ON THE RECORD: Luis Robles | 06/07/18

On how he is feeling…

“I feel great. I mean the tough part is that I’ve never not felt great if that makes any sense. It’s just one of those things that wasn’t necessarily a question, of pain, it was more precaution. And now that we’ve waited the allowed amount of time, the doctors cleared me and I feel good.”

On Ryan Meara…

“He’s a great goalkeeper. I have known that for a while since we’ve been teammates since 2012. The guys were able to see that last year in what he brings and he brings a lot of value to the field and the locker room. He’s played great. He stepped into a situation where we had some very difficult games and he helped navigate us. I know it’s going to be a huge boost to his confidence and as a teammate, as a person, in a way you just feel bad, but I’m just happy for him and that way he has been able to play and the way he has contributed in such a huge way.”

On the Gyasi Zardes…

“He’s just a different player. Greg has always been good at getting the best out of his players and I feel like Gyasi has just always been good. LA has really struggled over the past few years, so for him to fit into the different systems with the different coaching styles has been a little troubling for him, but then he’s going to Columbus and he’s fitting in and he’s playing incredible. He’s the type of player that I think around the league most guys already have a lot of respect for and then you see what he is accomplishing this year and now as a game plan you have to be fully aware of his abilities.”

On having a different lineup…

“You have what’s going on with the National Teams and of course the World Cup and then teams are dealing with injuries, but this is why you have to be very meticulous and clever when you’re building your roster. It’s not as if they just give you 29-30 slots to just give players contracts. You understand that there is going to be parts of the season where it’s going to be really trying, really challenging. You’re going to have to use rotation regardless if you want to or not and what our front office has done over the years is they’ve really put together a roster that I feel in my opinion 1 to 30 there’s guys that you can count on. Guys that the moment’s not going to be too big for them and they are going to be ready when there number is called. What we’ve seen over the last couple years and last couple weeks and what we’ll continue to see going forward is that when there number is called they are ready to go.”

On USL players playing on the MLS team…

“Amazed, no. And the reason I say that is because the first word that comes to my mind is patience. They’ve had to be very patient and even in another way they’ve been persistent in the way they go about their business. The one thing that Jesse has constructed in the past few years is clarity in the way we want to play so much so that even when teams play against us they don’t have to worry about us changing tactics. We press, we come out there and we put them in a very difficult game. We’re combative, we create turnovers in their end of the field and we go to goal. All he’s done is he’s utilized all the tools that have been given to him. This is the only club that has these tools. Every club around the league has been mandated to have these sort of resources and I think what he’s done better than anyone else is utilized them. When I think about those players who came in last night, when you look at Hassan, when you look at Ethan, but then also flow. What he’s done this season we think of Vin, scored the first goal. These are guys who have waited their turn. Even if you want to consider Ryan, he’s been patient, but he knows that when his number is called upon it’s a big opportunity for him to make a difference, to bring value to this team and they do it. A big part of that is because of the clarity that Jesse brings to the way that we play.”

On not being able to play the last few games…

“It’s been a trying time. Emotionally I’ve been all over the spectrum, it’s not just not playing, it’s the uncertainty of the injury and trying to figure out what we’re dealing with and have a little more clarity to all of it. And then of course you always want to help the team and I think especially when it came down to the Atlanta game and we were ascertaining as much information as possible about what I’m dealing with. The streak was never even something I thought about, it was how does this team get a result. And me at a lower percentage than 100% is not better than putting a guy like Ryan in there and helping the team make a difference. It is a team sport. It isn’t about some person’s record, it isn’t about an individual and their performance, it really is about how can we get 11 guys, three guys off the bench to understand how we want to play so we can get a result. And if everyone can buy into that it’s only going to increase our that we do great things.”

On seeing other players wear the captain band…

“The one thing that this club has had the last few years is a group of guys that understand how to help lead a team. There isn’t necessarily one guy who is so much better equipped than another, it’s a group of guys that understand how do we proppel this thing forward, how do we push this thing while getting the best out of guys. Even though one guy on the field is wearing the armband, when we’re on the locker room, when we’re on the field, when we’re in the classroom, because of that group of guys who really understand how to equip and empower guys, we’ve been successful. We’ve had that the last couple years, we have it this year. It’s not necessarily we need this one guy to push it. No, we need this group. If this group understands how to do it then the entire team is going to benefit and I think that’s what we’ve seen.”

On Bradley Wright-Phillips…

“When you sit back and you look at all the numbers and the statistics it is pretty amazing. I guess the part where I’m not so surprised is because I see him each and every day and the work that he brings to the field. He’s not taking days off, he’s not taking holidays. Once he crosses the line and is on that field he understands the responsibility that is part of being a leader on this team, of being the point guy on this team. Because he has done it with such class, with such character and consistency, everyone in this organization has benefited. Obviously he’s benefitted as well, but it still is pretty amazing to me just to see how when we play teams it’s almost as if they don’t respect him and they keep him open and part of it is okay maybe they lose track of him and the other part is just how clever he is, how smart he is as a player. Then he has some of these amazing goals and you’re just reminded just how quality this guy is. And then the best part is just his character. It’s not even just how good he is on the field, but the type of guy he is off the field. Guys gravitate towards him, guys love him. There’s not a single guy in this organization that wouldn’t give their shirt off their back to this guy and it speaks volumes to who he is as a person.”