The message from across the NYCFC camp is loud and clear: This isn’t over.
Despite going down 2-0 to Toronto FC at BMO Field, the whole squad is in agreement that things will be very different at Yankee Stadium in front of our supporters on Sunday.
NYCFC are undefeated in the Bronx for five months going into the Eastern Conference semifinals second leg and Frank Lampard believes that the situation can be turned around.
Frank accepts that the team were unable to inflict the kind of pressure required to get the first leg result they wanted but he has pledged to put any negative feelings aside as the squad builds up to round two.
“It’s nowhere near the end,” Lampard declared.
“We have to play our best – we didn’t play the kind of football we’ve played throughout the season but if we do that next weekend, we’ve got a chance.
“People know that at home we’re strong. Yes, we’ve given ourselves a difficult task, especially conceding the second goal makes it tough but we have to believe – we’ve got the whole week to get it right now and play the way we know we can.
“It doesn’t feel great now but the only way to do it is with a positive attitude to believe we can play the way we have throughout the year. Attacking football, creating chances, winning games, scoring goals.”
Lampard feels as though NYCFC defended well for the most part on Sunday night but admitted that the pressure eventually told on the backline.
He explained: “They’re a good team, they played with pressure, played with the home crowd behind them and they have good attacking players.
“If they keep having pressure throughout the game then they can break you down in the end and that’s what happened. They controlled big parts of the game and at times we defended well but when the pressure keeps coming it’s not easy to keep clean sheets.”
Patrick Vieira’s side will walk something of a tightrope in the second leg, knowing they need to attack to get back into the game but also aware that they need to keep it tight at the other end.
While this setup may hand Toronto a tactical edge for Sunday’s match, Frank knows that an early goal could change everything.
“The dynamic of the game will be different now because they have a 2-0 lead to defend and have good attacking players.
“It was always going to be a tough game away – we have to take a reflection, then we have to be confident because it’s a Playoffs game and anything can happen over 90 minutes.
“We score an early goal and all of a sudden it’s really game on - we won’t take any negative feelings into the second leg.”