is the first time either team have won three straight meetings in the history of the sides’ head-to-head series (26 matches in all competitions).

However, NYCFC have won just one of their 23 away matches in all competitions (nine draws, 13 losses), dating back to the start of last season, though that win came in Canada – a 1-0 victory at CF Montreal last July.

Meanwhile, Toronto have won four straight matches in all competitions after winning four of their previous 29 in all competitions dating back to May 2023. With a win on Saturday, Toronto can equal their points total from the entire 2023 season (22). However, Cushing’s visitors are likely to be competitive.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Toronto – 32%

Draw – 29.5%

NYCFC – 38.5%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

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