Posted on September 27, 2012
By Michael Lewis
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Puerto Rican international goalkeeper Bill Gaudette did not practice with his Red Bulls teammates on Thursday morning, staying back at the clubhouse to receive a treatment on a lower back injury he incurred in training on Wednesday.
Whether that will keep him out of the Red Bulls’ 7 p.m. ET Saturday encounter with Toronto FC, it remains to be seen. If he can’t go, Luis Robles will be the first-choice keeper.
“He has a little bit with his lower back,” Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said of the former St. John’s standout. “I don’t think it’s anything. I think he will train tomorrow, too.”
Asked if he thought whether the injury would affect Gaudette’s availability for Saturday, Backe replied, “Not if he’s fresh tomorrow.”
Backe did not elaborate on how Gaudette suffered the injury.
If Gaudette is unavailable, Robles will be thrown in the fire, making his Red Bulls debut in their 31st game of the season, during the Major League Soccer playoff race.
“Of course, he hasn’t been playing competitive games,” Backe said. “I don’t know if it has been for more than half a year or something like that. He has done two reserve games and he has done very well in those two reserve games, doing phenomenal in training sessions. As always, when you don’t have competitive games, you never really know where you stand and how he will react. But he looks very, very solid so far.”
Gaudette, who in July took over for the injured Ryan Meara, who is out for the season with hip surgery, has struggled of late, particularly when he has had to come out of the net.
If Robles gets the nod, at least one teammate will be comfortable with him — central defender Heath Pearce, who has played with the keeper when the team played on the U.S. National Team during the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“He looks strong. He is a confident goalkeeper with good experience,” Heath said. “I played with him in college. I played against him in Europe. I’ve known him for a long time. Played with him on the National Team as well before. So he’s a good goalkeeper. Good reaction keeper, good hands. Hopefully, will get some experience under his belt. Obviously, he hasn’t played a game in a while. We’re confident with him standing behind us. If he’s the selection for the weekend, we’re confident he’ll do a good job for us.”
Brandon Barklage, who will start for suspended right back Connor Lade, had similar sentiments.
“He’s been extremely good in practice,” he said. “We all have faith in him. He’s a confident goalkeeper. He’s good with both feet and his hands. We feel good with him in goal.”
Bill Gaudette could miss the Red Bulls’ Saturday match against Toronto with a back injury. Keith Furman/First Row Photos
Categories: Caribbean, Puerto Rico