New York City FC will take the field at Gillette Stadium on Saturday for an important Eastern Conference showdown without Designated Player Frank Lampard.
Currently dealing with a calf injury, the English superstar has been ruled out for the second straight week after missing last weekend match vs. Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium. The midfielder trained with the club late in the week, but head coach Jason Kreis said Lampard simply isn't ready.
“He’s not healthy,” Kreis said after training Friday. “We really thought last week, based on the severity of the calf injury, that we’d have a player who would be available this weekend, but plans and reality sometimes don’t mesh. He’s still carrying the calf injury and we’re not going to take a risk with it.”
Kreis said the turf at Gillette Stadium did not play into the decision and that it’s too soon to say whether Lampard will be available for the home match against Orlando City SC next Sunday. The match could also be the first in an NYCFC uniform for Andrea Pirlo. The Italian legend is set to join the club early next week after a few weeks off.
“We’re in the exact same boat, but we’re a week past. I’d say the chances go up,” Kreis said of Lampard. “We’re really hopefully he’ll be available next week. We’re hopeful that at the beginning of next week he’ll start in full training and we’ll get him prepared for next Sunday. We’ll have an extra day as well.”
One player who will be making the trip up to Foxbourough is right back Andoni Iraola. After making his debut at home last Sunday, Iraola will play his first game away from home and first on turf in a long time.
“Obviously I’m not used to playing on turf, but I don’t think it’s a great concern,” Iraola said. “I used to play on turf when I was younger. I think the team needs wins so we must go there to play a good game, to be better than them and to win.”
Fresh off a wild 4-4 draw with Toronto, NYCFC have lost just once in seven MLS matches, while New England have lost five straight with one win in their last 12 matches.
The Revolution currently sit sixth in the Eastern Conference, three points in front of NYCFC. Kreis said it’s not too early to talk about playoff implications.
“I think this will be the first week I’ll talk about the table, talk about where the playoff line lies and what the next several games mean for us,” Kreis said. “In particular this very next one is a huge match for us.”