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Rodgers scores winner, Rost steps up to help Red Bulls win and stay in playoff race

LukeRodgersDallas (Getty)

Missing Thierry Henry and facing a strong FC Dallas side on the road, the New York Red Bulls didn't look like a good bet to get the three points they needed to pump some sorely-needed life into their fading playoff hopes.

No, the Red Bulls didn't have their star goal-scorer, or three fourths of their starting defense, but the team that hadn't won since July found a way to win anyway, as a Luke Rodgers goal and standout performance from Frank Rost helped New York post a sorely-needed 1-0 victory over FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park.

The victory, New York's first since July 6th, helped propel the Red Bulls past D.C. United and Portland into the 10th and final MLS playoff spot.

The Red Bulls scored the decisive goal in the 36th minute when defender Stephen Keel sent a long pass to a streaking Juan Agudelo down the right flank. Agudelo laid off a perfect pass to an on-running Rodgers, who beat Dallas defender George John to the back post for his 7th goal of the season.

Rost made the goal stand up, making three vital saves for the shutout.

FC Dallas was also missing key players, namely star wingers Brek Shea and Marvin Chavez, but the home team was still expected to pick apart the struggling Red Bulls. New York came out inspired though, putting pressure on the Dallas defense early.

Dallas had more possession (almost a 60/40 edge), and out-shot the Red Bulls 19-6, but clearly missed the Shea and Chavez and the speed, service and goal-scoring ability they provide.

Rost was up to the task, turning in the type of strong effort expected of him when he was signed as the first Designated Player goalkeeper in MLS history. The German giant stopped a handful of dangerous Dallas efforts, and was dominant in the air.

The make-shift Red Bulls defense did well, with Chris Albright at right back, Keel partnering with Tim Ream in central defense and Carlos Mendes playing left back for the first time in five years. Ream enjoyed one of his best performances in recent months, breaking up countless Dallas sequences.

The night was a somber one for FC Dallas, which honored former player Bobby Rhine, who passed away recently. Pre-game and half-time ceremonies honored Rhine, and Red Bulls midfielder and former FC Dallas player Dax McCarty revealed a shirt honoring Rhine after the match.

The Red Bulls won't have much time to celebrate their sorely-needed victory. Not with a mid-week tilt against red-hot Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. FC Dallas will return to action on Wednesday in an important CONCACAF Champions League clash against UNAM Pumas.


  1. I’m no mind-reader, but in watching Marquez I can’t escape the nagging suspicion that he’s bored and/or just not trying. He’s still good enough to play for Mexico, so I don;t think it’s a matter of declining skills, but for RBNY he projects a sort of cool, aloof image that looks doubly bad when he has to scramble back into position and commit a foul. It also doesn’t help that he spends a lot of time yapping and the referee and opponents.

  2. I can’t believe I’m defending Marquez, but really you guys? You prefer Keel to Marquez? Then I have a wonderful bridge spanning the Passaic river I want to sell you . . .

  3. when you put it in that context yes he is a better player but he is not playing at his best right now and hasn’t been. whether that’s due to age, fatigue or something else who knows…red bull do need to fix the issues with defense and sadly the lack of bench options means nothing can be done until off season….rafa was out due to yellow card accumulation

  4. agu has only one goal less than Luke while coming off the bench. they are different types of players, stop confusing the kid by telling him to be someone else. let him be the best Agudelo he can be. luke is a poacher, Agu is a complete forward in his growing stages. 18 yrs old .

  5. marquez: out w card accumulation.

    but get your point re: he’s above miller and albright.

    but, i’d argue albright pushes himself much much harder. and there are other replacements for Miller.

  6. Maybe you’re right. I didn’t see the Vancouver game. Why was he out yesterday? Maybe an injury that he played through in Vancouver? I’m not particularly a Rafa fan; but compared with Albright or Miller — well, it’s not worth wasting breath. My fantasy is that Backe has a late run in mind, and he’s been holding the Most Expensive Side in MLS back to save for the homestretch. A fantasy, sure, but it’s worth entertaining.

  7. did you see the game rafa had vs vancouver last week. he was awful. and he has been awful for quite sometime. he was starting to decline before gold cup and has been horrendous after. i wouldn’t mind rafa going to ht bench. his contributions haven’t outweighed his bad play….

  8. well, my problem w Marquez is he actually has become a liability defensively. his play, at half speed, is a problem (among options, see his slow positioning on Vancouver’s goal… that was his mark).

    he has little bite left. when he does stick in it’s typically a card (or should be)… as, at half speed, he’s late to the play.

    team needs more. and, at his salary, could easily be dropped to add much needed depth.

    as for mccarty, no he has not been much of a league beater. but, given the $ UNDER the salary cap, i’d take three more of him and drop marquez for depth and cover at other positions.

    marquez was a world class defender. past results are meaningless however.

  9. Well, come one. You have one of the premier central defenders to play in the last decade, you play him. Márquez is certainly not a liability. But I do question whether he makes anybody better. And +1 on Miller. And…has Dax ever made a positive impact in a game? Any assists? At all?

  10. Rafa for benchwarmer!

    And a huge knock continues against Backe. Other managers bring along young players to provide depth. He stubbornly refuses. Another game goes by with a small bench. look at LA, Seattle, etc for guidance.

    I like Backe, but this is a problem that could justify his sacking if NY doesn’t make the playoffs. And Soler’s clearing of young depth this season doesn’t help (Tchani, da Luz, and even Borman).

  11. Praising Luke as the catalyst isn’t a slight on Agudelo. If you’re going to declare that to be false, you might want to look at win percentage when Luke is playing.

  12. How about keeping the same back four? They may not offer much going forward, but they know how to play team defense. Rafa is slow/careless, Soli is not a defender and Miller disappears during free kicks.

  13. Interesting idea that Phil floated above about the team playing better without Rafa. Maybe it’s because the defense feels the panic of a depleted back line and steps it up? But I sometimes think both Rafa and Henry are exposed as slow when they don’t have the superstars of Arsenal (ca. 2003) or Barça (ca. 2008) to play to. Márquez, particularly, often paints himself into a corner that he can’t get out of. I think it goes to show that a DP needs talented players to make the most of their abilities. It’s why Clint Mathis seemed so weak in his last years with RBNY: Nobody on the side could make use of his superior vision. It certainly doesn’t HURT to have Rafa and Thierry on the team; I think it takes real discipline and organization to have weaker players work in a system that makes the most of the talented DP players. That’s why I think workhorse players like Tanio and Rodgers elevate RBNY, whereas second-tier “touch” players like Ballouchy and (don’t kill me) DeRosario can’t fit in. Maybe. Just an idea.

  14. I took it as there were a few comments praising Rodgers as the sparkplug or catalyst of the team, not an attack on the article.

    I didn’t care much for Rodgers early in the year because I wanted to see Juan, but he’s had a hell of a year in the league.

    (SBI-I didn’t really take the comment as an attack on the article, but when he mentioned Jozy I just wasn’t sure where he was coming from. Guess I should have read the comments. As for Rodgers, people are finally realizing that he has earned being a starter.)

  15. I love you guys giving credit to Rodgers over Agudelo or Jozy. Ignoring the great service Agudelo gave Rodgers. I think out of 7 goals from Rodgers 5 of them have been from great service from Henry and co. When does Agudelo or Jozy get that type of service on the US natl team???? The question is barely.

    (SBI-Huh? We mention Agudelo’s set-up in the story. Not really understanding this comment at all.)

  16. FC Dallas needs a forward who can score. It might be better to put Chavez or Castillo up front instead of Santos. And what happened to Luna?

  17. Luke Rodgers makes the runs that open games – as talented as Agudelo (and Jozy, for that matter) are, they could further their careers by watching Rodgers. Also, does anyone else think NYRB play better defense without Rafa? I don’t know if this is true, but is there a “whose the bigdog” issue between Ream and Rafa?


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