Another Red Bulls game and another tie in the books, as New York trudged to a scoreless draw against Chivas USA on Saturday and slipped to second place in the Eastern Conference. The Monday Gaffer looks at the draw and New York’s recent personnel moves.
1. Getting Rost – The Friday unveiling of goalkeeper Frank Rost, the German international with more than 400 games of Bundesliga experience, helps solidify the New York goalkeeping situation. Rost is a veteran ‘keeper and head coach Hans Backe said he will be called on to organize the back line.
"He’s a guy who will not allow the back four players to not do their job," Backe said on Saturday night. "He’s very tactically good to organize his back four with his way of talking with all the players, and that’s massive for us.”
In his first game, Rost was active in keeping the back four compact and tight, just the way Backe likes it. After struggling organizationally on set pieces the past two months, Rost should help clamp down on that situation. The addition of Dax McCarty to the midfield three weeks ago means New York’s defense has the capability to be as tough to break down as last year’s unit.
2. Offensive Struggles - The defense has been solid since McCarty’s arrival, allowing just three goals over the past four games, but now New York are having trouble scoring goals. They’ve been shut out in each of the past two games with the absence of the injured Luke Rodgers, and Backe started teenager Juan Agudelo against Chivas USA. His partnership with Thierry Henry, however, looked disjointed.
“Normally you have to live with it,” Backe said on Monday afternoon. “It’s a learning process definitely for Agudelo to learn how Henry wants to play.”
Last year, right winger Dane Richards was often the fill-in forward when injuries or national team call-ups hit the Red Bulls, but don’t expect that this season.
“Definitely not, not at the moment,” Backe said of Richards starting up top. “[Only] If you’re under pressure or need a pacey guy to stretch the back four, something like that.”
3.Tending to Tainio - In the 84th minute against Chivas USA, Red Bulls holding midfielder Teemu Tainio motioned to the sideline that he needed to be subbed out from the match, the only call to the bench the Red Bulls made that night. Backe anticipates having the Finnish international available against the Rapids on Wednesday.
“He had his soft, soft problem with his thigh,” Backe said. “He will be in training [Tuesday], so that was the reason.”
Tainio looked frustrated at the slow movement of the substitution pattern on Saturday night and his health for Wednesday will be vital in keeping the midfield tight against a dangerous Rapids attack.
4. Roster Shakeup – In order to sign Rost, the Red Bulls loaned out Greg Sutton to the Montreal Impact of the NASL and traded Austin da Luz to D.C. United for an international slot. The loan deal with Sutton makes sense, but losing a young and promising left winger like da Luz hurts an already thin bench.
The move, however, is not a precursor for a big-name signing, including the much-rumored Nicholas Anelka to New York headlines.
“Rumors, just rumors,” Backe said.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer