UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Red Bulls sporting director Erik Solér called this week's signing of former Hamburg goalkeeper Frank Rost "the big one,” as the former German international was unveiled by the club on Friday.
With more than 400 starts in the Bundesliga and four caps for Germany, Solér said Rost has consistently been one of the “top four or five goalkeepers in that league” over the past 15 seasons. The 38-year-old is a renowned shot-stopper, and New York head coach Hans Backe praised Rost as a good organizer from the back as well.
Rost’s signing brings the Red Bulls to the league max of three DPs, joining Thierry Henry and Rafa Márquez.
“It’s a DP deal for this year and the league has an option to continue it for next year,” Solér said, adding that it has yet to be decided whether the Designated Player label would apply for next season.
In order to accommodate the addition of Rost, the Red Bulls must make a roster move to stay under the senior roster limit. Goalkeepers Bouna Coundoul and Alex Horwath were at Friday’s training session while Greg Sutton, who began the season as the starter and was in the starting 11 the last two league matches, was absent from training.
The club did not make an announcement about any roster changes as of the end of practice and Solér would not indicate the details of any move.
“It was a lot of considerations, some financial, some sporting ones,” Solér said.
All the necessary paperwork is completed, including the player’s visa and international transfer clearance, and Solér said Rost “will be ready to play [Saturday]” when the Red Bulls travel to Chivas USA (10:30 pm ET, Galavisión).
Rost, who had offers for his services from around Europe, was excited about his new club after he participated in a brief training session on Friday afternoon.
“MLS is more and more important in the world,” Rost said. “You have famous players here.”
Bouna Time Responds: With the arrival of Rost, it is clear that Coundoul — statistically among the best goalkeepers in MLS last season — will take a secondary role with the team. The Senegalese international was diplomatic in discussing the situation.
“They don’t have to have any conversations with me about who to bring in,” Coundoul said. “I’m just one player.”
Coundoul was arguably the best player on the field on Tuesday in Chicago, repeatedly making big saves in the Open Cup loss.
“I don’t think I’m on top of my game because I have a lot of room to improve,” Coundoul said. “[But] it’s a good way to build confidence, to bring ‘Bouna Time’ back.”
Open Cup Fallout: After fielding a team of reserves on Tuesday night in Chicago, Solér addressed the fallout from the 4-0 loss in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup. Similar to Backe’s assessment of the travel drain on the team as of late, Solér said he’d like the tournament to be a priority this year, but it wasn’t feasible.
“We’d like to win the Open Cup, no doubt about it,” Soler said. “With all the traveling in July, it was a decision we had to make. We still think it was the right decision.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer