New York City fans will have to wait yet another week to see Frank Lampard debut but Andrea Pirlo is ready to play against Orlando City on Sunday.
Lampard, who finally arrived in New York at the start of the month after first being announced as City’s player a year earlier, is struggling with a calf injury and will not face Orlando at Yankee Stadium.
The former England international has also been replaced in the MLS All-Star team by New York Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty.
But Pirlo, who only touched down in the United States this week, is expected to make his bow for City after claiming, “I’m not here to be a tourist”.
City coach Jason Kreis cannot wait to see the 36-year-old former Juventus midfielder show what he can do in a competitive MLS fixture.
“It’s always been our goal and objective to play a style that would suit Andrea,” Kreis said on Saturday, according to City’s website.
“We haven’t always achieved that goal in all our games this year, but it’s been our objective to play a possession game, a dominant game and a game where we dictate the tempo of the match. With someone who dictates the tempo of matches really well, we think this should be a perfect fit.”
Kreis added: “With the additions of the players we’re making right now, we feel that can be the tipping point that pushes us where we want to be.”
City sit ninth in the Eastern Conference standings heading into Sunday’s game against seventh-placed Orlando, although Kreis’ men are just three points outside the play-off spots.
Pirlo is convinced he can help the MLS expansion club surge up the table ahead of the regular season’s completion at the end of October.
“I’m not here to be a tourist but to play,” the Italian veteran said.
“It’s something that comes easy to me, something I enjoy doing and something I feel I do well.
“We still have a long way to go in the season. We have a new team, a team that started from scratch this year. We have to turn a new leaf and try to do our best to reach the play-offs.
“I’m sure with all the work we’ll put into this, we’ll be able to reach that result.”