Props to the Doody crew for the excellent chant by the way.
Bryan Gaul: he’s been a bit of an enigma since he signed for the club. Some have nicknamed him “Hollywood”, and that he hasn’t lived up to the hype as being a marquee signing since his move from the Los Angeles Galaxy. I don’t know if he’s fulfilled his potential here or not in this first season, because quite frankly we don’t know that much about Bryan Gaul. I think a lot of that has to do with the St Louligans as well. It is easier to approach a new player if say, like Jacob Bushue, he’s just moved here from Indiana University, or Sam Fink, who is a local lad and arrived from Wake Forest. That’s not quite so intimidating as the Galaxy.
Bryan Gaul came here from the land of Keane, Beckham and Donovan. That’s so beyond our realm of what we’re used to, he may as well be from Real Madrid. I am a 40 year old guy. I wouldn’t really know how to approach a Real Madrid player. Thus, maybe we’ve not given Bryan a fair crack of the whip. I was still pretty nervous in approaching Bryan in asking to talk to him, especially after the frustration of last weekend.
Whilst I may insinuate Bryan of being a little stand-offish, he has showed some emotion on social media too when things have gone well. This was after the winner to go through to face Minnesota:
I really tried to get him to open up with the hard hitting question right off the bat………….. Why do you support Arsenal?
He smirked a little and started to chat. Who doesn’t like standing around talking about their favorite team? (He’s supported them since he got their kit when he was 6 from a youth coach.)
Then I made reference to coming here from the Galaxy, is it a burden? “I think it holds me to a higher standard,” explained Bryan “I think it’s natural to expect more from players who’ve come here from the MLS. Especially as of now when it’s not going to so well on the pitch.”
Another thing we’ve mentioned on the podcast recently is if some of these players on our team expected to come down from the MLS and dominate the league. Another question should be, did we as fans expect these guys to come into the league and dominate?
“I think the fans expect a lot, and I expect a lot of myself. To be honest I get down on myself when things don’t go so well. I hold myself to a high standard and the fans should expect that too.”
What did he know of the league before he moved here? It has surprised him: “In the off season I go up to Chicago and keep in shape with a lot of MLS and USL guys. I thought the USL guys I was training with were good and the cream of the league……. That’s not the case. That is just how good this league is.”
Having been brought in as a forward, but drafted into MLS as a left back, yet now playing center midfield, I asked Bryan where his preferred position was. “Holding midfield – That’s more of my position” was the answer. This kind of took me aback as it’s the only position he probably hasn’t played for us recently. “I’ve played center midfield my whole life, but was forward my last year in college then after being drafted was a defender for two and a half years.”
Four goals and 2 assists in the league thus far isn’t a bad return for a midfielder, but Bryan embellished on the struggles. “We’re having trouble finishing. It’s no secret. Our play even last Saturday was pretty good. The lead up to our goal was some great football. Since Montreal that game was a nightmare, but since then I think we’ve played some good stuff but our finishing just needs to be a lot sharper. Instead of trying to play back and square we need to have better transitions”
Finally, to round off I simply asked if he is happy, if he’s still enjoying it. Again with a smile he said “yes of course. You guys help us to enjoy it.”