NEW YORK — If New York City FC is to win its home opener and improve to 2-0 this weekend, the club may very well have to do so without Frank Lampard.
Lampard is still recovering from the calf strain that forced him to miss Week 1’s road victory over the Chicago Fire, and is in a race against time to get fit for Sunday’s game against Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium. The 37-year-old midfielder has been dealing with the knock since preseason.
“He’s getting better, but we have to look how he responds day after day, see how he’s going to respond with the work he’s doing inside in the gym,” said NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira at the club’s media day. “We’ll make a decision at the last minute.”
Since joining NYCFC last summer, Lampard has missed his share of time due to injuries. The Designated Player had calf and quad problems during the 2015 season, and made 10 appearances for New York City FC.
Here are more news and notes from NYCFC’s 2016 Media Day:
VIEIRA NOT WORRIED ABOUT PIRLO’S DEFENSIVE CONTRIBUTIONS
A major talking point towards the end of NYCFC’s disappointing inaugural season in 2015 was the defensive play of Andrea Pirlo, who looked disinterested and disastrous on that side of the ball more often than not.
Some fans and pundits have entered the new year still holding concerns over where exactly Pirlo fits in the club’s plans given his defensive shortcomings, but Vieira does not share those worries. That is not only because Vieira thinks that the 36-year-old Italian midfielder possesses the soccer IQ to resolve some of the issues, but also because the coach believes he has a tactical remedy for problem.
“I’m not worried at all because his brain helps him to anticipate the next pass, the next move,” said Vieira. “The way we’re going to play – controlling the game – we’ll have the possession of the ball. We will have the ball more often and the quality of Andrea, it will make a difference.
“I’m not worried at all about it because our organization, the distance between the lines, will help him, will help all the players to run less. I think it’s all about organization, the shape that they’re going to give the team, I think that’s more important than anything else, so I don’t have any worry about that.”
Pirlo was deployed centrally in NYCFC’s three-man midfield in the season opener, and helped the club pick up a victory despite it conceding three goals to the Fire. Pirlo started and went the distance in the match.
NYCFC WORKING TO FINALIZE MENDOZA LOAN
The season may have already begun, but another attacking reinforcement seems to be on the way to the Big Apple.
NYCFC was linked earlier this week with a loan move for Colombian striker Stiven Mendoza, and the club is admittedly working to finalize a deal. Mendoza, 23, is currently on the books of Brazilian outfit Corinthians.
“Mendoza is a player that we quite like a lot,” said Vieira. “We’re still in discussions, but the deal is not done yet. Hopefully it will be done in the next few days.”