Vieira cagey on veteran stars as Andrea Pirlo sits out NYCFC training again

PURCHASE, N.Y. – He might be the most interesting man in the world, and Andrea Pirlo was also the most missed player for New York City FC at the club’s first training session since Sunday's 2-0 loss to Toronto FC in the opening leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The Italian maestro missed the first leg at BMO Field with a calf injury suffered in the team’s final training session in Toronto.

“I had a conversation with him this morning,” NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira said after training Wednesday. “He’s doing some work inside and he should do some more work on the field tomorrow. Hopefully if we follow the program well, he should be training with the team before the end of the week.”

Vieira said Pirlo had scans taken, but wouldn’t disclose the severity of the injury. 

“There is something there, but we just have to keep working on him and see how he’s going to progress day after day,” Vieira said. 

Pirlo has started all 32 matches he’s played in this season and has been an influential presence in the center of midfield, accumulating a team-high 11 assists on the season. 

While Pirlo’s status is in question for the pivotal second leg, Frank Lampard fully participated in training Wednesday – though Vieira wouldn’t divulge whether the English legend would be in the starting lineup Sunday at Yankee Stadium (6:30 pm ET, FS1, FOX Deportes, FOXSportsGO, TSN4/5). 

“I don’t know,” Vieira said. “I don’t have my starting 11 in my head of yet.”

Lampard, who played 30 minutes off the substitutes bench Sunday, said in the visitor’s locker room after the match that he’s 100 percent recovered from a calf injury that forced him to miss almost the entire final month of the regular season. 

Lampard had 12 goals and three assists in 19 appearances in his first full season with NYCFC. 

“I feel really good. I’m fit,” Lampard said Wednesday. “I’ve been fit for a few weeks now and I’m raring to go.”

Both Designated Players will be critical for NYCFC, who need to win by at least three goals – and not concede an away goal – to advance to the Eastern Conference Championship. 

“Everybody is fit. Frank did the full session today,” Vieira said. “The only one that wasn’t here was Andrea. RJ [Allen] and [Ronald Matarrita] just took part in the first part of the training session, but what is really good is that everybody wants to play the game.”