Long a fan-favorite amongst the New York Red Bulls faithful, Luis Robles can now find his name etched into the history books as one of the truly great goalkeepers to ever suit up in Major League Soccer.
At the conclusion of New York’s 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids, Robles had leapfrogged longtime MLS veteran and former Red Bull Kevin Hartman, now standing alone as the league’s ironman.
His presence in the starting lineup has been something of a given since signing with the club, as Robles has not missed a regular season minute since making his first start for the Red Bulls on September 29, 2012. And after starting and playing a full 90 minutes for the 113th consecutive MLS regular season match, Robles took some time to reflect on his remarkable achievement.
“It's a pleasure to be a part of this team and this organization,” he said. “I'm just so grateful to so many people. Whether we want to go way back to my parents, encouraging me even when times were really difficult and giving me guidance to not only become a good soccer player, but a good person.”
Red Bulls fans have admired their goalkeeper’s heroics and durability for years, but Robles only recently gained league-wide recognition. Following a stellar 2015 season that saw the Red Bulls life the Supporters’ Shield, Robles was recognized as the Goalkeeper of the Year in MLS.
His efforts were subsequently rewarded at the international level, as Robles earned a call-up to the United States national team under Jürgen Klinsmann. On January 31, 2016, Robles made a winning return for the Stars and Stripes, playing the full 90 minutes of a 3-2 friendly win over Iceland.
“You look at my home life, and I couldn't do this without my wife,” he added. “She's there for me and she supports me and that just continues to trickle on down, whether you look at the coaches who have worked with me and given me a chance, from Mike [Petke] to Jesse [Marsch], the goalkeeper coaches who keep me prepared and the goalkeepers who are challenging me each and every day.”
Despite the milestone coming in a losing effort, Marsch insisted that gravity of the accomplishment should not be understated, hoping to see his team’s defensive rock remain in place for years to come.
“It doesn’t take a backseat; it’s a great accomplishment,” the head coach said. “He’s been such an important guy for this club over the last few years and he’s earned that. He’s been a steady presence for us in many ways, not just by how he plays, but the kind of leader he is. It’s a great accomplishment for him and we look forward to the next 113 because I think he’s going to continue to push.”
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