NEW YORK — Despite the absences of their leading scorer and manager, New York City FC still managed to put a halt to the Colorado Rapids’ 15-match unbeaten streak on Saturday thanks to the heroics of Frank Lampard.
A hat-trick from the English star was paired with goals from Tony Taylor and Steven Mendoza, as NYCFC shut out the visitors, 5-1, at Yankee Stadium to go five points clear the top of the Eastern Conference. The win comes just six days after NYCFC’s 4-1 thrashing at the hands of the New York Red Bulls, while the loss is the Rapids first since April 9 at Real Salt Lake.
With David Villa — MLS’ leading scorer — and manager Patrick Vieira both serving suspensions, NYCFC found inspiration elsewhere as Lampard broke through for the home side in the 28th minute. After Diego Martinez received a ball near the left edge of the box, his cross was re-directed by Tommy McNamara before Lampard tapped the ball into the net.
Moments after Lampard’s tally, the game was halted due to a weather delay. Roughly 35 minutes passed before action was resumed from the 28:30 mark.
Not long after the return, things turned further south for the Rapids as Micheal Azira was sent off in the 37th minute after picking up his second yellow card of the match. NYCFC quickly took advantage of the numbers game as Taylor doubled the home side’s lead in the 42nd minute with his second goal of the season.
Mendoza added NYCFC’s third in the 75th minute, while Lampard’s second came in the 81st minute. Lampard capped his hat-trick — the first in NYCFC history — with a penalty two minutes later, sealing the rout.
It was the eighth goal of the season for the English star, all of which came after June 18, pushing him ahead of the Columbus Crew’s Ola Kamara and the Philadelphia Union’s Roland Alberg for most in Major League Soccer during that stretch.
Newly acquired defender Maxime Chanot made his debut for NYCFC, subbing on for Jefferson Mena at the half. However, in stoppage time, Shkelzen Gashi scored a consolation free kick to prevent Chant from enjoying a debut shutout
Following the win, NYCFC turns the team’s focus towards next Friday’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes, while the Rapids look to begin a new win streak against the Vancouver Whitecaps one day later.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Frank Lampard provided a trio of goals, leading NYCFC on a day that saw him serve as captain in the absence of David Villa.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Just moments before a rain delay halted play, Frank Lampard fired from close range to give NYCFC the lead, but it was Tony Taylor’s finish that served as a bit of a backbreaker for the Rapids. Down a man and two goals, the Western Conference powerhouse never recovered.
MATCH TO FORGET
Michael Azira has been a vital part of the Rapids surge, but the midfielder’s second yellow card doomed his side on the day.
Tied for 10th in goals scored and leading in goals per 90 minutes with 1.05 per 90. Guess maybe he isn’t such a bad signing after all. Oh yeah and his team is in first place. Now if they can just get someone to knock Red Bulls out of the playoffs, NYCFC might make something of themselves.