First official MLS Viewing Party in London a major success for growing UK support base

The first official MLS Viewing Party in the UK took place on Saturday evening as fans flocked to The Pilgrim Pub in Kennington, London to watch New York City FC take on New York Red Bulls in the first NY Derby of the 2017 regular season.

The landmark event was a roaring success, with special guest Frank Lampard on hand to ensure all those in attendance were left to enjoy an unforgettable evening.

RELATED: Meet the fans who packed the New York Derby watch party in London

There were around 150 fans at Saturday’s Viewing Party, with the majority of supporters in attendance there to cheer Lampard’s former club, New York City FC on as they sealed a first ever win at Red Bull Arena with an impressive 2-0 win.

Although Frank Lampard was the centre of attention for most of the evening, former referees Howard Webb and Peter Walton also arrived to enjoy the evening surrounded by excited supporters.

Webb has recently taken up a position as MLS Manager of VAR operations, and will be spearheading the introduction of the new technology into Major League Soccer, starting with a test run in the 2017 MLS All-Star game on August 2. While Walton is in his fifth year as General Manager of the Professional Referees Association in North America.

The match was shown live on Sky Sports 5, with reporter Gary Cotterill on hand with a Sky camera crew to cover the event, with live shots from inside the pub broadcast live on air during Saturday’s game.

It was brilliant to see so many UK fans enjoying a live game under the same roof and was testament to the impressive and ever-growing development of Major League Soccer here in Great Britain and beyond.

MLSGB would like to thank Major League Soccer and Macesport for organising Saturday’s event and can’t wait to see all of our fellow MLS fans at another UK Viewing Party in the future.

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Join us for Heineken Rivalry Week’s MLS London Viewing Party – Featuring special guest Frank Lampard!

We’re excited to announce that Major League Soccer is hosting an official MLS Heineken Rivalry Week viewing party in London, featuring special guest Frank Lampard!

Join us and a host of MLS fans on June 24 to watch the New York Red Bulls take on New York City FC live on Sky Sports from 18:30pm.

To attend this special event, fans must RSVP using the link to the form at the bottom of this page.

MLS Heineken Rivalry Week London Viewing Party

Saturday, June 24

NY Red Bulls vs. NYCFC

5:00PM – 9:00PM

The Pilgrim, Kennington

247 Kennington Lane.

London, UK

The first 50 fans through the door will receive an official MLS product, while Heineken will be offering discounted beer and prizes throughout the evening.

Former New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard will be in attendance for a special Meet & Greet with fans and will no doubt be hoping to see NYCFC prevail in the second Hudson River Derby of the 2017 season.

To sign up for free admission, hit the link below and RSVP. We look forward to seeing you there!


MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs Toronto FC

Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs (Eastern Conference Semifinal – Second Leg) – New York City FC vs. Toronto FC

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Sunday, November 6 – 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT) 

Match Odds: NYCFC 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – Toronto 21/10

Match Preview

New York City FC welcome Toronto FC to Yankee Stadium on Sunday in the second leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal with a place in the Eastern final up for grabs.

There is a huge amount of work for Patrick Vieira’s side to do if they are to progress here. They suffered a sucker-punch in the first leg, conceding twice in the last six minutes to lose the game 2-0.

New York City FC fans will be behind their team from the off, they will be expecting their star-players to step up and be counted for.

One thing NYCFC have in their favour is their home form. They have been scoring freely at Yankee Stadium, eight in their last two, and they’re unbeaten in eight, winning seven.

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As previously mentioned, Toronto FC have their two-goal advantage, which they wouldn’t have thought of having heading into the last ten minutes in the first leg last weekend.

Greg Vanney will be expecting his side to put on a professional display and not present NYCFC with easy chances.

While Toronto don’t want to be sitting back and playing a defensive game, they can expect NYCFC to come at them. They will get chances on the counter and with their strike-force it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them score.

If Toronto can keep things tight in the first half New York City will become even more desperate and mistakes will inevitably come, they have to be patient and make sure they get the job done.

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Team News

New York City FC to remain without both Connor Brandt and Shannon Gomez.

Toronto FC have a full fit squad ahead of the second leg.

Key Points

NYCFC’s last five: W/W/L/W/L

Toronto FC’s last five: L/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: New York City FC have scored at least two goals in nine of their last ten home games. They will need to repeat that feat without conceding to take the tie to extra time at the very least.

Key Player: Frank Lampard – Many will suggest the spotlight is on his teammate David Villa to perform, but Lampard has always been the man for the big occasion throughout his career, scoring vital goals. He will be a huge concern for Toronto who, like Lampard’s opponents throughout the last two decades, will struggle to pick him up when he is in the right place at the right time.

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Score Prediction

New York City FC 2-1 Toronto FC – Heartbreak for NYCFC who will fall at this stage. Whatever the outcome they have had a superb season and are making progress. Everything is in Toronto’s favour and they should surely be able to get the job finished off here.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. FC Dallas

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Saturday, September 17 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST) 

Match Odds: NYCFC 5/6 – Draw 5/2 – Dallas 3/1

Match Preview

It’s a huge clash at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings this weekend as New York City FC welcome FC Dallas to Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening.

New York City FC are sitting 3rd in the Eastern Conference, two points off top spot and five points behind in the race for the Supporters’ Shield.

Patrick Vieira’s side have been in excellent form at home, winning their last five. But, as the case with so many clubs in MLS, their away form is letting them down.

NYCFC come into this one having lost 3-1 away against New England. They need to bounce back here but face a very strong Dallas side.

David Villa, MLS: NYCFC vs. LA Galaxy

FC Dallas are top of the Western Conference and lead the way for the Supporters’ Shield. The result of this tie could have a huge impact on their chances of winning the silverware.

The away side won the US Open Cup in midweek, a huge boost which will give them the confidence to push on and finish the regular season in style.

Despite winning the cup, Dallas come into this one with off the back off a mixed bag of results in their last five regular season games. They lost to Colorado last weekend, so it is essential they do everything to avoid back-to-back defeats here.

Oscar Pareja needs to get his side in a focused but in relaxed frame of mind for their remaining five games, they have some tricky outings ahead and are relying on other results going their way to avoid being caught by Colorado.

Dallas beat NYCFC in their inaugural season in the only meeting between the sides. This is their first visit to Yankee Stadium and they know their facing a New York side who are capable of beating anyone on their own patch.

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Team News

New York City FC are in good shape heading into this tie. They are expecting to be without two as Connor Brandt and Shannon Gomez are both out through injury.

Zach Loyd remains the only injury concern for FC Dallas.

Key Points

New York City FC’s last five: D/W/L/W/L

FC Dallas’ last five: D/L/W/W/L

Key Stat: New York City have won their last five home MLS matches, scoring 14 goals along the way.

Key Player: Frank Lampard – The midfield goal-machine has been in incredible form of late, he has netted 12 goals in 17 appearance this season and has played a huge role in how NYCFC’s regular season has progressed.

Frank Lampard, MLS: New York City FC vs. Colorado Rapids

Score Prediction

New York City 2-1 FC Dallas – New York City FC to continue their home run and put more pressure on a Dallas side who will be desperate to avoid defeat. Dallas know their chances of winning the Supporters’ Shield could be in a ‘make or break’ couple of weeks here as they prepare for two consecutive away games.

Blues legend tips Conte for Chelsea success after advise from MLS teammate

Chelsea‘s all-time leading goalscorer Frank Lampard has tipped his former side for success under Antonio Conte after speaking with teammate Andrea Pirlo.

Lampard, who is enjoying a strong Major League Soccer regular season with New York City FC, told BBC Radio 5 Live last week he was impressed with Conte’s Italy in Euro 2016: “Seeing him at the Euros I loved his passion, I loved how he was on the touchline, how he had his team together with a real fighting spirit.”

The 38-year-old midfield goal machine thinks Conte’s passion is only going to help Chelsea’s quest to reach the top once again: “That will all help Chelsea and I look forward to that. The players will need to buy into that and respect that, then you’ll see an improvement from last year.”

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Lampard spoke with Pirlo, his fellow New York City midfield teammate, about Conte. Pirlo played under the Italian manager at Juventus and Lampard revealed he has nothing but good things to say about Chelsea’s new man: “I spoke to Pirlo about Conte and he had nothing but great things to say. He works the lads very hard in training with his fitness work and with organisation on the pitch.”

Chelsea get their new campaign and era underway on Monday evening against West Ham United and Lampard hopes for the West London club to go on and win the Premier League this season: “Being at Chelsea for such a long time, I have an allegiance, so I would obviously like Chelsea to win the league and I think they’ll be back challenging.”

Will Conte take Chelsea back to the top? Can Chelsea win the Premier League this season?

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC 

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, July 24 – 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)

Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 7/10 – Draw 3/1  – New York City FC 7/2

Match Preview

It’s the Hudson River Derby this Sunday as New York Red Bulls host rivals New York City FC at Red Bull Arena in a huge Eastern Conference battle between two fierce rivals.

New York Red Bulls welcome City for the first time this season, with the previous two meetings both coming at Yankee Stadium. The sides are tied with a win a piece so far this term. The latest meeting ended with a 2-0 loss for the Red Bulls in a result not many would have predicted after they thrashed City 7-0 back in April.

That 2-0 defeat a month ago was also the first time NYCFC managed to overcome their local enemies so this clash couldn’t be more finely poised.

Jesse Marsch’s side come into this one struggling for form, with just one win in their last six outings. The Red Bulls are sitting third on 28 points, trailing NYCFC, who lead the Eastern Conference, by five points going into the weekend.

It is away form that is troubling New York Red Bulls as they have been on a solid run at home. They’ve won six of their last seven ties and kept a clean sheet in their last six at Red Bull Arena.

New York City FC vs New York Red Bulls

New York City FC come into this one with the bragging rights over their rivals, as previously mentioned and sitting topof the East will only boost morale. But there is plenty of work to do to if they are to take all three points here.

Patrick Vieira will be pleased with how his side responded to their 3-1 away loss to SKC as they bounced straight back to winning ways with a 3-1 win over Montreal last time out.

NYCFC had the look of a side who believed they could overcome any opponent in that win last weekend, they were under pressure for large parts of the game but defended well and countered with great precision.

The New York City players will be hoping to further avenge the pain they put their fans through in that 7-0 loss at Yankee Stadium with a win in their rivals backyard this time around.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Team News

New York Red Bulls have just two injury concerns heading into the derby as Kemar Lawrence and Gideon Baah both remain out.

New York City have a bit of an injury crisis on their hands at the moment, as they could be without as many as six for this one. Connor Brandt, Steven Mendoza, Shannon Gomez, Ronald Matarrita and Khiry Shelton all look set to miss out, while Andoni Iraola has been training after suffering his ankle injury last weekend but remains a doubt.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five: D/L/D/W/D

New York City FC’s last five: W/W/W/L/W

Key Stat: Home form – New York Red Bulls have won six of their last seven home games in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The Red Bulls midfielder has a huge role for the derby. He will be tasked with keeping the inform NYCFC midfielders quiet. If he can stop the likes of Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo bossing the game his side have a great chance of winning this tie. Possibly an even more important task for the Red Bulls midfielder will be to keep service to the City stars to a minimum.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo Sacha Kljestan

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-2 New York City FC – This has the makings of a classic tie. Both sides are in form in one way or another. With Red Bulls looking solid at home and with City winning six of their last seven outings it’s difficult to see either side losing. RBNY know they have to win this tie to close the gap on their neighbours, while a draw for NYCFC will see them remain top of the East beyond this weekend. Score draw.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. New York City FC

Stadium: Stade Saputo – Sunday, July 17 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – NYCFC 12/5

Match Preview

Montreal Impact welcome the Eastern Conference leaders New York City FC to Stade Saputo on Sunday evening.

Montreal are fourth in the East. They trail NYCFC by six points ahead of this tie but they do have two games in hand on their opponents.

Mauro Biello’s side come into this one off the back of their 1-1 draw with Portland. They have become the draw specialists in recent weeks with eight of their last 11 games ending with a share of the points.

Impact are unbeaten in five but they have won just one of those ties. They have scored at least twice in 13 of their last 15 at home but have also conceded at last two in five of those last six games. If that is anything to go by we could be in for a high-scoring match here.

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New York City’s four-game winning run came to an end last time out as they lost 3-1 to SKC. A disappointing result for Patrick Vieira’s side but they are still the team to be feared in the East.

NYCFC have plenty of players in top form ahead of this tie, they will be looking for their key players to perform and ensure they bounce back straight away from their defeat.

While New York City fans have every right to brag about being top of the East there is plenty of work to do to ensure they make the playoffs for the first time in their history.

The earlier meeting in the season between these two ended in a 1-1 draw, with Montreal stealing a share of the points in dramatic fashion late on in the tie. Vieira will have his players all too aware of the threat Montreal pose and will not expect them to throw away three points if they get into a winning position again.

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Team News

Montreal could be without four players through injury as Andres Romero and Marco Donadel are expected to be out, while Didier Drogba and Laurent Ciman are both doubts.

New York City FC have just the two injury concerns as Connor Brandt and Steven Mendoza are out.

Key Points

Montreal Impact’s form: D/D/W/D/D

New York City FC’s form: W/W/W/W/L

Key Stat: Montreal are unbeaten in 14 of their last 15 home games in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: Frank Lampard – The midfield goal machine is finally living up to his reputation. The NYCFC man has netted four in his last five. He can be key to his side taking all three points in this tie.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-2 New York City FC – If recent form and results are anything to go by we should be in for an action packed draw here. Both of these sides have been scoring freely and Montreal’s home form suggests it is going to be very difficult for New York City FC to take all three points.

2016 MLS Season Preview: New York City

As the 2016 MLS season edges closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what New York City will be looking to achieve this year…

Despite 2015 being New York City’s inaugural season in MLS, they will still be disappointed with their final position, given the quality of players they had in their squad. So much so, it cost head coach Jason Kreis his job and he was replaced by Patrick Vieira in November. Building a successful team isn’t something that happens overnight and NYCFC fans will have to continue to be patient, but they will be hoping that after a year-long bonding session, the players will be able to repay them with a more productive and memorable 2016 campaign.

Last season’s finish:

Eastern Conference – Position: 8th – P34 – W10 – D7 – L17

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What needs to change this year?

There are numerous areas that require significant improvement for New York City going into 2016. Before the season, it seemed they were a little top heavy, and so it proved. They didn’t struggle to score goals and finished as the sixth highest scorers in MLS. However, defensively, it simply wasn’t good enough. They conceded 58 goals, giving them the worst defensive record in MLS alongside Toronto and Chicago Fire, so they need to drastically improve at the back. They also need to concentrate for the full 90 minutes, as letting in late goals was definitely their Achilles heel. They conceded 11 goals in the last ten minutes of games, six of which cost them either victory or a draw. In total, those late goals cost them eight points. Another blindingly obvious area for improvement is the amount of losses. They suffered 17 defeats and only Chicago Fire lost more games than them. Of those 17 losses, 11 of them were by just a single goal, so if they can turn tight defeats into draws, they’d certainly be in a better position.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Ethan White – Defender, Ronald Matarrita – Defender, Diego Martinez – Defender, Frederic Brillant – Defender, Jack Harrison – Midfielder, Mikey Lopez – Midfielder, Federico Bravo – Midfielder

Outs: Chris Wingert – Defender, Kwame Watson-Siriboe – Defender, Jeb Brovsky – Defender, Pablo Alvarez – Midfielder, Shay Facey – Defender, Javier Calle – Midfielder, Sebastian Velasquez – Midfielder, Ned Grabavoy – Midfielder

Key Player:

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David Villa – Forward – The ex-Spain international led by example last season. An impressive return of 18 goals and eight assists from 30 appearances showed that he’s still got what it takes. New York City will need him to be firing on all cylinders once again in 2016 if they’re to make the playoffs. He was the fourth highest goalscorer in MLS last season and he’s sure to have one eye on a Golden Boot award this time around. With the support of world-class midfielders Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo from the beginning of the season, he could be even more lethal.

One to Watch:

Jack Harrison – Midfielder – The young Englishman was once part of Manchester United’s youth academy. He was a number one pick by Chicago Fire in this year’s MLS SuperDraft before being traded to New York City for general allocation money, who were clearly keen to land the promising 19 year old. He was just 14 when he took a leap of faith to join Berkshire School in Massachusetts. He’s impressed during his five years in the USA with spells at Manhattan Soccer Club and Wake Forest University, which eventually led to him being selected as number one pick at the draft. He will be desperate to get a chance to show what he can do in 2016.



Predicted Finish:

Eastern Conference – 6th – New York City will be desperate to make a push for the playoffs this year and there’s more than enough potential in the squad to make a case for why they may just do so. There’s been an overhaul of defensive players as they attempt to put right all that went wrong for them last year. Chris Wingert, Shay Facey, Jeb Brovsky, Javier Calle and Kwame Watson-Siriboe are all defensive players that featured regularly for New York in 2015 and they have all departed. Coming in to help stabilise the back line, they have Ethan White from Philadelphia Union and Frederic Brillant from Oostende, as well as young full back’s Diego Martinez and Ronald Matarrita. If the defensive unit can click, then New York City could be a different animal in 2016.

What are you expecting from New York City in 2016?

Getting Stuck In: Time to put the “D” in DP

The Getting Stuck In column delves into some of the more intriguing aspects in US Soccer and MLS, shining a light on the stories regarding the league’s teams and its most-loved characters. This week Dave Lewis looks into whether MLS clubs need to invest in more defensive Designated Players to enjoy success.

By Dave Lewis

So why should you read this gas bag talk about MLS? Well, my analysis wouldn’t help you win a bet in Vegas, but it might help you understand where MLS teams are coming up short. First, a disclaimer: I am not one of those Moneyball, sabermetric nerds that can take the amount of touches a centre back takes during a game, divide that by his passing completion rate, multiply it by his weekly salary and surmise his true value. Instead, I use the highly advanced method of the eye test. And the level of defense in MLS isn’t passing it.

As we know there is nothing sexy about being a central defender. The glory positions are in attack. The forwards get the commercials, the big wages and the women (John Terry being the exception – sorry Wayne Bridge). For MLS teams, shoring up the backline is an afterthought. In LA you have midfielder Robbie Rogers starting on the backline. DaMarcus Beasley, a winger most his life, starts in the back for Houston. And what is Brek Shea doing for Orlando City? You can’t just throw anyone back there.

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There are two teams with huge defensive deficiencies who tanked in the playoffs. Toronto, who fizzled out of the first round because they spent close to $16 million on three attacking players (Altidore, Bradley and Giovinco) with no regard for defense. And then there’s the Galaxy, who let in five goals at home to Portland just prior to their first round playoff exit to Seattle. LA, like Toronto, spent an ungodly amount on their three DPs (close to $15 million) while losing their star keeper, Jaime Penedo, over money. They replaced him with an over-the-hill Donovan Ricketts in the second half of the season who let in goals at an alarming pace. As my old man once told me: “It’s expensive to be cheap.”

Here’s my theory: If you take one of those attacking DP slots and use it on a defender or ‘keeper that is quality, experienced and young(ish), your MLS team might score less, but give up less. Defense wins championships, no?

Ok, maybe it’s unfair to pick on the two expansion teams since expansion teams rarely make the playoffs their first go around, but a little dirt kicked their way may wake them up.

Adding “D” will help NYC with the “Ws”

NYCFC  plays on the silliest looking, most awkwardly laid out pitch in MLS (and maybe the world?), with horrible sight lines and huge walls meant for baseball (wait, it was meant for baseball). The field is small in width, length and history. With the Manchester City money behind them, the club goes for flash: Frank Lampard, David Villa and Andrea Pirlo. Attacking players. Big name DPs. But what if they took one of those high priced players and put the money on a DP defender (they were tied for last for most goals given up in the league in 2015).

What if they took Lampard’s $6 million and gave it to let’s say Leighton Baines. He is 29. Still plenty left in the tank. He is a left-back with grit, great on set pieces and is a forward-like penalty taker (he just signed a new deal with Everton so not going to happen, but you get the idea). Or if you want a commanding centre-back, offer Martin Skrtel $7 million and the chance of living in the US, and he might leave Merseyside.

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Orlando is a keeper (away)

Ok, the goalkeeper position wasn’t the main problem in Orlando. But they did let in 56 goals with very few clean sheets to reflect on. Not all the fault of Tally Hall et al. Orlando has plenty of attacking players (see Larin). And they needed Kaka and his MLS leading salary to sell tickets in their inaugural season. But what if you took that Kaka money, or even half that amount, and put it on a ‘keeper? A star-studded stopper. Let’s say they signed Keylor Navas before he went to Real Madrid (he’s making Real fans forget about De Gea). Man, that would’ve put Orlando’s Mickey Mouse “D” to rest. Plus, he comes from Costa Rica where he would be closer to home, making it easier to make national team call-ups.

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True, there are some great young defenders in the league (the Whitecaps Kendall Watson and the Red Bulls’ Matt Miazga come to mind). But when I do my highly scientific analysis and get on FIFA 16 to play NYCFC versus Toronto, I have to watch Andoni Iraola, the highest rated MLS defender (according to EA) mark Giovinco, and that sure doesn’t pass the eye test.

Clearly the focus needs to be on “D”.

Lampard has his say on Chelsea’s slump, backing Mourinho

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard insists his former club must stick with Jose Mourinho despite the manager going through the worst period of his career.

The Premier League champions suffered their ninth defeat of the season last night in the League Cup away at Stoke and are slumped down the table in 15th.

Lampard, who won two Premier League titles under Mourinho, says he is still the right man for the job and that his record speaks for itself.

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“For sure. His record speaks for itself,” Lampard told ITV News. “I know he’s the most successful manager in Chelsea’s history.

“I’m sure he’s tearing his hair out and wanting to turn the corner. I’m sure the players are wanting to perform.

“I know the quality in the dressing room. I know the squad. I know people like John Terry with the desire to keep Chelsea up where they always are.

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“That will turn around very quickly and hopefully they move on and be where we expect them to be.”

Lampard’s first season with New York City FC ended with a 3-1 defeat to New England Revolution on Sunday and he will be eager to impress in the next MLS campaign.

The English midfielder scored three goals in 10 MLS appearances in his debut season.