Saturday’s 1-0 win over FC Dallas was Frank Rost’s first victory as a member of the New York Red Bulls. First official MLS victory, that is, considering the German national helped backstop the team to an Emirates Cup win in late July. His play-it-safe approach to a quad injury sustained in early August paid off big time for the Red Bulls this past weekend, who secured three points and displayed a clean sheet against a team known for its fast-paced offense.
While nothing looks better on a goalkeeper’s resume than a shutout, a few highlight saves don’t hurt either. Rost displayed a brilliant effort during the early stages of the FC Dallas match when it appeared as if the new-look back line was still adjusting to one another.
There was a great sprawling stop on Maicon Santos in the 11th minute, followed shortly after by another at the 14-minute mark that forced the Brazilian forward to rush a shot that sailed over the goal. At the 20th minute it was Dallas midfielder Ricardo Villar who tried to best the German ‘keeper, but Rost made a tough one-handed save look easy to keep the score even.
“He played great,” said head coach Hans Backe. “You saw the way he dealt with all of the crosses, the corners, free kicks. He is big there. He is really, really big and tough. I don’t think he missed one corner or one free kick against. His kicking was phenomenal compared to his injury.”
All in all, Dallas fired on Rost 19 times. Eleven of those sailed off target, five were blocked in front and three were kept out by the ‘keeper’s mitts.
“It wasn’t a good game, but we won,” Rost said. “And we are professionals. And I think we play for the points and not for the TV or for a ‘nice’ game. That’s good if you play well and win, but we are interested in the points.”
Since suffering a quad injury in early August, Rost faced the unfortunate circumstance of sitting idly and impatiently by while his leg continued to heal. It was all new territory for the German Bundesliga veteran, who admitted to never having a long-term injury crop up and limit his playing time.
Now, as the Red Bulls enter the final stretch of the regular season hungry for a postseason berth, Rost will look to build off his first MLS win Wednesday against Real Salt Lake. Ironically enough, the Aug. 6 loss to RSL was Rost’s last start before he was forced to leave at the half due to the aforementioned injury. This week's meeting provides ample opportunity for Rost to make up for his last outing against the Western Conference powerhouse that has won four of its last five.
“I think that was the strangest game here in America for me,” Rost said of the previous fixture. “We lost and I hope we can do it better on Wednesday when we play at home with the same heart and the same performance like on Saturday.”
The Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake kick off Saturday at 8 p.m. EST on MSG+. For tickets, visit the Red Bulls Ticket Center or call 877.RB.SOCCER.