After hinting all season they had no intentions of signing a third Designated Player, the New York Red Bulls did just that on Wednesday morning with the announcement that German goalkeeper Frank Rost will join the club.
Rost comes to MLS with 20 years of experience in the Bundesliga and is being counted on to settle down what has been an unstable goalkeeper situation in the last two months.
The 38-year old Rost has been capped four times by the German national team and has made more than 400 appearances in league action during his career.
“Frank is a very experienced goalkeeper who will provide a strong presence in between the posts for our club during our quest for a MLS title,” Red Bulls General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Solér said in a statement. “We are thrilled that he has decided to join us in the middle of our campaign and look forward to his contributions for the remainder of the season.”
The East Germany-born Rost has more than 20 years of Bundesliga experience with Schalke, Werder Bremen and, most recently, Hamburger SV for the past four seasons. He has also appeared extensively in UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup/Europa League tournament play, a body of work that will most certainly benefit the Red Bulls.
For more than a month, the club had made it clear that they were looking to stabilize the defense, and the recent goalkeeping woes have been part and parcel of the problem. In the team’s recent four-game road trip, the Red Bulls conceded 10 goals, a troubling sign for a defense ranked near the top of the league last year.
Head coach Hans Backe has flip-flopped between Greg Sutton, named the starter as the beginning of this season, and Bouna Coundoul. A Senegalese international, Coundoul was the starter last season for New York, having one of the best statistical seasons between the pipes in franchise history.
Backe told MLSsoccer.com earlier this month that things were “very, very even” between Coundoul and Sutton and Rost should join the team as the favorite to start, especially given his Designated Player status.
Solér, meanwhile, hinted at the team shoring up the defense last month when addressing the media.
“We are going to do more moves in the summer, there’s no doubt about it,” he said in late June. “So whenever we can get money [taken off] the cap is good for us, and we’ll move more things around to do what we believe is in the benefit of the team for this season and also for the future. One of them will be in the defensive part of the business, and maybe one more position outside of that. So we’re looking for two new positions at this moment.’’
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer