HARRISON, N.J. – The past 48 hours have been a bit hectic for New York Red Bulls newcomers Sébastien Le Toux and Bill Gaudette, but that did not stop the duo from putting forth solid debuts for their new club.
Le Toux and Gaudette earned their first starts for the Red Bulls on Sunday, two days after being traded from the Vancouver Whitecaps and LA Galaxy, respectively. And each played a significant role in New York managing to come away with a 2-2 draw against the Seattle Sounders.
The Frenchman scored the equalizer for the Red Bulls after they had gone down 1-0 on strike from Álvaro Fernández. Gaudette made a handful of saves, including two spectacular blocks in the first half, to prevent the Red Bulls from falling behind Sigi Schmid’s men.
“Sébastien had a great game,” Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry told reporters after the match. “Scoring a goal in his first game for us was great. Bill also played well.”
Highlights: NY 2, SEA 2
Gaudette got the nod from head coach Hans Backe in place of rookie Ryan Meara, who was given a rest after suffering a hip injury, and it did not take long for him to have to come up with a big stop.
The 30-year-old goalkeeper stoned Seattle's Brad Evans 11 minutes into the match after Eddie Johnson had played him in on goal. Minutes later, Gaudette came up big again when he made a fine one-handed stop on a curling effort from Johnson.
Still, Gaudette was beaten on a goal from Fernández in the 16th minute that may have come due to his lack of chemistry with the Red Bulls’ backline.
“It’s tough when you come into a new environment, there’s no way around it,” Gaudette said. “It wasn’t the easiest situation to come in and kind of just jump in there. The guys really don’t know me, don’t know my style, don’t know much about anything [about me]. It was a little interesting.”
While Gaudette was busy trying to prevent the Sounders from finding the back of the net, Le Toux was doing everything possible to score on the visitors. Paired up top with Cooper, Le Toux sought out combinations with his forward partner and with Henry, who was deployed as an attacking midfielder at the start of the match.
The attacking trio showed moments of quality one-touch soccer at times, but their lack of chemistry was also evident and Backe was even forced to switch Henry and Le Toux’s roles as the match wore on.
That, however, did not stop Le Toux from tallying his first goal as a Red Bulls player. Cooper hit a powerful shot from outside the penalty area that Sounders goalkeeper Bryan Meredith could only parry away, and Le Toux pounced on the rebound and tapped it home in the 24th minute for the momentary equalizer.
“I’m very happy to score my first goal in my new uniform and just disappointed we didn’t win tonight,” Le Toux said. “We have to continue and get the win Wednesday against [the Chicago Fire].”
Given how Le Toux and Gaudette fared in their debuts, it is likely they will both start in that match. And that is sure to only add to their first whirlwind week in Red Bulls colors.