PLENTY OF DEFENSIVE QUESTIONSHans Backe has repeated himself for months; come September, he wants a steady starting four on his backline. As of this moment, it looks like he is going to ride an unlikely quartet towards the playoffs; Wilman Conde at leftback, Holgersson and Pearce in the middle and Connor Lade on the right.
That being said, New York have plenty of deserving options that can fill in as well. Brandon Barklage earned his starting spot on the right prior to his injury. An inspired and dedicated Rafa Marquez would be a major boon at the heart of the defense. Roy Miller and Jan Gunnar Solli are one season off from being one of the premier defensive wing options in the league.
In the end, Backe’s “current form is most important” philosophy will be tested. Conde has been acceptable on the left, but will he be sustainable there? Pearce has been solid in the middle but Holgersson seems to have lost form since the tandem united. Lade has been a question mark on defense all year drawing some doubt from Backe himself.
The offense remains as healthy as ever. The porous nature of the backline is well documented. Will this quartet be the solution long term? Or will there be tinkering on the horizon?