Two years ago, Connor Lade was a regular for the Red Bulls, with his work under Hans Backe as a 22-year-old sparking hopes of a national team future. But after starting 24 games as a rookie, Lade has only made 10 MLS appearances under Mike Petke, splitting his time between New York’s senior team and reserves over the last two seasons.
Today, the Red Bulls made a move to get the homegrown product steady playing time, sending him on loan to the New York Cosmos. According to the team’s website, the midfielder/defender can be called back from the NASL at any time.
“This loan enables Connor to get some much needed playing minutes in competitive action while also keeping him fresh for the remainder of the 2014 season,” Red Bull Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh said, via NewYorkRedBulls.com. “We will monitor Connor’s progress as the year proceeds.”
That the Cosmos are on the receiving end of the move is what makes this news. Since returning to the field last year, the club as trumpeted its continental ambitions – the idea that they don’t see second division status as preventing them (or the NASL) from competing with Major League Soccer. Last year’s signing of former Spanish international Marcos Senna was seen as a signal of that intent, while this year’s U.S. Open Cup success earned Giovanni Savarese’s team some bragging rights by eliminating the Red Bulls.
Today, however, was a small reminder: Most of that is just marketing. The Cosmos still have a ways to go to reach their goals, not surprising considering they’ve only spent just over one season back on the field. Why some hoped the team would spend big and immediately compete for Open Cups, that’s not going to happen. Eight points back of San Antonio in the NASL’s Fall season, the Cosmos have their hands full at the second level.
It’s going to take time. In the interim, the team may need to do some non-Cosmos things, like take a Red Bulls backup on loan.