HARRISON, N.J. — The New York Red Bulls found the cure to their recent struggles and his name is Connor Lade.
The veteran fullback scored a sensational goal in the 38th minute to lift the Red Bulls to a 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.
“Personally, it’s nice to get the goal. But I think that’s secondary on the night, obviously it’s a huge win for the team,” Lade said. “We needed that in the worst way.”
The goal, Lade’s first in nearly three years, helped snap New York’s five-match winless streak, while extending the expansion side’s run without a win to five games.
“He’s a real guy. He’s a real player,” Red Bulls coach Chris Armas said. “He’s a guy that the team and I can count on, and I think when we look around the field tonight, you saw a lot of that going on, and then of course he gets rewarded with a great goal with left foot. So thrilled for him. It’s a big goal for the club.”
Alex Muyl started the sequence with a lobbed ball toward the edge of the box, which was headed by Brian White to Danny Royer, who played a backheel into Lade’s path. The Red Bulls’ longest tenured player hammered a left-footed shot from 17 yards out under the crossbar. It was Lade’s first MLS goal since July 13, 2016 in a 2-0 win over Orlando City SC.
It was also the first time since a season-opening 1-1 draw against Columbus Crew SC that the Red Bulls (2-4-2) scored the game’s first goal and the club’s first clean sheet of the season.
“I think that was really important,” Royer said. “We haven’t had a clean sheet so far so that was really important that we kept the zero defensively. But I think that was definitely grinding out a result today.”
Royer had the Red Bulls’ first chance of the first half, getting on the end of an Amro Tarek chipped ball into the box, but he put his first-time volley wide of the net in the 24th minute.
FC Cincinnati (2-5-2) pressed for the equalizer and came inches close on three occasions. It was a positive push after an opening 45 minutes in which they didn’t ask many questions.
“At halftime, the guys were a little disappointed with how they came out and played in the first 45 minutes. I think we were a little too timid and probably gave the Red Bulls a little too much respect,” FC Cincinnati coach Alan Koch said. “The response in the second half was very, very good. They showed courage, they battled, they fought for each other.”
Apr 27, 2019; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls midfielder Omir Fernandez (21) reacts after colliding with FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton (22) in front of defender Mathieu Deplagne (17) and defender Nick Hagglund (14) and defender Kendall Waston (2) during the first half at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
FCC’s first quality chance came in the 65th minute when second-half substitute Darren Mattocks rounded Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles only to put his shot off the near post.
In the 71st minute, Roland Lamah ran onto an errant backward header by Michael Amir Murillo, but he, too, hammered his shot off the same post. Kendall Waston followed by heading the ball off the crossbar in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.
“Not only did they hit the post twice, but they hit the crossbar. It was just one of those nights,” Robles said. “I’m glad that we’re on the positive end of it. Because I feel like so far this season, we’ve been on the negative end and and tonight’s a great win for us to build off of.”
Armas made four changes to his starting XI from the side that lost 1-0 to the New England Revolution last Saturday with White replacing Bradley Wright-Phillips, who had a soft tissue groin strain according to Armas, Omir Fernandez playing as the No. 10, Alex Muyl returning from an ankle injury to play as a right wingback and Amro Tarek starting in a back three to combat FC Cincinnati’s two blocks of four.
“Just having a little more width on the night with our wing guys we thought could help unlock, and it opened up in the first half,” Armas said.