Connor Lade took a couple steps forward in getting back to the form he had shown in his rookie year, procuring the 4th highest amount of appearances among defenders. After beginning the season with NYRB II in the USL, Lade was called up to the big leagues to fortify the right flank as after fellow defender Chris Duvall's season ended early due to a broken leg. Up until the final month of the season, he was given regular starting minutes before Jesse Marsch appointed Sal Zizzo for the task. Most importantly, Lade wasn't the steadiest of defenders, but he has decided to go steady!
16 Games Started
1433 Minutes Played
Player Grade: C
Things done well:
Being a fullback for the New York Red Bulls requires being more fit than a defender participating in the traditional sense. Once Connor Lade attained match fitness he fulfilled this role very well. While one assist isn't the best for a pressing defender, it demonstrates the very much in demand quality of flexibility. His lone assist in 2015 came from intercepting an errant touch from Columbus Crew SC GK Steve Clark (Yes, the same Steve Clark who's impotent touch led to the quickest goal in MLS Cup history). With a few appointments to Major League Soccer's Team of the Week during the 2015 campaign, Lade certainly knows how to get his shine on.
Things done poorly:
Finding a proper defensive battery was always New York's most difficult task. Lade has found himself perfectly at home with NYRB II and New York Cosmos defenses but has always been a step slow in MLS when it came to dealing with an attack in his zone. He was criticized heavily for his performance against Orlando City in a 5 - 2 loss but Jesse Marsh stood steadfast.
"I think that's a little unfair to Connor. ... Connor has been really good since he stepped in. He's helped us for a big stretch of the season, we were on a run where we were winning an awful lot of games with Connor."
Is he the best? No. But should he be an instrumental part of the Red Bulls' defense? Duh, yeah!