Backup 'keeper Gaudette steps up to plate for Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. – For backup goalkeepers, it’s always a waiting game. And when the moment comes, the best have to have the mentality to grab it.
That’s exactly what LA’s Bill Gaudette did last Saturday against FC Dallas when he stepped in for No. 1 ‘keeper Josh Saunders, who was unable to play due to personal matters.
Gaudette left a strong impression on teammates, one they hope will be repeated against Seattle on Wednesday night (10 pm ET; watch LIVE online).
“He was a monster,” Galaxy defender Sean Franklin said. “He was big for us this week. I’m glad he stepped in and took the challenge fine and I’m looking forward to him playing well on Wednesday also.”
Given the timing of his potential second start, Gaudette has not had much time to reflect on his first MLS start and is instead keeping his attention on the short term.
“We move on,” Gaudette said of his performance in LA’s 1-1 tie. “We have a quick week this week. That’s in the past now. The next thing is Wednesday. ... You’ve got to move on real fast.”
Prior to Saturday, Gaudette had not played an MLS match since he suited up for Columbus on Sept. 30, 2006. Now that he will face his second MLS club in a span of five days, his challenges seem myriad. Not only must he continue to acclimate himself to his teammates in a match setting, he will face the Sounders’ large and potentially intimidating crowd.
Still, his time in between Columbus and the Galaxy will have prepared him for whatever he might face on Wednesday, or anywhere for that matter.
“[The Sounders] always have a very good home crowd and dealing with the conditions of the turf and all of that," Galaxy manager Bruce Arena said of the veteran, "but again, as I said, he’s experienced. Not only has he played in this league but he played in the USL which you play in every kind of venue and condition possible.”
As for the issues of familiarity and cohesion with his potential backline, that, too, is improving.
“Even though it’s a new kind of back four and a new goalie in there, that’s what practice is for, to make sure the guys are talking and as the game goes on it’s easier to get into a rhythm,” Franklin said. “It’s easier to get more comfortable and I thought we did a good job on that Saturday.
"Bill was very vocal and the whole team was very vocal, and that’s huge when you have someone new step into the backline.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org