So long, Connor
October 24, 2019
Metro's first academy graduate, all the way back in 2009, was Giorgi Chirgadze. He didn't exactly work out. The second, a year later, was Juan Agudelo. Let's just say the high expectations were not met, here or elsewhere. The next two were Matt Kassel and Sacir Hot... Ahem. Which brings us to December 5, 2011, when Connor Lade graduated to the first team. Eight years later, he departs.
Eight years! You can count on one hand Metro players whose tenure was as long: John Wolyniec, nine (but in three different stints, and some of those years halved), Luis Robles, and Lade. That's it! (If you add Mike Petke's time on the coach's bench, you will get to 11, but we are talking strictly about players here. Still, Petke or not, this is some exclusive company.)
Lade might have not set the world on fire, but his versatility provide incredibly useful over the years. Be it at wide midfield or an outside back, wherever Metro needed him, he was there. But it was one game at center back, his position in college, where the apex of Lade's Metro career fell. When Metro, short on defenders, faced New England in the 2017 Open Cup quarterfinals, Lade stepped in the middle of defense, and played a magnificent match, shutting down the Revs and star striker Kei Kemara.
Here's another list: Bradley Wright-Phillips, Robles, Lade. The only players who won all three Supporters Shields. Not too shabby. So thank you for the years, Connor! You gave hope to all of us vertically challenged!