The Ageless Wonder Frank Lampard
At the age of 38, you would have been forgiven for thinking that a professional soccer player would be in the twilight of their career and merely counting down the days until their retirement. This is certainly not the case for Frank Lampard who remains at the peak of his powers, with the New York City midfielder playing an integral role for Patrick Vieira’s team who have put themselves in a wonderful position to qualify for the Major League Soccer Play-Offs. It has been a remarkable turnaround for a player who was booed by his own fans after arriving in America following a loan spell at Manchester City in the English Premier League, with the Yankee Stadium now blessed by a player who has made a career from scoring goals. An injury kept Lampard on the sidelines during the opening weeks of the season, but he has certainly made up for lost time, with his hat-trick against Colorado – New York City’s first in MLS history – proving to be the turning point. He is now valued as a vital member in a team which also includes Andrea Pirlo and David Villa, but although Betway do not believe that New York City are the favourites to win the 2017 MLS Cup, there is no question that Lampard could play a key role during the Play-Offs.
Being able to attract players of Lampard’s calibre to America is a sign of just how far Major League Soccer has come in recent years, with renowned names in the game proving that they are not here for the money or the lifestyle – they are here to play soccer and win. Lampard certainly epitomises this fact by the manner in which he has won fans over through the quality of performances on the pitch this season, with twelve goals in eighteen appearances representing a superb return for a midfielder. His goal-scoring feats should not come as a surprise to those who have followed his career, with Lampard holding the record as Chelsea’s all-time top scorer with 212 goals; he has made a living from arriving late into the penalty area to put the ball into the back of the net, with Lampard also dangerous from long distance, free-kicks and penalties. Reaching double figures in ten consecutive seasons at Chelsea in the English Premier League is testament to a player who was rightly heralded as one of the best midfielders in world soccer, with Major League Soccer and New York City the lucky benefactors of having a big game player who delivers on a consistent basis.
Frank Lampard has, throughout his career, proven that he produces big performances on the big occasions…
The news that Lampard may be willing to extend his contract is great news for Vieira and New York City, as although there has been no suggestion of interest from elsewhere, particularly the Chinese Super League which is filled with oil-rich clubs, keeping the 38-year-old at the Yankee Stadium is imperative to their progress as a recently-formed franchise who are looking to make their mark. Reaching the Play-Offs in their second season as a MLS club certainly represents progress for a team who ultimately struggled to find their feet last year under Jason Kreis, with odds now available on Betway’s website for those who want to back New York City to go all the way and win the MLS Cup. They made history through a convincing 4-1 victory against Chicago Fire which secured their passage from the Eastern Conference, with two goals from Villa and one each for Jefferson Mena and Steven Mendoza sealing three points for New York City.
Some would argue that keeping Villa and Pirlo fit is equally as important as having Frank Lampard on the pitch, but a calf injured picked up in the recent 2-2 draw with Dallas may rule the 38-year-old out of the remainder of the Regular Season. The midfielder will miss games against Houston Dynamo, DC United and Columbus Crew – three teams that New York City will feel they can put a win on the board against and become Eastern Conference champions, but fans can only hope that their star player makes a quick recovery in time for the franchise’s first ever Play-Off match.
Frank Lampard has, throughout his career, proven that he produces big performances on the big occasions, and if New York City are able to call upon his services during the Play-Offs, then they could have a real chance of challenging for the MLS Cup.