Frank Lampard finally opened his MLS account on Wednesday night as New York City FC beat Eastern Conference rivals Toronto FC 2-0 at Yankee Stadium.
The former Chelsea and England midfielder, who was captaining the hosts in the absence of usual skipper David Villa, scuffed home a shot from the edge of the box following a terrific ball from Andrea Pirlo to give his side a 20th-minute lead.
Fellow Designated Player Pirlo later helped assure Manchester City’s sister club of the win when striker Patrick Mullins, who was starting in place of the injured Villa, headed in his Italian teammate's corner 13 minutes from the end to seal a crucial result.
The victory ended NYCFC’s three-game losing streak and kept their slim play-off hopes alive heading into their final five regular-season fixtures, having pulled within a point of the sixth-placed Montreal Impact, who have three games in hand over Jason Kreis’ men.
With Orlando City SC and the Philadelphia Union also in the conversation, they will be hoping that a fit-again Lampard can build on his first MLS goal to provide them with a much-needed attacking spark over the coming weeks.
The veteran midfielder has managed just five appearances for the expansion club after suffering a series of injury setbacks since arriving in July from Manchester City but he is now eager to kick on after breaking his scoring duck.
“It’s been frustrating for me. No one is more frustrated when you’re not playing than the player himself,” the 37-year-old told MLSSoccer.com after the match. “I want to give back, show the people what I can do. It’s a goal. I’ll get fitter, I’ll get better and there will be more goals I hope. I’m confident of that. Personally for me it was nice.”
After the City loan fiasco delayed his NYCFC debut by 373 days, he certainly owes the fanbase a few stellar performances but helping the team make the post-season in their inaugural campaign would go some lengths towards making amends.