FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Revolution know they will have their hands full with New York City FC on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, MLS Live) and now those hands will be forced to make room for a legend.
Premier League icon Frank Lampard had his NYCFC debut delayed last week due to a calf strain, so now it will possibly be on the Revolution to try and ruin the former Chelsea stalwart’s inaugural appearance in MLS.
“I’m not too sure if he’s going to play or what the plan is,” said Revs defensive midfielder Andy Dorman, a fellow Brit. “As a player, he’s always been one of the players you’ve admired. [A] goal-scoring midfielder and he’s done it for some many years in England, for Chelsea, and for the national team. It’ll be good to play against him, but more importantly we’ve got a big game for ourselves.”
Added Sean Okoli, the Revs' resident Chelsea supporter: "I think everyone know how big of an impact Frank Lampard made at Chelsea. He’s a legend, so there’s a lot of respect. It’s going to be great to see him this weekend, but by all means it doesn’t change the Revs job in getting three points”
New England already faced off against NYCFC in the second week of the season, falling 2-0 as the Revolution stumbled to their second straight shutout loss to start the year.
This time around, they enter the match in the midst of a five-game losing streak and know that, regardless of who lines up against them on the other side, picking up three points is almost a must at this stage in the season.
“They’re a great team,” said Andrew Farrell. “They got the best of us in the second game of the season. They got a lot of talent and obviously you have Frank Lampard being on this team. This is a very crucial point in our season. Three points will go a long, long way.”
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While the Revolution are only looking at what is currently in front of them, head coach Jay Heaps couldn’t help but take a look back at where the league has gone over the past two decade. The addition of Lampard, among other top international talents, is a reminder for Heaps that MLS has certainly come a long, long way.
“It’s a lot of growth in a lot of areas,” said Heaps, who played for over a decade in MLS before become the Revolution’s head coach in 2011. “When you look at signings like that, that are pretty amazing to our group, in terms of the whole league. But, also they’re playing at Yankee Stadium and then you’ve got places like Kansas City. ... When I played, we played at Arrowhead Stadium and there was maybe, if you said 1,400 people, they were probably adding an extra thousand to the total of the people there. It was that dismal.
"But now you look at Kansas City and it’s the hotbed of soccer. So, I think that says a lot about our league and a lot about our owners. Collectively, they’re strong and they have a great vision of where this is going.”