RBNY Finds a Keeper in Robles

Why the American keeper got a second chance after playing in Germany
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Monday, November 18, 2013

John Hefti Photography - Luis Robles, RBNY, NYRB

Back in the 2012 offseason, it was unknown who was going to be the starting keeper for Red Bull New York, as both Bouna Coundoul and Greg Sutton were going to be forced out of the club with Frank Rost returning to Germany.

Yes, the club did draft Yonkers, N.Y., native and Fordham keeper Ryan Meara for the future, but they still were looking for a veteran to be the starting keeper of the present and help Meara grow.

During the 2012 preseason, the Red Bulls wanted to bring over Robles, who played his last game for Karlsruher SC in the Bundesliga 2.

But it looked like they had some misinformation as the league told the club that instead of coming over on a free transfer, Robles had to go through the allocation process and the Red Bulls were not at the top.

RBNY had to leave him in Germany until the summer window, using Meara until he was forced out due to an injury that led to surgery for a hip flexor, which ultimately knocked him out for the rest of the season. RBNY then traded Bill Gaudette until he too got injured. And when the summer window came and the allocation order was in favor for the Red Bulls, they brought in their man on Aug. 8.

After a long wait, Luis Robles was allowed to be brought over in the MLS summer transfer window.

And it looks like the club has found their starting goalkeeper for a while.

When the New York media came to him and asked about how happy he is moving from Germany and playing in MLS, very quickly he remembered sitting in his car with his wife before the game and discussing their past.

“Fifteen months ago I really thought I was done,” he said. “I thought I was OK moving on and for the New York Red Bull organization to take a chance on me and continue to support and encourage me to continue, I’m humbled.”

After winning the Supporters’ Shield on Oct. 27, it was very happy Robles sitting in his stall, feeling so good about the season he just had.

There have been many spectacular saves Robles has made keep the ball out of the net. And he’s added some fantastic distributions off the ball that led to  scoring chances.

The 3-1 goal by Lloyd Sam at Sporting Park against Sporting KC on Aug. 3 quickly comes to mind. After a big save on a free kick, Robles ran to the top of his area and made an incredible throw to the midfield at Jonny Steele. Steele of course would cross it to Sam on the far side of the field. And after a fake, it would be a left-footed shot that beat Jimmy Nielsen for the goal.

Robles also had a good season preventing penalties on the opposition. He made four stops out of 11 attempts, which included the Roy Miller debacle in San Jose on March 10 when he stopped Chris Wondolowski’s first chance, but Miller intentionally encroached to give him a second chance and scored.

Most of the time, Robles guessed correctly, but he might have been a fraction of an inch off from preventing the ball going into the back of the net.

Federico Higuain of the Crew got three chances to convert from the spot and when he got stopped by Robles in the first game at Crew Stadium on May 4, he wouldn’t be denied the next two games, even though they were questionable calls.

Robles looks to be that No. 1 goalkeeper for the club that hasn’t had a true and consistent No. 1 since Tim Howard was in goal in the early 2000’s before flying to England.

With Meara behind him, Robles knows very well that the local kid could come out of the blue and unseat him as the starter.

But right now, competition is not a bad thing for Robles.


Ramapo College
Club Domestic:
Red Bull NY
Club Foreign:
PSG, ManU, Maccabbi Haifa
Original New York Cosmos fan, reborn soccer fan since 1994 USA World Cup. Feuerstein’s Fire podcast host. Covers NY Red Bulls for SN, and promotes all levels of American soccer from both sides of issues.