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.