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New York City FC 3, DC United 2: Lampard bewitches our hearts, Blues go top

On “Frank Lampard Day,” the man himself capped a brace in stoppage time to steal three huge points at home.

"It’s what dreams are made of."

So said YES Network color man Ian Joy, after he managed to regain his breath.

Frank Lampard had just capped a two-goal performance with a sublime stop-and-pop finish to snatch the result in a 3-2 thriller against visiting DC United, who had leveled in the 91st minute.

The blockbuster win was NYCFC’s fifth straight at home, and sent the Blues back to the penthouse of the Eastern Conference with six games left to play in the regular season. For Lampard, it was his sixth goal in six games, and his eleventh in thirteen.

To call it "Frank Lampard Day" isn’t just bluster— before the game, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio declared it, as the Chelsea legend was honored for recently reaching the 300 goal milestone for his career.

But watching the first half, a result felt anything but likely.

Patrick Vieira’s team struggled with DC’s press and couldn’t find a way to get star man David Villa involved in the action. Jefferson Mena, starting on the right side of the back four, continued his run of poor form, and former Red Bull man Lloyd Sam took advantage for the Black and Red, slotting home the opener following a brilliant passage of team play in the 36th minute.

Tommy McNamara and Andoni Iraola gave way to Stiven Mendoza and Federico Bravo to start the second period, and the Blues began showing signs of life. Maxime Chanot took over the right side of the defense, shifting Mena — mercifully — to the middle of the back four.

The benefits were real— David Villa, pouncing on an errant back pass from Luke Mishu, evened the scoreline in the 78th minute with his league-leading 17th goal, slipping it coolly past Bill Hamid.

Six minutes later, Lampard struck what must have felt like the winner. But it was only six minutes more before United scored an apparent backbreaker, as Lamar Neagle headed home a stoppage time corner kick, adding to NYCFC’s self-replenishing misery defending set pieces.

But the truly sublime theatrics were yet to come.


That peach of a ball from Khiry Shelton made it two assists off the bench in a span of eight minutes, giving him six dimes for the year. But there was to be no confusion about who the hero really was on the night.

"I think we deserved that one. That one was coming tonight," Lampard said after the match.

"Last-minute winners are always the best ones. I don’t get bored of that."

You said it, boss man.

Can every day be Frank Lampard Day?