UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Listen to Bill Gaudette talk about joining the New York Red Bulls and it will not take long to detect the excitement in his voice. After all, the Red Bulls are a team he has trained with in the past and one that he considers his hometown club.
Now, he could be starting for them.
Traded from the LA Galaxy to the Red Bulls on Friday afternoon, Gaudette had his first training session with New York on Saturday morning and the 30-year-old participated fully despite having joined the team just hours prior.
If that was not enough of a quick turnover for Gaudette, him starting in between the pipes on Sunday against the Seattle Sounders (4 pm ET, ESPN, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com) might be. Red Bulls incumbent Ryan Meara is questionable for the match with a knock, leaving Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe to have to mull over starting youngster Jeremy Vuolo or Gaudette should Meara not be deemed fit enough.
“Ryan has a little bit problem with his hip,” Backe told reporters of his starting rookie netminder on Saturday morning. “We have to take it day by day. We have to check him later this afternoon. I think it is a kind of a strain in his hip, but I’m no expert so I shouldn’t say anything about it because I don’t really know. It’s a quite soft one.”
Backe also stated that acquiring Gaudette is not related to Meara’s injury. And has been in the works for a couple of weeks.
Regardless, the addition of the Puerto Rico international fills a season-long void for New York. Backe has talked all year about adding a third goalkeeper, one with experience, to help mentor Meara and Vuolo. And Gaudette is more than happy to do just that.
“I’ve seen Ryan a lot more than I’ve seen Jeremy just because Ryan has done an unbelievable job this year,” said Gaudette. “I think he’s one of the premier ‘keepers in the league. He’s a young guy, full of ability, so I’m excited to go out there and work with him and really help him just as much as I can.
“I’ve been through a lot of experiences in my career and it’s almost 10 years up and down different countries, different everything. As much as I can pass on to him and help him progress and help progress my game with Todd [Hoffard]. I’ve known Todd for many years, so I’m excited to get back working with Todd again. He’s a great goalkeeper coach and just to be here and be in this environment and to have this jersey on today is just an amazing feeling.”
A former St. John’s player, Gaudette did see some time with the Galaxy this season. He started three matches for them in late April/early May, including in Los Angeles’ 1-0 home defeat to the Red Bulls on May 5.
“I was actually in goal that game sadly enough and we lost,” said Gaudette before jokingly correcting himself. “They lost. Now I’m on the better side. Obviously, New York is known to having unbelievable players, great organization, very dynamic. Like I said, just excited to be a part of the team.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.