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Trust the Process: Why Nick Cushing's job is safe

Just look at what he's doing with striker Gabriel Segal.

The head coach's expectations are high this year. | Photograph by Katie Cahalin,

When the news broke Monday that Toronto FC fired parted ways with head coach Bob Bradley, some wondered if New York City FC head coach Nick Cushing could be next. 

After all, Bradley’s underperforming Toronto sit in 14th place in the Eastern Conference, just behind NYCFC in 13th place. In fact, four out of the five teams at the bottom of the table mutually decided to end the contracts with canned their head coaches: NYCFC is the only one of the bunch to stick with their gaffer. That’s not likely to change any time this season. In what must come as a disappointment for the #CushingOut crowd, his job at New York City is safe.

To be clear, this assessment isn’t based on a leak or insider information. There’s no Deep Throat sending us screengrabs. The NYCFC front office runs a tight ship, and you stand a better chance of learning what Vladimir Putin and Aleksandr Lukashenko promised Yevgeny Prigozhin to get him to stop his march on Moscow than knowing what Brad Sims, David Lee, and Cushing discuss in the conference room on the 30th floor of NYCFC’s midtown headquarters. 

But the reasons for Bradley’s departure from Toronto yesterday – and Phil Neville’s departure from Inter Miami on June 1, and Ezra Hendrickson’s departure from the Chicago Fire on May 8, and Gerhard Struber’s departure from the New Jersey Red Bulls on May 8 – are crystal clear, to use a phrase Struber made famous in the Bronx

More to the point, Cushing’s circumstances at New York City are crystal-clearly different. While those four other head coaches were at the helm of ships that ran aground despite splashing out on big signings and filling holes in the lineup, Cushing is navigating the shallows with a squad that has been incomplete since last summer, when Taty Castellanos left for Girona FC, and that now features a rookie striker in Gabriel Segal who scored exactly zero goals in his professional career before suiting up for NYCFC this year. 

To put it more succinctly: Bradley, Hendrickson, Neville, and Struber were held accountable for projects that didn’t work, but Cushing is still piecing together a project that is incomplete. Fairly or not, you can view Toronto, Chicago, Miami, and New Jersey as products that failed. NYCFC is a process that is still underway. 

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