July 2011: Rost goes straight into the fray

Some three decades ago the New York Cosmos added a relative unknown German goalkeeper to solidify their defense. It worked as Hubert Birkenmeier became a staple on the team and someone backstopped the team to a pair of North American Soccer League championships. Now, some 32 years later, the New York Red Bulls hope that history repeats itself as they continue to find the right pieces for their never-ending quest for an MLS title.

Last week the Red Bulls signed veteran German goalkeeper Frank Rost, quite well known in his home country, but a relative unknown in the U.S. soccer community. Rost, 38, signed as the team's designated player for the rest of the season, with an option at the club's discretion for next season.

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Just one day after his arrival in the USA Frank Rost wore the New York Red Bulls’ shirt for the first time. The former Hamburg goalkeeper impressed during the 0-0 at Chivas USA. (Photo: Getty Images)

He joins former French international striker and team captain Thierry Henry and Mexico captain and central defender Rafa Marquez as designated players.

An 18-year veteran of the Bundesliga, Rost has forged a reputation as a dependable keeper in Germany. He most recently played with Hamburger SV since 2007 after stints with Werder Bremen and Schalke 04.

Without having a single practice with his new teammates and backline, Rost acquitted himself well in the Red Bulls' scoreless draw at Chivas USA on Saturday night. He wasn't severely tested, but he looked solid. The Red Bulls have lacked consistent goalkeeping as Senegal international Bouna Coundoul and former Canadian international Greg Sutton shared responsibilities and made more than their share of mistakes. Sutton was loaned to the Montreal Impact, of the minor league North American Soccer League, for the rest of the season.

"I haven't trained with [a] team for two months," Rost said. "Game to game, it will be better. The important games will come in the playoffs."

Rost admitted he was one tired goalkeeper as he endured quite a week. He traveled six time zones, going from Germany to New Jersey, joining his new team on Thursday. The next day he went three time zones across the United States to southern California.

"It was a difficult week for the whole [team]," he said. "At the moment, I am a little bit tired. I have a little bit jet lag." The Red Bulls were quite impressed with Rost's debut.

“It’s pretty easy," central defender Tim Ream said of Rost's transition. "He’s a veteran goalkeeper. He talks a lot, and he communicates well. So it was pretty easy for us. 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.”

Coach Hans Backe felt the Red Bulls got a good one in Rost. “He’s a guy with tons of experience," he said, noting that he was impressed with "the way he can organize the back four. I wouldn’t say he’s a crazy goalie -- all goalies are crazy -- but he’s a guy who will not allow the back four players to not do their job. 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.”

Sounders wins Western Conference shootout as Union move clear in the East

The best match of the weekend was the Seattle Sounders FC's 4-3 home victory over the defending champion Colorado Rapids. Colombian striker Fredy Montero broke a 2-2 tie in the 82nd minute and set up Mauro Rosales' goal two minutes later. Alvaro Fernandez and Roger Levesque also scored for Seattle, while Wells Thompson, Jeff Larentowicz and Caleb Folan found the back of the net for Colorado.

Guatemalan international Carlos Ruiz had a unique hat-trick in the Philadelphia Union's 3-0 win at the New England Revolution. He scored the first goal, was part of a play that got U.S. international midfielder Benny Feilhaber his second yellow card of the match and was booed off the field by the enemy fans when he was substituted.

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Carlos Ruiz (right), here shown tackling Kevin Alston, scored all three goals for Philadelphia Union’s 3-0 win over New England Revolution. (Photo: Getty Images)


Jack Jewsbury converted a penalty kick in the fifth minute to boost the Portland Timbers to a 1-0 win over the host Chicago Fire.

The summer of so many draws continued in MLS as four of the nine weekend matches ended in a deadlock, including three more scoreless ties. Those nil-nil results (home team listed first) included Columbus and San Jose, FC Dallas and D.C. United and Chivas and Red Bulls.

More MLS All-Star selections confirmed

Major League Soccer announced its 22-man roster for its all-star team in the MLS all-star game against Manchester United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey on July 27. Backe made additional selection to the First XI from fan voting that was announced last week.

MLS commissioner Don Garber also made his two traditional picks as he selected 18-year-old Juan Agudelo, even though the Red Bulls striker has had problems breaking into his own team's starting 11. Garber also chose Omar Bravo, though the Mexican international forward has had a mediocre season with Sporting Kansas City.

Players from the Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas and Toronto FC could not participate because their teams are playing in the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round next week.

The all-star team roster:

Goalkeeper: Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Faryd Mondragón (Philadelphia Union)

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Defenders: Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Bobby Convey (San Jose Earthquakes), Sean Franklin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls).

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Jack Jewsbury (Portland Timbers), Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution), Nick LaBrocca (Chivas USA)Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Omar Bravo (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

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Faryd Mondragon (right/formerly 1. FC Cologne) has been nominated to the MLS All-Star team. Philadelphia Union’s goalkeeper saves from New England’s Kenny Mansally (centre). (Photo: Getty Images)

Inactive all-stars: Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Rafa Marquez (New York Red Bulls), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)

Another six inactive all-stars will be chosen via player voting.