This past Sunday's meeting with D.C. United not only marked the first of the Atlantic Cup rivalry, but also the first time in MLS history two players made their debuts in the same match. It started with St. John's University product Connor Lade starting his first match for the first team after Roy Miller picked up a knee injury in New York’s 2-2 draw with San Jose.
Head coach Hans Backe was pleased with his young defender's performance, recognizing a few unlucky situations that also met him along the way.
“Connor, a little bit unlucky with the goal and a couple of throw-ins and stuff like that, but overall making his debut I can’t expect anything more,” Backe said.
Defender Tyler Ruthven has undoubtedly made an impact on the scoring front in reserve matches this season, scoring against both Montreal's and Columbus' reserve squads. In Sunday’s match, Ruthven was called upon after Stephen Keel was forced to leave the pitch in an effort to tend to his sore back.
“Tyler [Ruthven] came on, did decent. Only one probably mistake when he crossed over (in front of Holgersson) but otherwise quite OK,” Backe said.
In training Wednesday at Montclair State University, Backe asserted the difficulty of preparing the squad with the amount of injuries accumulating.
“It’s a challenge now for us to work with these guys and just try to prepare them as good as possible for every game, because the other guys will be out for a number of weeks now,” he said.
The trio of newcomers was complete when forward Jhonny Arteaga subbed on for Dane Richards in the 81st minute. With the form strikers Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper have been in recently, Arteaga has had little opportunity to make an impact in first team matches. Despite the circumstances, Arteaga is hoping to use the experience as fuel to continue to make an impact in the Red Bulls play.
“It was great, it was something I was waiting for,” Arteaga said. “You know you work hard every day in training, the focus is to get on the field and help the team out. Unfortunately it wasn’t the result we wanted and the timing, it was difficult to come in and make an impact, but I’m glad I got those minutes in for sure.”
For Lade, Sunday’s loss represents an opportunity to learn and move forward, especially with such a long season still remaining.
“There’s a lot you have to take from that game, because you can’t dwell on things,” Lade said. “But you have to learn your lesson.”
The team returns to Red Bull Arena Saturday for another rivalry fixture against the New England Revolution (3:30pm ET/NBC Sports). After Sunday’s Atlantic Cup defeat, New York will look to bounce back on a positive note, as they aim to build on their undefeated record at home (2-0-1).
“Coming out, to be competitive, playing hard every game, especially me, being new in there and trying to earn a spot in the lineup," said Lade. "It’s the type of thing, just trying to bring to the field every day is just competitiveness and a desire to show that I want to be there.”