October 2, 2012
Will Backe be able to find a spot for Lade?
By Kristian R. Dyer
|Red Bulls coach Hans Backe has many options of where to play rookie Connor Lade.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – If you are Red Bulls coach Hans Backe, you have a multitude of options available for your game day selection and the list just keeps growing every day.
At Tuesday’s training session at Montclair State University, goalkeeper Bill Gaudette returned after a several day hiatus with a lower back injury. In addition, Roy Miller, Rafa Marquez and Rodrigo Liete all trained in some capacity and could be ready to play sooner rather than later.
And then there’s the return of Connor Lade from a red-card suspension. The rookie has proven not only to be versatile but to play like a veteran and it would seem that Backe has to find a way to get Lade on the field this Saturday against Chicago. BigAppleSoccer.com asked Backe how he will get Lade into the Starting XI, since he needs the player’s skill set in the lineup.
“I don’t need him on the pitch – that’s not necessary,” Backe said.
Well, some clarification is perhaps necessary as Backe wasn’t dissing Lade by any means. The emergence of Brandon Barklage, back from a hamstring injury, and his solid 90 minutes against Toronto on Saturday has created a dilemma for Backe. Barklage has been a positive for New York this year and his return to health solidifies the right back slot.
So what to do with Lade, who also did well at right back over the past few games?
“Brandon [is] banging on the door, being so competitive and playing so well. That’s just part of the game, you have to show in every training session that you want that position back,” Backe said. “Normally I see Connor as a fullback. I think now he’s grown into [it] and handled it well. That’s the competition you want.”
So with that in mind, maybe left back is the best spot for Lade as he is naturally left-footed, but Wilman Conde has surprised many with his performances at the spot. It could be argued that Lade’s energy and speed would be a tremendous fit coming deep from the back line.
So maybe Lade can play left back.
“Then Wilman has to play poor," Backe said. "I will never switch players if they do well – the other guys just have to bang on the door every day and show that they want that position. So, it could be a starting position for Connor, could be bench.”
This poor door keeps getting banged pretty hard.
At least for this weekend, the answer for Backe might be to push Lade into the midfield. It looks like right winger Lloyd Sam will be out with a hamstring strain, so perhaps Lade could play there and add some bite to the right side.
Then again, Backe said that Jan Gunnar Solli and Dax McCarty could also play wide right.
“Jan, Connor, Dax are the three options wide,” Backe said.
So many options.