With New York City FC trailing by a pair of goals, RJ Allen was called into action for the start of the second half.
The message from coach Patrick Vieira was a simple one.
“Just try to provide something, just try to get forward and help the team the best way I can doing what I do,” Allen said. “That’s keeping the ball and providing an assist there in the beginning of the half. It was a good start to the half.”
Allen replaced Jason Hernandez at halftime and just four minutes later, he assisted on Frank Lampard’s 12th goal of the season to pull NYCFC within a goal. The play started with Ronald Matarrita bursting down the left sideline before playing a square ball to Andrea Pirlo.
The veteran midfielder chipped to himself to avoid a pair of New England defenders before finding Allen on the right. Allen took a touch before delivering a perfect angled pass to a streaking Lampard, who hammered in first-time from the edge of the six-yard box.
It was Allen’s sixth assist of the season and the highlight of an otherwise disappointing loss, a defeat that dropped NYCFC from atop the Eastern Conference.
Allen is confident NYCFC can rebound from the difficult defeat with a massive home game coming up against Western Conference leaders FC Dallas Saturday at 7 p.m.
“I think we need to learn from this. We need to go home, we need to review tomorrow, first thing and just bounce back,” Allen said. “We have two home games coming up, two of the most important games of the year. Six points are a must.”