(Luis Robles in blue and the Red Bulls before a match – Photo by Mike Lawrence)
Luis Robles of the Red Bulls was honored on Thursday with the Allstate 2015 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award.
“Obviously, it goes without saying that I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to have my name on that trophy,” said Robles. “It’s been a good year, and I think the reason I’ve been recognized as playing well individually is because the team has played well. I say that from the bottom of my heart that I know it’s impossible to win something like this without the guys that have been in front of me that have been battling and really going all out each and every game.”
Robles is the second goalkeeper in MetroStars/Red Bulls history to win the award, with the first being Tim Howard in 2001.
This season, Robles won a career-high 18 games, which was also the most in MLS, giving him a franchise record 50 career wins.
Robles had nine shutouts, which gave him 28 in his career, which is also a franchise record.
Robles said of winning the award, “It’s a tremendous honor. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a little bit of a surprise, but it’s a pleasant surprise. I know that the team’s done really well this year. Individually, I’ve had some good games and been consistent for the team. We’re hoping that this is one of many awards, not for me as an individual, but for many guys on the team. For us to play the way that we did, to get the Supporters’ Shield and now heading towards the Conference Finals, it’s been a collaborative effort, and for me to have my name on that trophy is one thing, but I understand that I couldn’t have done it without those guys.
“It’s not just the defense. Of course, the defenders have been great, but the midfield, Felipe and Dax (McCarty) in the midfield, just the lift they bring us each and every time they’re on the field. Then, as we move onto the forwards, the attacking guys, the way that Jesse (Marsch) has us playing, it’s so important that they’re engaged defensively and that they put pressure on the other team. For them to get the amount of production, or for us to get the amount of production from them, constantly puts us in a great position,” said Robles.
Robles was a big reason why the Red Bulls won a record 18 games this season, as they won their second Supporters’ Shield, for best record in the MLS, in three years.
He made 86 saves in their 34 games and had a goals-against average of 1.86, as the Red Bulls allowed the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference.
This was the third straight season that Robles played in all 34 matches and he has played the full 90 minutes in 106 games, the second-longest streak in MLS history.
Robles said, “As I reflect back on the season, it’s been a really special one, not just because of individual play, but the way this team has battled, the way we’ve battled each and every game together, and to be in the position that we are right now is what makes it so special.”
To the question of if he thinks this has been his best season, Robles said, “Surprisingly no, actually I thought I played better last year. We were in a lot of difficult games and I felt I made some key saves at big moments to keep us in the playoff race and last year I wasn’t even a finalist. For it to work out the way it did this year, I’m really appreciative to not only those who voted, whether it was the players, the coaches, the GMs, or the media, for just recognizing my play.”
The dominance of Robles has continued in the playoffs. He shut out DC United in both legs of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Red Bulls’ march to the MLS Cup continues this Sunday in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Columbus Crew. The first leg is Sunday against Columbus, and the second is at Red Bull Arena on the 29th.