Nearly 14 months after joining the club, Frank Lampard finally has his first goal for New York City FC.
The 37-year-old opened the scoring in his side’s 2-0 win over Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, as the club moved into second in the Eastern Conference.
Lampard missed the first half of the MLS campaign after deciding to extend his controversial loan stint with Manchester City, delaying his arrival until mid-July. Nagging injuries have further limited Lampard’s impact, with the former Chelsea stalwart making just his fifth MLS appearance against Toronto.
But it took him only 20 minutes to find the net. Midfielder Andrea Pirlo – another marquee summer signing – played in right-back R.J. Allen, and his cut back found Lampard on the edge of the box. Although he didn’t make a clean contact with the ball, his bouncing shot still evaded the grasp of Toronto goalkeeper Chris Konopka.
“I didn’t catch it the best — it sort of just bobbled in the corner,” Lampard told reporters. “But it’s great to get off the mark. I had a tough start with injuries, but I’m getting fitter and hopefully more to come. It’s been frustrating for me. No one is more frustrated than the player himself. I want to give back. I want to show people what I can do. It’s a goal. I’ll get fitter and there will be more goals, I hope.”
And Lampard wasn’t the only big name to enjoy a productive night, as Pirlo notched a fine assist in the 77th minute, helping Patrick Mullins add some sheen to the scoreline. The Italy international’s performance should quieten his criticis for now, with Pirlo having seen New York lose in five of his first seven starts.
“You can’t not enjoy playing with a player of his quality,” Lampard said of the former Juventus playmaker. “He’s a master of the ball. He plays fantastic passes. You know when you move that he is going to find you.”
And coach Jason Kreis echoed Lampard’s sentiments, adding: “Andrea is a natural-born competitor who doesn’t take to losing well, and I think that he’s been in many situations like this before that require a massive effort. I think, really, in the last two games he’s really worked extremely hard and played quite well.”