Frank Lampard, New York City FC fending off East challengers

As the MLS regular season approaches its end, New York City FC is competing fiercely to keep its lead atop of the Eastern Conference.

NYCFC holds a one-point lead over the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC as teams are settling into playoff seeds, with six games left to play and the postseason beginning in October.

“I believe we have what it takes to finish in the top six,” NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira told reporters after last Thursday’s 3-2 victory over D.C. United at Yankee Stadium. “If we are where we are at the moment, it’s because we are doing some good things and we are to [just] keep working even harder.”

Frank Lampard, who was honored before the game for his 300 career goals with club and country, delivered accordingly by scoring two more goals. The 38-year-old Englishman has been a big contributor since returning in June from injury that limited preseason practice time with the team.

“We never had any doubt of [Lampard’s] talent,” Vieira said. “To see him scoring goals that’s just a thing that you’re used to. But, to keep scoring goals at this level, I think it’s terrific.”

Lampard, honored as the MLS Player of the Week, and team captain David Villa both are in contention for the Golden Boot. Villa is tied for first with 17 goals, alongside Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips. Lampard, who has 11 goals in 16 games this season, and Villa are two of the main reasons why the team leads the MLS in scoring with 48 goals.

NYCFC (12-8-8, 44 points) is back in action against the New England Revolution (7-12-9, 30 points) in Gillette Stadium on Saturday.