Why Frank Lampard is Still Valuable to MLS and NYCFC

Lampard proves he still has the quality and character to star in MLS, scoring for and contributing to Premier League Champions Manchester City
by Nick Chavez   |   Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Blue City – column on New York City FC (NYCFC) & the NYC area soccer scene.

Singing and chanting his name prior to his being subbed in for Alexksandar Kolarov in the 78th minute, the travelling Chelsea fans must've never imagined that their beloved hero, now wearing the colors of Manchester City while on loan from New York City FC, would later enter the match and spoil their party only 7 minutes later.

NYCFC's Frank Lampard scored in dramatic fashion on Sunday for Manchester City, leveling the score in the 84th minute against the club for which he scored 211 goals in 648 appearances, and won the UEFA Champion's League, 3 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, and 2 League Cups.

Chelsea's all-time leading scorer made a somewhat acrobatic shot in the box from a James Milner cross, reaching to volley it past Courtois, making a very difficult strike look manageable. 

Lampard was visibly conflicted emotionally following his goal against the club of his heart, and didn't celebrate scoring it out of respect for Chelsea fans. Following the final whistle, he went over to the travelling Chelsea supporters to applaud them and say “goodbye”, and was demonstratively moved by their continued support, even after robbing them of two points.

In the post-match interview, Lampard seemed almost apologetic and distraught about scoring on Chelsea, saying he was at a "loss for words" and felt "stuck in the middle" emotionally, being that he scored on his beloved former club while on his current loan assignment with Manchester City.

The considerable emotional conflict he experienced following his dramatic equalizer versus his former club seems to reveal a lot about Frank Lampard's character and passion for his teams.

Considering NYCFC Head Coach Jason Kreis's insistence on signing players that demonstrate proven character and a dedication to their profession, Lampard's rescue goal for his new team and his strong emotions following it seem to confirm that he is a consummate professional, but also feels a strong sense of duty and emotional attachment to his teams and its fans.

As such, NYCFC fans should expect to see Lampard give his very best for New York City's new MLS expansion club that he will be returning to for training in January of 2015. And even at 36 years old, it appears that Lampard still has a lot to offer.

Not only did Lampard, who is arguably Chelsea's best ever player, score a very difficult goal, under a lot of pressure, and with significant emotional conflict, but he did it while City were a man down against the current English Premier League leaders, who are one of the favorites to be crowned champions by season's end.

And it shouldn't go unnoticed that "The Engineer", former Real Madrid manager and current Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, has trusted this MLS-contracted midfielder to contribute against such a powerful opponent while being a man down and facing defeat at home, with very little time left, in a game that had real title implications against a direct rival for their crown.

These are facts that fly in the face of some of the critics of Lampard’s signing with New York City FC, who contend that Lampard is past his best, and therefore, won't contribute much as a player for NYCFC.

"When I spoke with Lampard, it was not to make him a favorite to stay at Manchester City, it was because I was absolutely sure he will be a very useful player for our team," City manager Manuel Pellegrini commented.

"It was very important for him to continue working every day and playing in our team but also it was very important for our team to have a player with the experience and quality of Frank Lampard."

If a player is good enough for Manuel Pellegrini, can contribute to the reigning Premier League Champions Manchester City, and to score the game-tying goal against the EPL's league leader's Chelsea, is he not good enough to be a high-performing star in Major League Soccer?

If observable evidence is anything to go by, the former Chelsea and England captain, who also represented his country in this year's World Cup in June, is looking more and more like a very shrewd signing for Kreis's New York City FC side whose debut is rapidly approaching. 

Nick CHAVEZ

Nationality:
USA
College:
SCSU
Club Domestic:
NYCFC
Club Foreign:
Real Madrid CF
This is the longest-running column focused on the only team representing the 5 Boroughs in world football: New York City FC. Long may its supporters continue to make history.
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