To say NYCFC have been falling apart would be an understatement.

At the time of Ronny Deila’s departure to Standard Liege in mid-June, the defending MLS Cup champions were top of the Eastern Conference with 26 points from 13 games, looking certain to battle with the likes of LAFC and the Philadelphia Union for the Supporters’ Shield.

Three months and 16 games later, the Pigeons are only 19 points better off and their current run of six defeats, one win, and one draw from their last eight matches is particularly worrying. NYCFC have slipped down to fourth in the East and are in danger of throwing away a home tie in the Playoffs – a cause that has not been helped by the mid-season departure of Taty Castellanos.

Up next is a home tie against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday evening. Though the Orange and Blue have 10 of their last 14 games, they’ve only lost once during that time and are battling for a Playoff spot of their own.

It’s going to take something special from NYCFC to break their own cycle and take maximum points from a team that has become notoriously hard to beat this season.

“They are really hungry and really driven and almost a little bit angry with our results, with the goals we have given away and with the chances that we have missed,” interim head coach Nick Cushing said at a pre-match press conference.

“There is a real drive there from me personally and from the group. I looked into every one of their eyes yesterday and we spoke honestly as a group and I’m more than confident that moving forward, we have what it takes to get back to our fans’ expectations and our own expectations. We share the same desire, we share the same frustration, we just want the game to [start] now.”

This is the second time these two sides have met this season after sharing an entertaining 4-4 draw at TQL Stadium in June.

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