New York Red Bulls
New York Red Bulls defender Connor Lade has been seeing some time at midfield recently, including a start at the position in New York’s 3-2 win over D.C. United on Sunday. Connor spoke with NewYorkRedBulls.com following the team’s practice session at Red Bull Arena, prior to the team’s departure for its upcoming match at Toronto F.C.
In the last game against United you started at midfield, which wasn't the first time we saw you in that position. What's it like to play there?
It was good. I haven’t played there much in my past, but its kind of similar to playing outside back, except you’re just forward a bit more. But, I enjoyed it. We’ve been working hard in training to make sure I was ready for it--tactically and just physically getting ready, and mentally up for it. But I really enjoyed it, it was nice getting into the offensive third a lot more.
What do you need to focus on more as a midfielder as opposed to a defender? What are the main differences?
You know, you have to be a lot better on your attacking game, making good decisions on the ball, because if you’re losing the ball in the midfield that’s just going to lead to counter attacks against your team. So, we’ve been really stressing the passing game to just make good, simple decisions and working on my crosses to make sure I get them consistently into the box.
Without playing the position much in the past, what do you think it was that made [Coach] Hans [Backe] decide to play you there?
I don’t know. We looked at it a bit in preseason, I played there, and I thought I did pretty well there. So I think, hopefully, he trusted that he could put me there. At the end of the day it’s his decision, and I’m just going to do whatever it takes to be on the field.
I’m not sure if you pay much attention to rookie power rankings or things like that, but pretty much every time something with best rookies comes out it’s you and Ryan Meara together. Has that brought together any kind of a friendly rivalry or camaraderie?
No, I’m really happy for Ryan. Ryan’s been on top of the charts since day one and I don’t think there’s any other spot for him other than the top, he’s having a great season. There’s no rivalry there, he’s one of my closest friends on the team and I’m just really happy for him. But, maybe I’ll catch him (laughs).
I’m sure you’ve heard that Corey Hertzog’s loan has been extended to the entire USL-PRO season, what’s it like to not have him in the house?
It’s tough, it’s a little more quiet between him and Mocha [Hertzog’s dog] not being there. He’s, you know again, one of my closest friends on the team but I’m really happy for him because he’s getting a shot to get good minutes down there and he’s doing really well, getting goals. Hopefully, once we get him back in September, he’ll be ready to step on the field and do the same thing here.
Looking forward to Saturday's match against Toronto, what are you looking to accomplish up there?
We got to get three points. We had a great game the last time out so were kind of running on high after not necessarily our best performances in the past few games. We’re really confident right now and we really need to go up there and get a solid three road points.
The New York Red Bulls and USL-Pro side Wilmington Hammerheads recently agreed to extend Corey Hertzog's loan for the remainder of Wilmington's season. We caught up with Corey to see how he was doing in North Carolina.
How have you been doing?
Doing well. I like it down here. I like the experience. I’ve been able to get some games and score some goals.
What do you think about your loan and its extension?
It’s a great opportunity for game experience. I can work on some stuff and play more.
How was the transition to a different team mid-season?
It’s been good; we play well as a group. We are playing good soccer and hopefully can continue doing that.
How is your relationship on and off the pitch with your teammates- do you guys have a rapport?
It’s good, we live together in the same apartment complex. It’s a good core group of guys. It’s a good group to come into.
While on loan with the Hammerheads, you've played in seven matches and registered four goals and two assists. What do you have to say about your performance thus far with the Hammerheads?
I feel that I started off well. I need to score more goals personally and help out the team more. We jell well as a team. These games have helped me show teams what I can do, show New York what I can do as a player.
Have you been following the Red Bulls in the news?
Absolutely. I followed their games against Vancouver and DC.
What do you think about Barklage's two goals on Saturday? And Solli's first goal of the season against United?
Barklage was awesome. I was standing up and cheering. Solli also had a great goal.
Has there been any individual on the Red Bulls team that has served as a role model, or someone that you admire, during your time with the team?
Definitely [Thierry] Henry. He is one of the best players in the world. He is a great person to watch play and train [with] and to try and learn everything you can.
Did you bring your glamour shot that we all saw, and secretly wanted, in the "Under One Roof" segment with you to Wilmington?
(Laughs) No, it’s still in the same spot at home.
The notorious photograph is still hanging in the house he shares with Vuolo and Lade and will be waiting for him, like all of us, when he returns to New York.
Although online voting for the 2012 MLS All-Star continues now through July 2, you can do your part to make sure Heath Pearce makes his way to the star-studded match against Chelsea.
As of right now, Red Bulls defender Heath Pearce is currently third overall in text voting. The top player in text votes is guaranteed a spot on the All-Star team, so let's get that tally up.
All you have to do is text "PEARCE" to 22442. Voting is unlimited, so go crazy to make sure Pearce is playing in the July 25 MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park.
While you're at it, let Heath know you have his back by sending a Tweet to @HEATHGPEARCE.
Red Bulls midfielder Dane Richards spoke with NewYorkRedBulls.com Wednesday following the team’s training session at Montclair State University to talk about New York’s latest match against D.C. United and their upcoming fixture with Toronto F.C.
You missed the last game with your suspension [due to yellow card accumulation], what did it mean to you to have to miss out on the rivalry match with D.C. United?
Watching the game was unbelievable. The team put on a great performance to beat the D.C. rival so it was great watching from the stands.
The game was played in front of a sold out crowd, what did you think of the atmosphere that night?
It made me mad because I wasn’t playing (laughs). But no, I loved it, it was unbelievable. I sat in the stands for the first half and I thought it was unbelievable. When we went one down, they were still behind us, so we got the lead before halftime.
What can you say about Brandon Barklage’s performance in the game?
He was on fire, that’s all I can say. He was unbelievable, he got his first goal to equalize and then an unbelievable volley for the second goal. So, an unbelievable performance and I hope he can continue that into the next game.
You guys are going to Toronto this weekend, what are you expecting out of them?
Well, they were losing every game and then they tied two in a row, so I’m sure they’re looking for the victory. So, we just have to go there and be disciplined and just try to get the three points.
Is there anything in particular that you are going to try to exploit in their defense or just play your normal game?
We’re just going to play our game. Once we play our game, the team is going to get chances and just got to put them away.
With his next start, Richards will pass Carlos Mendes for second place on the all-time games played list in franchise history with 147 games.
We'll never grow tired of seeing Ryan Meara sitting atop the MLS rookie rankings, and thankfully neither is the staff at MLSsoccer.com.
In this week's installment, Meara continues to hold down the No. 1 spot after the Red Bulls won one and tied one over the past week of play. Here's what they have to say about Meara:
"Another week brought two more solid performances from the Red Bulls backstop, even if he didn't have much to do when it came to making saves. Drawing in Vancouver is nothing to be ashamed of, especially since he didn't have a chance of stopping Martín Bonjour's goal. Add in a home win against D.C., and New York have to be thrilled with their week."
Fellow rookie Connor Lade has come and gone from the Rookie Rankings over the course of the season, but he's back in it at No. 5 overall this week:
"After a brief appearance in these rankings, Lade is back, the result of two effective starts in once week against two of MLS' top sides. Hans Backe has even started experimenting with the rookie at midfield, where he slotted in against D.C. Who knows if he'll stay in the lineup, but for now, the Homegrown signing deserves a look."
Kudos to both rooks for getting the credit they deserve after each put in yet another strong effort on the pitch this past week.
The Red Bulls return to action Saturday when they visit Toronto for a 7pm kickoff on MSG.
Red Bull Arena will play host to three-straight home games in July when the Red Bulls take on Seattle July 15, Chicago July 18 and Philadelphia July 21. The first 5,000 fans 16 and Under for the July 21 match against Philadelphia will receive a free flat-brimmed cap. Get your tickets to any and all of the Red Bulls home matches at Red Bulls Ticket Central, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.
Mike Petke knows a thing or two about the New York - DC United rivalry. After all, he spent a number of seasons on the pitch for both sides, before retiring after the 2010 season and assuming the role of assistant coach with New York.
Petke caught up with NewYorkRedBulls.com following Wednesday's training session to discuss the long-standing rivalry, his role as both a player and a coach and New York's valiant win over DC Sunday night at Red Bull Arena.
Having been on both sides of the New York-DC rivalry, what went through your mind Sunday night?
First and foremost it’s great to come out with the win. But that game right there, I believe, does a huge thing for MLS soccer in general. Especially for this year. Anybody who saw that game, whether you know everything or nothing about soccer, you walk away with a smile on your face. It was end-to-end, it was a great possession game and there was five goals scored. A phenomenal full house, and that’s the beauty of the game right there.
As a former player for both teams, what would normally go into your pre-game psyche as you prepped for a game like that, no matter what side you were on?
Take my rookie year. You know, just being thrown into it and not knowing the history – well, there wasn’t much history there, but not knowing the bitterness between the two, I was happy to be out there. From the second year and on I was amped up for that game. I got a couple of red cards throughout the years in those games, scored a couple of goals, for both teams actually in the rivalry, and it’s just one of those things that for a young league like us to have a rivalry and – not a true derby since it’s not the same city – but, you know, the American version of the Derby, it’s very important. It really gets fans and the team really pumped up. I made sure to walk around the locker room leading up to this game to the young guys and the new guys saying, ‘Listen, you know, if you don’t know anything about this rivalry, get on your computer, research it, or ask me. I don’t want you showing up that day and thinking it’s just like any old game.' And they got the picture.
What about extracting yourself from the game as a player and seeing it from the eyes of a coach now?
Oh it’s horrible. I hate it. I hated sitting on the bench with that crowd, with the fight that was going on on the field. You want to be involved in that more than just sitting on the sidelines watching. But it’s good to see some guys, most guys, get into it and realize what it is and almost live a little bit through them.
Having been a part of the rivalry at such an early stage, and seeing how it’s progressed over the years – not necessarily just on the field – but when you looked around at Red Bull Arena, the place was packed. You’ve seen Giants Stadium, RFK, and now this place…how has it grown?
There’s been many games throughout the last 13 years, 14 years, where I’ve scratched my head and said, ‘Uh, this is really a rivalry?’ It just hasn’t panned out. But many games have. That was, I think, the greatest environment I’ve been a part of for a rivalry like that. And there’s been many classic games between us, but I think that’s going to go down as possible the best rivalry game we’ve had with them.
Bigger picture now. Seeing how DC is playing this year as opposed to last year, where they are with the Red Bulls right now in the standings, do you see this thing possibly brewing into a postseason battle as well?
Well, if it does I hope that we have home-field advantage, to be honest with you. DC’s a very good team. Ben Olsen’s a very good friend of mine. I played with him for many years and I couldn’t be happier for him. He got thrown into a situation that he really didn’t have that much experience, but he had the respect of the organization and the players, so they threw him in there and he’s done great with them. But you know, I could definitely see us meeting them down the road in some sort of important game. Yeah, definitely some time this year.
The accolades just keep coming for Red Bulls defender Brandon Barklage, who just this past Sunday netted his first-career MLS goal, followed shortly after by his first-career MLS brace.
From giving fans the shirt off his back, to receiving a hefty pat on the back for his part in the Red Bulls' win, it's been nothing but a positive week for the St. Louis native.
MLSsoccer.com was straight and to the point in their assessment of Barklage, as he cracked the Starting XI in Week 16's Team of the Week:
"Lit up his former team with two excellent finishes to power the Red Bulls to a 3-2 win over D.C. United."
Mehdi Ballouchy and Dax McCarty were each tagged as "Honorable Mentions" in the Team of the Week, as each put in an industrious effort Sunday against DC United.
The Red Bulls return to action Saturday when they head north of the border for a 7pm ET kick off against Toronto. Watch all the action live on MSG.
What a difference a win makes. Be it jovial locker room banter, a rise to first place in the standings or a jump in power rankings, three points gets you a lot in this league. It's always nice to see others take notice.
That's the case with this week's power rankings, as the Red Bulls took a nice jump across the board to re-enter the Top 3.
We'll start things off with MLSsoccer.com. They have the Red Bulls taking a leap from No. 5 overall in Week 15 rankings to No. 2 this week thanks largely in part to a nice public pat on the back for Dax McCarty:
"All we wanted from Dax McCarty, really from Day 1, was for him to channel his inner Didier Deschamps. Now he's finally done it and is the keystone to New York's sprint to the top of the East. Few defensive midfielders cover more ground, and only Beckerman starts an attack as well."
ESPN has the Red Bulls locked in at No. 2 overall as well after placing them fourth last week. Nothing but heaps of praise for the biggest storyline coming out of the win:
"Brandon Barklage dished out a serious helping of revenge against former club D.C. United, scoring two goals in a 3-2 victory. Even better, his block of a Maicon Santos shot helped preserve the win."
Sports Illustrated seems a bit hesitant to demote Real Salt Lake too far down the charts after they dropped two straight this past week, but nevertheless the Red Bulls lock up third overall in their installment:
"It's hard to argue with Hans Backe's assessment that the Red Bulls' first 55 minutes against D.C. were the most complete performance that they've turned in this season."
The New York Red Bulls are teaming up with the Positive Coaching Alliance for a special event Saturday, July 21, 2012. Red Bull Arena will host an educational two-hour coaching workshop in conjunction with Positive Coaching Alliance from 10:00am to 4:00pm. PCA is a non-profit organization that works with coaches and parents to develop player skills and improve performance both on and off the pitch.
In addition to the coaching workshop, a first team New York Red Bulls coach will engage in a 30-minute discussion about the team's strategy leading up to that day's match against the Philadelphia Union at 2:30pm.
Not only does a ticket to this event include admission to the Red Bulls vs. Union match, but all participants will receive a complimentary Red Bulls hat and T-shirt and receive a private VIP tour of Red Bull Arena.
It wasn't a matter of "if," it was a matter of "which." Which of Brandon Barklage's two quality goals against his former club DC United would be considered Goal of the Week material?
If you guessed his 45-minute strike, you guessed right.
Spread the word on Twitter and Facebook and let's get those votes tallied up. Vote Barklage for Goal of the Week:
Cast your ballot before voting ends for your favorite goal of Week 13-15! The winner is determined by the total number of votes cast online and via text and is announced on Fridays.
Vote online or text goal code to 22442.
Voting runs until 11:59 pm PT on Thursdays.
For complete coverage of the AT&T Goal of the Week—including an archive of past winners—click here.