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Feb. 1, 2008

Palguta gives it his best shot


East Rutherford, N.J. -- Toms River, N.J. native Scott Palguta would love to see history repeat itself.

The last time the Red Bulls/MetroStars took a chance on a defender from the Rochester Rhinos with local ties, Carlos Mendes (Mineola, L.I.) not only made the MLS club, but he became a starter in 2005.

"Yeah, I would love to follow in his footsteps and do the same thing he did," Palguta said earlier this week.

Who knows? A graduate of Monsignor Donovan High School in Toms River, Palguta, a left fullback, could be in the right place at the right time.

Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio has made it known that one of his priorities is to bolster the left side of the team at midfield and defense.

Palguta, still under contract with the USL First Division team as he enters his option year, has participated in tryouts at the Giants Stadium bubble this week. He is hopeful of going west with the team as the Red Bulls will leave to train in Carson, Calif. Saturday through Feb. 18.

"I think I can offer a lot of depth," he said. "I have been playing professionally for three years now. I don't have any prior MLS experience besides some trials. I work hard every day. I am a good teammate and I work hard every day. I show up and give 100 percent."

Red Bulls/MetroStars fans might remember that name. Palguta scored his first professional goal in the Rhinos' 3-1 Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup win over the Metros Aug. 3, 2005.

There certainly has been interest in the 25-year Palguta. He has trained with several MSL teams, including the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew and was among the final cuts by Real Salt Lake prior to last season. The New Jersey Ironmen also selected Palguta in the second round of last year's Major Indoor Soccer League draft, but he opted to play in the great outdoors for now.

After Rochester's season ended last year, Red Bulls sporting director Jeff Agoos asked Palguta to come in for a reserve game.

The team flew to Los Angeles for a game last October, Palguta trained with the players left behind along with assistant coaches Richie Williams and John Harkes.

They obviously liked what they saw and invited Palguta to this week's tryout.

"It's been great," he said. "It's nice to get back into the swing of things. Having played in the USL, the off-season is pretty long. Usually I have close to a full five months off."

Palguta said he was "so excited to be back playing again, getting to know new faces. Obviously, it's a little difficult on everybody when you come into a mini-camp like this because none of the guys have played with each other before. So it's a little chaotic for the first day or so. But everybody is starting to settle in and show something."

Asked about his chances of making the team, Palguta replied, "I'm just coming here to work hard every day and show them that I am capable of playing at this level."

He would love to go west. "Yeah, I would love to continue going to see how far I can go," he said.

Palguta's goal vs. the Metros

This is a description of Palguta's goal against the Metros in the Open Cup

The Rhinos drew first blood in the 16th minute as former Metros defender Tenywa Bonseu, who was released from the team earlier this year, set up the goal. He headed the ball to Scott Palguta, standing just outside the goal box. Palguta placed a header on goal that goalkeeper Zach Wells could not punch out of harm's way. As the ball was falling into the goal, midfielder Michael Bradley tried to clear it. But the ball went into the net anyway.

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