Robles Still Shines Despite Negatives

New York goalkeeper may bring success back to the position
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Branded Bulls – column on Red Bull NY (RBNY – NYRB) & the New Jersey area soccer scene.

Last season there were big question marks about the goalkeeper position, which the New York Red Bulls never had a problem with, even when they were known as the MetroStars.

They have always had that position covered and it was never a weakness as they’ve had the likes of Tony Meola, Zach Thornton, Tim Howard, Johnny Walker and Bouna Coundoul stand between the posts.

But in 2012 there were problems as that strength became a weakness. The Red Bulls chose Ryan Meara in the MLS Super Draft, and he was proving his worth until a hip injury knocked him out halfway through his rookie season.

Bill Gaudette was traded from Los Angeles and held the fort until the club finally brought over Luis Robles from Germany. And since his insertion due to an injury to Gaudette, Robles has looked solid and played well.

This season there’s been certain situations that Robles has put himself into where he has made some spectacular saves to keep his side ahead or level on the scoreboard.

To be honest, Robles should have 2 penalty saves if Roy Miller didn’t create the mea culpa in San Jose. But guessing right on Federico Higuain’s penalty last weekend against the Columbus Crew was brilliant.

But while he does make some fantastic saves, you can see some cracks in his game from time to time. While his positioning is good and he can catch the ball well, sometimes Robles is prone to mental gaffes and loss concentration.

The equalizer in Chicago against the Fire on April 7 is one example as he either lost the cross in the sun or was lazy coming off his line to grab it, which allowed Daniel Paladini to run at him and head the ball out of his hands into the net.

Or the match in Toronto where he came off his line and un-necessarily ran to the top of the area and gave Jonathan Osorio a free shot to convert an equalizer late in the match.

Even though Tim Cahill saved the match for the Red Bulls, you still have to consider this to be a terrible decision that nearly cost his side 2 points. The free kick was poorly taken and his defenders had the situation covered, but he still decided to take matters into his own hands and made a bad decision.

But he does find a way to throw out those mental mistakes from the last match and then have a great performance in the next one. You knew that in the win at Columbus he was sending a message to Meara, who made the trip and finally got some action in a reserve league game. He knew Meara was trying to regain his fitness and his starting spot he earned last year.

Manager Mike Petke is ready to see some competition with his current No. 1 goalkeeper and the previous one who lost his spot due to injury.

This is going to be a huge moment for this club when the goalkeeper position once again becomes a strength and there could be some decisions that either one might or might not like.

NEXT UP: May 8 – New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact, Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J., 7:30 p.m., MSG.

Daniel FEUERSTEIN

Nationality:
USA
College:
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.
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