Soccer, like many sports, relies heavily on timing. If a forward waits a second too long, he may watch his shot miss the target. If a goalkeeper reacts a second too fast, he'll be looking over his shoulder as the ball sails into the netting.
But when the timing’s right, a goal is scored, a shot is saved or, in the case of Luis Robles, a move is made.
Robles signed with the Red Bulls Wednesday, Aug. 8, and practiced with the team for the first time Tuesday morning at Montclair State University. While speaking with the media after his session, the Arizona native admitted there were previous talks between the sides, back as far as January, but suggested the timing wasn't right.
Other teams became involved in the talks as well over the last month or so. Some of those clubs hailed from the Western Conference, which in turn led Robles to assume his pending destination would be somewhere on the west coast. But when New York made the call and asked him to hike it out east, Robles was happy to oblige. Even if it meant leaving his personal belongings somewhere around the California area.
“I think it’s in Sacramento,” he said with a smile Tuesday morning. “I think the container ended up in Sacramento. So how we figure this out is the next challenge.”
Another obvious challenge that awaits Robles is more or less the one any goalkeeper would expect when joining ranks with a new club carrying three ‘keepers – playing time. It’s an element of the transaction that Robles quickly embraced, as he knows a little competition can go a long way for him, his teammates and the club.
“We’ve got a good brotherhood going on already,” Robles said. “Competition’s always good. It doesn’t matter what position, whether it’s goalkeeper or up top, when there’s someone who is at a good level competing every day against you, it’s only going to bring the sharpness and the best out of you. So I look forward to not only helping the team, but helping the guys that are alongside with me.”
As of Tuesday, the Red Bulls maintain their lock on second place in the Eastern Conference, just two points behind Sporting Kansas City’s total of 43. With the postseason drawing closer and the race in the conference heating up, Robles is anxious to do whatever it takes to help his new club.
“I think regardless of where New York was in the standings, I think it’s a great organization,” he said. “As a player, you want to be part of something like that. And then you just do the best you can to help contribute and make that experience the best it can be.”
From the start of the season New York has stressed the importance of winning on the pitch at Red Bull Arena and has, in turn, posted an undefeated 8-0-3 record. Portland will look to test that streak when they come to town Sunday for a 7 PM kick off (MSG+/Galavision). Get your tickets now at Red Bulls Ticket Central or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.