A VITAL WEAKNESS
Working off of our conversation on defense, another key factor to consider is agility and speed. Conde will undoubtedly scare off potential threats on the wing, but he has already shown to be a liability when pushing up field and having to run back into position. Connor Lade has that “make-up” speed, but lacks the size to ward off some of the taller, more powerful forwards in the league (see Macoumba Kandji).
The Portland Timbers exposed New York with speed. The wings collapsed and when they did, a stoic centerback pairing was divided and conquered. Dax McCarty, who has been able to add cover on the backline all year long, won’t always be there to do so as exhibited by his play since the addition of Tim Cahill.
To make matters worse, midfield wing options Joel Lindpere and any combination of Sebastian Le Toux, Jan Gunnar Solli, Lloyd Sam et al. are not your prototypical two way players. When the defense is exposed by speed, Le Toux may be the only one with the speed to cover – and that clearly isn’t his game.
This veteran laden lineup could be thrown into a fit by a younger, more pressing side. The Red Bulls have plenty of depth to work with – no question – but little to counter speed on defense or offense.