New York City FC interim head coach Nick Cushing says his side are “refreshed physically and mentally” heading into Saturday’s showdown with New England Revolution.
It has been a difficult period for City, who saw boss Ronny Deila depart for Standard Liege last month and have gone five without a win in all competitions.
But following a run of five matches in the space of two-and-a-half weeks, the Pigeons have enjoyed a rare week’s rest on the back of drawing 2-2 with Atlanta United last time out.
“It’s been the first opportunity to get a full week in,” Cushing said. “We don’t really get a full week because we have to give the players some time off.
“We gave them two days where they could recharge mentally as well as physically after three games with two days in between two of the games.
“We got the players back in on Wednesday and have had an opportunity to work out where we feel the team needs to improve or areas where we can take opportunities.”
The Revs have also had six days off following their 2-2 draw with FC Cincinnati, which extended their unbeaten run in MLS to 10 matches, albeit six of those ending in ties.
While New England may be one game short of equaling their club-record streak without defeat in the competition, midfielder Carles Gil wants to start turning ties into victories.
“I think we are in a good moment with 10 games without a loss,” he said. “Obviously we would have liked to have more wins than what we have. But we are in a good moment.
“And now we go to New York, one of the best teams in the league. It will be a really difficult game, but for sure we will have our chances to get the three points.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
New York City FC – Valentin Castellanos
Having finished as the top scorer in MLS last season, Castellanos is clearly hungry to repeat the feat. He has 10 goals already in 2022, placing him joint-top of the scoring charts. The 23-year-old has scored each of City’s past three goals, suggesting an over-reliance on their prolific striker, and he will be looking to extend his scoring streak this weekend.
New England Revolution – Henry Kessler
The Revs have only failed to score in one of their past 13 league outings, and twice in the past 18, so finding the net is clearly not a major issue for Bruce Arena’s side. At the back, however, they have conceded 28 goals in 18 games and have just three clean sheets, so the return of center-back Kessler has come at a good time.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– New York City eliminated Supporters’ Shield winners New England in last season’s playoffs, winning a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in the Conference Semi-final. NYCFC have won only one of their last five regular-season meetings with the Revs (D1 L3), though the lone win did come at home last August.
– City are winless in four straight games following a 2-2 draw with Atlanta last week (D3 L1). NYCFC have conceded in all four matches after going a club-record six straight games without allowing a goal.
– New England’s unbeaten run extended to 10 games following their 2-2 draw with Cincinnati (W4 D6). The Revs can equal the longest single-season unbeaten run in club history, having previously gone 11 straight without defeat in 2019 and 2005.
– Castellanos scored both of New York City’s goals in their 2-2 draw with Atlanta. Castellanos has scored 17 goals at Yankee Stadium since the start of last season, three more than any other player in any venue in that time.
– The Revolution led twice in their 2-2 draw with Cincinnati, conceding the second equalizer in the 73rd minute. New England have dropped an MLS-high nine points on goals scored in the 70th minute or later this season.