New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe is a happy man these days.
Not only has he guided his team to a six-game unbeaten run in MLS play, but he also helped lead the Red Bulls into the fourth round of the US Open Cup in a wild week of action that saw several MLS teams eliminated by lower-division clubs.
“We did the job,” Backe told reporters after the Red Bulls’ 3-0 win over USL Pro outfit Charleston Battery on Tuesday. “I think we played decent. They had a couple of chances, but overall it’s not easy to play these teams. They come out almost flying, but we controlled it and I’m pleased with the performance.”
Adding to Backe’s contentment was the performance of Wilman Conde. The Colombian defender made his return to action in the match after missing nearly two full months with a groin injury. Conde started and went the distance in the shutout win.
“Different class, phenomenal,” said Backe. “It’s a massive center back. Just fingers crossed now that he stays fit.”
Backe was also encouraged by the play of some of his younger and less experienced players. Rookie Connor Lade scored his first goal for the club, Ryan Maduro made his professional debut and Jonathan Borrajo received minutes for the first time this season in the win against Charleston.
“It will help us for the future,” said Backe, “when we go into September, October, November.”