EOS Picks: New York City FC End of Year Awards

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

DEFENDER OF THE YEAR: RJ Allen

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

In many ways, RJ Allen is the microcosm of the NYCFC season. A player who was simply overlooked heading into the year became one of the team’s most biting defenders on a backline that needed every bit of that aggression. But his aggressive play wasn’t all he brought to the team. Allen made 24 appearances with the club, earning 19 starts, one goal and six assists (fifth best on the team). Not bad from a player one year removed from being a youth soccer coach in Staten Island.

MIDFIELDER OF THE YEAR: Frank Lampard

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

Let’s face a simple fact: no matter what you think of Frank Lampard and the majority of his time with NYCFC, there is no way this team makes the postseason without his production. End of story. Lampard returned to the team in the worst possible circumstance — a late sub in the now infamous “Red Wedding” which saw the Red Bulls beat NYCFC 7-0. But Lampard didn’t fold under the weight of that result. Instead, he became the team’s second highest scorer, earning clutch goals throughout the summer months and quickly inserting his name to the MVP of the year talks. In short, he scored 12 goals in 19 matches, starting just 15 of those games while adding three assists. That is what you call an impact player.

STRIKER OF THE YEAR: David Villa

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

The stats don’t lie: 23 goals. Four assists. 33 matches. ‘Nuff said.

The now-reigning league MVP deserves full plaudits for his work this season. He is the quintessential Designated Player, bringing production, leadership, but most of all, a winner’s mentality to a team desperate for a turnaround.

MATCH OF THE YEAR: New York City FC 5-1 Colorado Rapids (7/30 Yankee Stadium)

Donning the captains armband, Frank Lampard did what he has done his entire career: lead. After a crushing loss to the Red Bulls, the former Chelsea hero took it to one of the strongest Western Conference teams of the year, scoring a hat trick en route to a glorious 5-1 result. Tony Taylor and Steven Mendoza rounded out the scoring.

TURNING POINT OF THE YEAR: The Return Of Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard’s 2016 debut was anything but “super.” But what he produced after that Red Wedding result was simply remarkable. NYCFC were desperate for a secondary scoring threat, and the veteran Lampard proved up to the task, scoring big goals and leading his team to several key victories. While his flame dimmed in the postseason, there is no question: without Lampard, NYCFC would not have enjoyed their first trip to the postseason. That is a fact. And that is the biggest turning point of the year.

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