NYCFC interim head coach Nick Cushing has revealed his side should receive a double fitness boost with the returns of Talles Magno and Tayvon Gray for their MLS Cup Playoffs clash with CF Montreal.

The reigning champions made a successful start to the defense of their title with a comfortable 3-0 win over Inter Miami in Round One.

However, Sunday’s clash away in Montreal will be a whole new test, facing a side that finished one place and 10 points ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings.

NYCFC had to battle past Miami without key forward Talles Magno – who scored seven goals in 34 appearances during the regular season – full-back Tayvon Gray, and midfielder Alfredo Morales.

While the latter is unlikely to feature in Montreal, Cushing has revealed the former two should be ready for this Eastern Conference Semi-Final match-up.

“Talles trained this morning, he trained yesterday and today. It’s really positive, two days of training. So he’s back in the squad,” he said. “Tayvon just had a fitness test this morning, we’re waiting on the update. He’ll probably have another run tomorrow and then he’ll be available for the game.”

Montreal easily dispatched Orlando City 2-0 in their Round One fixture. Cushing is aware of the challenge ahead and is hoping to use lessons learned against Miami to ensure they take another step closer to a second successive MLS Cup title.

“I just think they’re a really good team. I think you have to try and stop them from causing you problems in and around the box,” Cushing said of CFMTL, adding: “We’ve reviewed the Miami game. There were parts of the game, the start, that we felt we defended well but we were in positions and places that we don’t want to be in during the Montréal game.”

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