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NYCFC has time to turn season around

New York City FC goalie Josh Saunders, second

New York City FC goalie Josh Saunders, second from right, urges on his teammates late in the second half of a game against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bulls Arena, Sunday, May 10, 2015, in Harrison, N.J. Photo Credit: JASON DECROW

This has been a season of firsts for New York City FC, but it hasn't moved beyond that in the win column.

NYCFC (1-6-3) still maintains a single victory that came in its March 15 home opener two months ago.

That can change Friday night when eighth-place New York returns to Yankee Stadium to play the Chicago Fire (3-5-0), who sit in sixth place and are only three points ahead in the standings. Six teams make the playoffs in each conference, and NYCFC has 24 contests left on the schedule. The show certainly is not over in the Bronx.

For New York City to become a playoff team, however, improvements must be made, particularly in scoring and passing. There hasn't been much consistency up front with David Villa's hamstring injury, which led to manager Jason Kreis cautiously pulling the striker midway through his Sunday return in a 2-1 loss to the Red Bulls.

Help is on the way with midfielder Frank Lampard set to join the club July 1, six months late after spending time with parent club Manchester City. He could be the missing piece that gives NYCFC a consistent threat in the attacking third of the field.

In the meantime, it will have to focus on improving the current squad. Patrick Mullins was the latest contributor to that group, notching his second goal of the season against the Red Bulls.


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