Connor Lade Nearing Match Fitness After Knee Injury

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

New York Red Bulls fullback Connor Lade is approaching game readiness according to the New York Red Bulls website. Lade suffered a major knee injury in August of 2016, keeping him out of action for the remainder of the year.

“Connor is coming along,” said Red Bulls strength and conditioning coach Tony Jouaux. “We’re doing a lot of strength work and working on his landing mechanics to make sure that he’s going to be fully fit when he comes back.”

Lade has featured prominently for New York since head coach Jesse Marsch took over in 2015. Last season seemed to be the time where he was solidifying his position — before an ACL tear took him out of action for a prolonged period. Before that he had made 18 appearances with 15 being starts.

“You’re getting closer and closer and you can almost taste it,” said Lade when discussing his progress. “It’s tough. I’m going to have to be careful because I don’t want to risk any further injury by rushing into it. I want to help my team any way I can and that starts by being smart, staying healthy and listening to my body.”

Lade has been involved in all warm-up and technical drills in preseason according to assistant strength and conditioning coach Ryan Cotter. The coaching staff seems focused on the 27-year old regaining his speed as well as fitness without putting undue stress on the previously injured leg.

“From a pure fitness standpoint, he’s awesome,” said Cotter. “He’s a phenomenal athlete and a very hard worker.