Connor Lade may not be getting the kind of attention that fellow New York Red Bulls rookie Ryan Meara is receiving, but by no means is he struggling in his first MLS season.
The versatile Lade continued a steady rookie campaign with a goalscoring performance in RBNY’s 3-0 victory over the Charleston Battery in the third round of the US Open Cup on Tuesday night.
Lade was deployed as a left midfielder in the game, and he put in a solid 90-minute effort against a Battery side that looked hungry to give its fans at Blackbaud Stadium a treat.
“He’s shown almost the whole preseason in the beginning of this MLS league that he’s a player for the future,” Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe told reporters after the match.
Lade contributed to the Red Bulls’ cause in the match with more than just his typical hustle, though – he also scored his first professional goal in the second half. Lade capped New York's scoring in the 70th minute when he got on the end of a pass from Jan Gunnar Solli and curled a beautiful shot into the top right corner of the net from 27 yards out.
“That’s probably one of my better goals,” said the 22-year-old Lade. “I haven’t scored too many goals in my life, but it felt good. Solli played a great ball across the field and fortunately the defender backed off a little bit and Mehdi [Ballouchy] kind of screened him and gave me the green light and so I just hit one. And fortunately it just went in.”
Lade may have been pleased with his goal, but he was equally happy with the win. The Red Bulls have stated they want to win the Open Cup this season, and backed their ambition up with a flying start in the competition.
“That’s the objective,” said Lade. “We’re setting out a goal to win this thing, and we’re not going to be happy unless we do so.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.