An MLS heavy 25 man roster includes one Red Bulls player – and it isn’t Dax McCarty.
Jurgen Klinsmann called in 21 MLS players, including the Red Bulls Connor Lade, for the January U.S. National team camp.
“I kind of had to pinch myself picking up that call, because (Klinsmann) is such a legend and he’s done great things for the national team and he’s taking them in the right direction,” Lade said. “It’s just very exciting and I’m really looking forward to getting in camp and hopefully showing well for myself and the club and just try to make an impact on them for the future.”
Lade isn’t the only one pinching himself. His call-up is easily the most surprising of all Klinsmann’s selections. The 23 year old Red Bull Academy product featured in 26 games last season, including 22 starts for the team. He was a spark plug for the team, known for his impressive work rate and speed off the wing side. His defensive abilities, though at times questionable, did earn him vital playing time on the team’s eventual playoff run.
The St. John’s alumni quickly ingratiated himself to the team this year, and became a club favorite for the difficult to impress Red Bull captain, Thierry Henry. Henry once compared the young man’s talents to that of French international Bixente Lizarazu.
One memorable exchange during the Red Bulls infamous midweek, 100 degree showdown against the Chicago Fire saw the Red Bulls captain screaming for the inclusion of Lade late in the game. “I was asking to bring Connor on, because I think Connor can help us,” Henry explained. “I understand that he comes from university and you have to also be patient with him because you don’t want to also burn him. But you saw it; when he comes on he changed the game, and that’s the kind of thing I was asking.”
Clearly, Klinsmann sees value in the young player as well.
This will be Connor Lade’s first call up of any sort – senior or youth level – to the National team. The U.S. will take on Canada in Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium January 29th.
Here is the full USMNT roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)
DEFENDERS (9): Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Connor Lade (New York Red Bulls), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes), Jeff Parke (Philadelphia Union)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (out of contract), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Edson Buddle (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)