PURCHASE, N.Y. – The playoff dream is over, but that doesn’t mean the final two games of the regular season for New York City FC are meaningless.
That’s especially true for Frank Lampard, one of NYCFC’s signature signings who has finally started to hit a stride in the season’s final stretch. Lampard believes a strong finish to NYCFC’s inaugural season can be the basis to an important second season.
“The important thing is to be professional to each other, individually to do the right thing for the last few games and for the fans and people who have supported us the full season,” Lampard said. “We have to try and put in two good performances, two wins and finish on a high.”
NYCFC head into their penultimate regular season game, Friday against an Orlando City SC team that will be playing to keep their thin playoff chances alive (7 pm ET; UniMás), having won three of their last four games, and a healthy Lampard is a big part reason for the turnaround. But that it came at the end of the season if a source of frustration for the former English international.
“I wish I could have not had the injuries, but every player has to accept that injuries come along sometimes,” Lampard said. “My aim now is to manage myself well for next season, to finish this season on a high, have some breaks at times, but keep ticking over, have a really good preseason and throw everything into next year.”
As such, Lampard said there are no plans for him to be loaned out to another team during the winter.
“I need the rest to be fully fit next year for the club,” he said.
Following Friday’s match, NYCFC will finish out their first season at home Oct. 25 against the New England Revolution. The expansion team currently sits in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 37 points from 32 games.
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“I’ve been at some of the best teams in world football at times, and not every season is successful. It comes with the territory,” Lampard said. “The important thing is that when you have a season that falls below your standards, whether you’re not making playoffs, not winning the league, you have to come back mentally stronger and better.”
Although he only arrived in July, Lampard said his time playing in Major League Soccer has been an “absolute pleasure.”
“For me, personally, I can’t talk highly enough about playing over here,” Lampard said. “I look forward to having a full year, cracking in next year and hopefully starting the season well, getting into the playoffs, which I think we should be as a club, and having a real crack at it.”