New York City FC's Jason Kreis again targets playoffs as glittering new arrivals bring "second season" feel

NEW YORK – Another week, another press conference, another international superstar on the books for New York City FC.

 A few weeks after the official introduction of English midfielder Frank Lampard to the team, the expansion club unveiled Andrea Pirlo at a Manhattan hotel Thursday afternoon. 

The Italian icon brings the count to five newcomers, including defenders Andoni Iraola, Angelino and Jefferson Mena, during the summer transfer window for NYCFC.

For NYCFC coach Jason Kreis, Sunday’s match against Orlando City SC at Yankee Stadium (2:30 pm ET; Fox Sports 1, TSN2 in Canada) signifies a new beginning in many ways.

“It feels like it’s a little bit of a second season for us,” Kreis said. “It’s very exciting and press conferences like this are all nice. But at the end of the day you want to be out on the training field and game field with these guys and putting it all together.”

Coincidentally, the club also played its first-ever match against Orlando City, a 1-1 draw back in March. Both expansion teams have had growing pains in their first season, but both also are in contention for a playoff spot as the calendar turns to August.

“Our objective is to make the playoffs this year. We have 14 games remaining, we’re three points out of a playoff spot right now,” Kreis said. “We’ve made five additions over the last several weeks, all guys who are starting-caliber players.

“We think this is a very exciting time for our club and we’re extremely happy Andrea is part of that. He will be leaned upon to help lift things up and give us a chance to make the playoffs.”

But will all five be featured against Orlando City? Kreis is certainly hopeful, but Pirlo, as of Thursday’s press conference, has only had two training sessions.

Lampard, who has missed the last two games with a calf injury, did individual work at training Thursday.

“We feel it’s headed in a very positive direction at the moment,” Kreis said.

Mina has also trained twice and Kreis has been pleased with what he’s seen thus far.

“He’s trained for two days and he’s done pretty well and he feels pretty good,” Kreis said. “I think his fitness level is quite high.”

Kreis is also optimistic about the progress Iraola and Angelino have made.

“Both are getting themselves into positions in the attacking end of the field we want them in,” Kreis said. “I think they’re both adapting to how exactly we want to defend. It’s a bit of a work in progress, but I feel good about it.”