HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls were the better side early in Wednesday’s match against Orlando City, but there was frustration and it took them time to find the net.
They did eventually thanks to the unlikeliest of heroes.
In the 37th minute, a deflection off of a corner kick bounced to Connor Lade at the top of box. Lade, the Red Bulls’ diminutive left back, buried the shot into the upper ninety and jumped into Mike Grella’s arms to celebrate.
“This is definitely a special moment that I’ll always remember and I’m all smiles tonight,” Lade said.
The goal was Lade's first in MLS, and stood as the winner in a 2-0 triumph at home over Orlando City that snapped the Red Bulls' four-game run without a victory.
“Connor’s goal is really good,” Red Bulls Coach Jesse Marsch said. “He just slows down a little bit. It’s something we’ve been talking about with our outside backs. In the attacking part of the field, slowing down a little, having a little bit of poise and coming up with more quality in final plays.”
Lade was named Man of the Match at Red Bull Arena for his performance, which saw him whirl around the left side of the field and make an impact on defense in addition to scoring his impressive strike.
“It was a long time coming,” Lade said. “Glad to get that weight off my chest and really overall happy with the team tonight. I thought we put in a good shift.”
Aside from the goal, Lade is part of a defense that has been stifling at Red Bull Arena. The win against Orlando was New York’s sixth straight shutout at home.
“Connor is awesome,” Marsch said. “Every time I get a question about Connor I love gushing about Connor because he’s just the kind of guy that every coach loves to have. He’ll do whatever it takes. He’ll fight for his teammates. He’ll play any position. He’ll win his battle.
"I said he saved our season earlier in the year when he had some of these moments, when he's got a cut up on his eye, he's wearing some sort of Rambo headband – and that’s who Connor is, and we’re very fortunate to have him.”