How Frank Lampard Decision Affects New York City FC's Inaugural Season

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2015

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Now that the inevitable is finally over with, New York City FC is under more pressure to put a winning product on the field starting in March.

Frank Lampard is officially a Manchester City player until at least the end of May. There is absolutely nothing head coach Jason Kreis or director of football operations Claudio Reyna can do about it now. 

New York City FC @NYCFC

Frank Lampard's contract with @MCFC has been extended up to the end of the season. Read: http://t.co/TZDbNaoV8H http://t.co/4Rn9t9elam

Instead of lamenting every time Lampard steps on the pitch in a Man City shirt, fans of the club should embrace the challenge presented to club's brass. 

Now seems like a good time to remind everyone with an opinion on this topic that Kreis built Real Salt Lake out of nothing into a consistent contender in the Western Conference. 

Kreis also prepared for the lack of Lampard's presence by selecting Ned Grabavoy in December's Expansion Draft. While he may not possess the quality of the English international, Grabavoy was a rock in the defensive half of midfield for RSL before leaving for the bright lights of New York City

With two months left in the offseason, Kreis has the opportunity to go out and find another player of Grabavoy's quality to shore up the defensive part of midfield. 

The months leading up to March's opener should also be a time for Kreis to bring more depth to the squad, which is something the club should take advantage of during the January transfer window. 

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Looking outside of Lampard's potential position in the team, NYCFC is set up for success at other positions. David Villa, the other big-name designated player inked by the club, will be around in March to lead the line in the season opener against Orlando City

Sep 18, 2014; New York, NY, USA; (Editors note: Caption correction) MLS player David Villa gestures at new MLS league and team logos at an announcement held at Skylight Modern. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

In the back four, players like Chris Wingert and Jason Hernandez are more than capable of turning the NYCFC defense into one of the better units in the Eastern Conference.

There is also plenty of talent on the rest of the roster, as Kreis was wise with his decision-making throughout the numerous acquisition drafts at the start of the offseason. 

The NYCFC boss also has the opportunity to enhance his squad through the MLS SuperDraft, where the club has the second-overall pick. Three of the last four No. 2 picks have already made a solid impact in MLS. Darlington Nagbe, Darren Mattocks and Steve Birnbaum have all turned themselves into quality players, which is a positive sign for NYCFC. 

Another angle of the Lampard deal that some haven't considered yet is the potential loanees coming across the Atlantic from the Etihad Stadium. 

With Manchester City being the parent club of NYCFC, we can assume that at least a few players will play for the MLS side in 2015. The specific players have not been determined, but one has to think NYCFC will get a better grouping as compensation for Lampard's extended stay on the blue half of Manchester. 

Ives Galarcep @SoccerByIves

Will be interesting to see if NYCFC can use this to receive a better caliber of loanees from Man City. That would soften the blow a bit.

The most difficult situation of them all over the next two months will be the handling of fan concerns. With Lampard staying at Manchester City until the end of the English Premier League season, many fans are questioning the direction of the club.

One player may not define a club's identity in its first season, but the Lampard situation could have long-term effects on NYCFC if the situation is not handled correctly.

One way all of the negative attention from the fans can be silenced is by winning games early in the season. Instead of creating buzz due to a negative situation, the club could create positive headlines with a fast start out of the gates. 

With that in mind, the pressure will be heaped on the shoulders of Kreis even more before he takes the sideline for his first game in charge of the club. Kreis is no stranger to winning in MLS, but he hasn't faced this much pressure in his managerial career. 

Richard Drew/Associated Press

If NYCFC fails to get off to a strong start during the first few months of the season, the backlash from the fans will grow and even a late arrival by Lampard might not cure the blues. 

There is no doubt NYCFC is under an immense amount of pressure to perform with Lampard not in the squad at the moment. But all hope should not be lost just yet for the club's inaugural campaign. 

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

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