November 4, 2012
PATIENCE AND TIMING
Robles explains how he stopped Pontius' penalty kick
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- For Luis Robles, it was all about patience and timing.
|Luis Robles: "If you are a forward and waiting until the very last second for the goalkeeper to move, it kind of forces them to not shoot as low as they would like to and in that case I was fortunate.”
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
If the goalkeeper had moved a split second earlier on Chris Pontius' penalty-kick attempt in the 33rd minute of the Red Bulls' 1-1 tie with D.C. United, the hosts might have won the MLS playoff game on Saturday night.
But he didn't and made the save by diving to his right to deny the United midfielder.
“I have to give credit to coach Todd," Robles said about goalkeepers coach Todd Hoffard. "He does a good job in preparing us for a game. We knew in the last three penalty kicks, Pontius waited for the keeper to move and waited and waited. If you are a forward and waiting until the very last second for the goalkeeper to move, it kind of forces them to not shoot as low as they would like to and in that case I was fortunate.”
At the time, the game was scoreless. but rookie right back Connor Lade was called for a hand ball in the penalty area, giving Pontius an opportunity to lift United into the lead.
Pontius, who entered the game with five goals in three matches against the Red Bulls during the regular season, called it a "good save."
"I would have liked to put it up a little higher and get it away from him, but I missed it," he said. "You’ve got to have short-term memory. We’ve got a game on Wednesday. We came out, we battled, we went a man down, and we still battled and we still had some opportunities and I like the fight and character of this team.”
Robles gave the Red Bulls a much-needed uplift.
“The first two minutes after the penalty, everyone was talking about the penalty," captain Thierry Henry said. "Bill, [Gaudette] before was tremendous for us, now Luis is taking over. We have some great goalkeepers around us.”
Robles undoubtedly was the man of the match for the Red Bulls, including denying left back Chris Korb's 18-yard blast in the second minute.
“It was two big saves of course – the penalty and I don’t know if it was the left back who finished, but he couldn’t see the ball," Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said. "It was a phenomenal save, definitely. And he’s solid, good with crosses, good to get the game going. And it was just overall a very solid game.”
Asked if Korb or penalty kick save was more difficult to stop, Robles replied, “The first shot for sure. Now, of course, that sounds silly, but only because, as I touched on earlier, as a goalkeeper, you want to get your touches in. But you're hoping for like a pass back, or someone heading the ball back to you. But in that case, it worked out for us.”