It’s been a good summer for New York City FC, and a better one for Frank Lampard.
A legend at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea in the Premier League, his transition to Major League Soccer has been anything but smooth. While NYCFC’s signing of Lampard was heavily promoted and led fans to expect to see their new star at the beginning of the 2015 Major League Soccer season, the opposite happened.
Lampard finished the 2014-15 Premier League season with Manchester City, NYC’s parent club, and then injuries kept him off the MLS pitch most of last season and earlier this season. When returning in the spring, he was met with boos from the New York faithful at Yankee Stadium.
But things have changed dramatically.
Lampard is healthy and has become a major part of New York City’s offense. With eight goals on the season as of July 31, six of the them coming in July, Lamps is proving that New York’s patience and its desire to have him on the team is paying off.
Through 23 games, NYC held first place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points. And teaming with fellow European veterans David Villa and Andrea Pirlo along with Tommy McNamara and Jack Harrison is proving to be a quintet that many MLS defenses will worry over facing. Just ask Colorado Rapids, who prior to conceding five goals to NYC on July 30, had allowed only 14 goals through its first 20 matches.
But Lampard’s tenure with New York City again proves that patience with players is a good thing. The decision within the City ranks to loan him to Manchester City after a major promotional blitz in New York was a bad move. This was compounded by the injuries that would keep Lampard off the pitch and lead to frustration among the supporters.
But the Chelsea legend has found his footing on the Yankee Stadium pitch and across Major League Soccer. He will continue to play a major role for the Citizens in their final 11 games as they make a playoff push and possibly have the fans start to dream of something bigger.
Greg Sleter is the editor/publisher of SleterFC.com.