Has there been anyone hotter in the goalscoring column of late than New York City FC's Frank Lampard?
Even Lampard's staunchest critics -- and be honest, you probably joined in at some point -- can't deny the numbers. At 38, Lampard is tearing it up. He has eight goals since June 18, the most of any player in MLS.
This month has seen Lampard find the net six times, including recording his club's first hat trick, to help keep the Bronx side atop the Eastern Conference standings. That kind of production is what makes Lampard one of five nominees for Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month.
The MLSsoccer.com editorial staff selects the five final nominees at the end of each month. The winner is then determined by your vote - voting ends at 2:59 am ET on Aug. 4.
Here are the nominees:
Frank Lampard, New York City FC: Recorded six goals and one assist as NYCFC went 4-2-0 on the month, which was highlighted by Lampard's historic hat trick in Saturday's 5-1 pasting of the Colorado Rapids. Lampard also found the net in three straight matches from July 6-17. The East leaders were 3-1 in matches where he scored, 1-1 when he didn't.
Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC: Guess who's back? The Atomic Ant had gone eight league matches without a goal when D.C. United came to town on July 23. Two gorgeous free kicks and a close-range finish later, Giovinco had a hat trick in TFC's 3-1 victory. He followed that up last weekend with one goal and two of his three July assists in a 3-0 blanking of Columbus Crew SC, putting him in the thick of the Golden Boot race with 12 goals.
Jake Gleeson, Portland Timbers: The Timbers' big New Zealander had a rough month in goal as injuries ravaged Portland's backline -- but if not for Gleeson, things could have been even worse for the MLS Cup holders. He conceded just five goals in six starts as Portland went 1-2-3 on the month, capping July with a valiant five-save performance, several of them spectacular, to keep things close in Sunday's 1-0 away loss to Sporting Kansas City.
Kevin Molino, Orlando City SC: The Lions' Trinidadian midfielder was a bright spot in a month that saw Orlando City go 1-2-3, scoring three goals and recording three assists. He saved his best game for last in July, with a brace and an assist in Sunday's 3-1 victory over the New England Revolution.
Jelle Van Damme, Los Angeles Galaxy: A late call-in to the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game highlighted a solid month for the Galaxy's hard-nosed Belgian defender. Van Damme made four starts for the Galaxy in July, and they conceded just two goals and went 3-0-1 over that span, part of an unbeaten 4-0-1 record for the month.
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