UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Connor Lade may have served his one-game suspension for the red card he received against the New England Revolution, but that does not mean he will automatically jump back into the Red Bulls’ starting lineup this weekend.
Head coach Hans Backe told reporters Tuesday that Lade could be forced into a reserve role for Saturday’s game against the Chicago Fire after Brandon Barklage put forth a solid outing at right back in this past weekend’s 4-1 win over Toronto FC. Lade had started the 10 games prior and the rookie looked good for the most part during that stretch.
“Brandon banging on the door and being so competitive and playing so well, and of course that’s just part of the game,” said Backe. “You have to show in every training session that you want that position back. Normally, I see Connor as a fullback. I think that is now [what] he’s growing into and handle that well and that’s the competition you want.”
Does that mean Lade could possibly start over Wilman Conde at left back, the position where he started the season? Not with the way Conde is playing right now, said Backe.
“I will never switch players if they do well,” said the Red Bulls boss. “The other guys just have to bang on the door every day and show they want that position. So it could be a starting position for Connor, it could be bench.”
Marquez, Miller, Digão resume full training
While Lloyd Sam (hamstring) and Corey Hertzog (calf) sat out of Tuesday’s training, the Red Bulls welcomed back three players who just recovered from their own respective knocks.
Rafa Marquez (hamstring), Roy Miller (groin) and Digão (hamstring) all resumed full training for New York on Tuesday morning. But Backe said it was too early for him to provide an outlook as to their availability for Saturday’s crucial Eastern Conference clash with the Fire.
“I only have to see them in training sessions,” said Backe. “I don’t do anything now for the Saturday game. They’re back in training, so let’s just see what comes out.”
Backe: Meara underwent two hip operations
WATCH: Meara comes up big in 1-on-1
The Red Bulls’ other standout rookie, goalkeeper Ryan Meara, had recently been spotted rehabbing at the team’s training facility and Backe revealed that Meara is recovering from more than just the left hip injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season, saying Meara underwent surgery on both hips.
“The two surgeries went well,” said Backe. “He’s feeling well when I talked to him. He can do some work, is on the bike and hopefully, fingers crossed, that it’s not four, five, six months [of] rehabilitation. If it goes like this, he can be back in December, start doing normal training sessions.”
Rodgers could return for 2013
From the “Here We Go Again Department” comes word that Luke Rodgers could make his Red Bulls return in the near future.
Backe said Rodgers may try and acquire a work visa on his own in November or December so as to try and re-join the Red Bulls in 2013. While the club itself would not invest much time in trying to bring him back, they have left the door open for the diminutive striker.
“You never know with Luke,” Backe said with a wide grin. “We’ll see, I don’t know with Luke. I like him.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.