If it wasn't tweeted about, no one would have known it was Steven Birnbaum’s first MLS game on Saturday. The First Round Draft Pick played with the composure comparable to that of his center back partner and 11-year veteran Bobby Boswell and the tenacity of a Ben Olsen-approved defender.
“I was nervous, I’m not going to lie,” Birnbaum said. “In the beginning, the first 5-10 minutes, I felt like I was just kind of running around doing nothing. Bobby was great. He was talking to me the whole game and kept me in tune and calm. I was happy to just complete my first pass really. From there, I think I was fine.”
Compliments for the modesty, Birnbaum. To step into that environment, against an Eastern Conference opponent the Black-and-Red have yet to defeat, and help record a shutout is a huge statement for the rookie.
“I felt Birnbaum was fantastic,” short and sweet from Head Olsen post-match on the defender’s play.
“There were no nerves,” Assistant Coach Chad Ashton added. “He was very complete and did everything very well. I’m very happy with his performance.”
Result aside, Birnbaum was just glad for the opportunity to play and the chance to keep a clean sheet.
“It was just a great experience all together,” the California native said. “I was just so happy that I was able to play. The defensive goal was to keep that zero, and the whole team did. We’re happy about that. I’m just ecstatic that I got to play.”
“This is a good time for me to prove myself,” he explained. “Hopefully there’s no drop off when I come in and I can help get wins. That’s all I’m trying to do. I’m happy I have a couple of games I can prove myself in. “