HARRISON, N.J. – Bill Gaudette opened some eyes following his standout performance in Puerto Rico’s 2-1 loss to Spain last week, but those kinds of showings are becoming the norm for a goalkeeper who, barely more than a month ago, was an afterthought in MLS.
In the Red Bulls’ 3-2 comeback win over the Portland Timbers on Sunday, Gaudette continued to demonstrate the stellar form that has been the norm since joining New York Bulls from the LA Galaxy in July. The 30-year-old netminder put forth yet another strong outing in the absence of injured rookie Ryan Meara, making three quality saves in the second half to prevent RBNY from falling behind again after fighting back from 2-0 down, opening the door for Heath Pearce to nod home a winner in the final minutes of the match.
“Billy, these games he’s been playing, I think he hasn’t done one mistake so far,” Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe said after the game. “He came up big today with three, four very, very important saves when they had free runners. He’s been great.”
Backe was not the only one to applaud Gaudette’s latest efforts, which have been bordering on heroic since he arrived in New York. Jan Gunnar Solli said after the match that he went over to Gaudette to “give him his best” for what he deemed world-class saves, including a stop after Solli misplayed a ball to give Portland a clear chance.
“The ball got caught underneath my foot and I felt I had the ball, so I was really pissed at myself,” said Solli. “But, again, Bill was there to save me on that occasion.”
Gaudette has recorded three clean sheets in his first seven starts with the Red Bulls and it appears he will hold onto the starting spot when Meara returns from a hip injury (a decision on the rookie’s status is expected to be made this week). And while Gaudette’s game-changing saves are becoming the norm, he insists he is just doing his part to help the Reds Bulls’ cause.
“This is my job, these are my boys, these are the guys I got to grind with every day, these are the guys I go out to dinner with every night,” he said. “... These are my boys, these are the guys I battle for and it was nice to be back with them.”