Lampard, Harrison continue NYCFC integration process

Frank Lampard

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

Frank Lampard and Jack Harrison made strong arguments to earn more starts with their performances in New York City FC’s win against the Philadelphia Union.

While they earned Patrick Vieira’s praise, the head coach was not ready to proclaim either athlete as definitive starters.

“You have to give them time,” Vieira said. “That was Frank’s first start and when you look at the 75 minutes he was on the field, he showed his experience, his quality and his goal record. He’s somebody who had good timing to get inside the box and he’s someone who can put the ball into the back of the net. He’s a massive asset for us.”

Vieira continued saying Harrison is “still a long way from his best.”

“What is important for myself and the staff is how can we keep them fit,” Vieira said. “How can we train them during the week so that they can have these type of performances on match day?”

Lampard opened the scoring for NYCFC in the eighth minute and threatened the Union defense with his runs from midfield. Lampard said he was delighted to score and is hoping to gain more match fitness soon.

“I feel good, I was a bit tired, maybe at the end of the second half,” Lampard said. “I’ll get better. Probably should have scored two or three today if I were a bit sharper. You can only get there with games.”

Harrison has started each of City’s last two league games. He scored in the loss to Real Salt Lake and assisted on David Villa’s goal in the 21st minute. He was an effective playmaker in the attacking third, completing ten of his 17 passes in that area. Harrison said he was comfortable playing on the right side yesterday.

“It doesn’t really faze me,” Harrison said. “I like to come inside either way. It’s not much difference for me.”

Harrison admitted he’s still not completely fit either after missing four months to a groin injury. NYCFC only have one match remaining in the month of June before six in July. Vieira said those matches provide an opportunity for Harrison to contribute even more.

“Physically, he’s not as sharp as anyone else yet because he’s been out four-five months and there is a lot to come from him,” Vieira said. “He is a fantastic winger, he can come inside, he can go wide, he can deliver with the right foot. He can come inside and play the one-two with the number 9. He is a threat for any kind of defender. He is a really good player.”