It wasn’t much of a debut for the league’s newest Designated Player, but it got the job done.
German veteran Frank Rost didn’t have to make a single save for the Red Bulls, but that didn’t matter as his new club took home a point from a scoreless draw at Chivas USA. The 0-0 result was New York’s third tie in their last five league games, and their first road shutout since a 4-0 win over D.C. United back on April 21.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
Rost took over starter’s duties from Canadian Greg Sutton, who was loaned to the Montreal Impact of the NASL earlier in the day.
"I think from game to game, I will get better and the important matches will come during the playoffs,” Rost said of his first experience in MLS.
The closest Chivas came to denting the 38-year-old’s net was in the 38th minute when a Thierry Henry turnover led to a break-out by the Rojiblancos. Justin Braun fed winger Jorge Flores, and the youngster’s powerful left-footed shot beat Rost over the 'keeper’s left shoulder. The shot, however, pinged off the crossbar and bounced into touch, ending the threat.
It was emblematic of an uneven effort from both teams, with Chivas looking to keep numbers behind the ball and New York seeming uncertain when moving forward. The old problems of a lack of creativity in the middle and no cutting edge in the final third reared their heads throughout for RBNY.
But that’s someone else’s problem. For Rost, the issue was organizing a defense that’s been sieve-like since the end of April.
"It’s a good start for Frank and the back four to have a clean sheet and to have not conceded. We've been giving up very easy goals for the last five, six, seven weeks so it's a good start for the back four,” head coach Hans Backe said.
Defender Tim Ream agreed.
“It’s pretty easy. He’s a veteran goalkeeper, he talks a lot, and he communicates well, so it was pretty easy for us," Ream said of the transition. "We just did the same thing that we’ve been doing. Communication is the key, and he communicated well, and that helps us out a lot.”
Backe said that ability to keep the defense organized was exactly what he wanted to see.
"This is a guy with tons of experience and the way he can organize a back four I wouldn't say that he's a little bit crazy — because all goalkeepers are crazy — but he's definitely a guy who will not allow back four players to not do their job," Backe said.
For a team that’s been struggling to grind out results, that’ll have to be enough for now. And it’s something to build upon when they travel to Colorado to face the Rapids this coming Wednesday.
"Next week is another game and we've got another match. It's important to save the power and get power for our next match in Denver,” Rost explained.
The Red Bulls move to 6-4-11 with 29 points from 21 games, good for tops in the Eastern Conference. Rost’s shutout was the team’s seventh of the season.