New York Red Bulls Buzz, 6/30/17: New Contracts and US Open Cup Hopes
Jun 28, 2017; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara (18) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Red Bulls have found past and present success with goalkeepers in the MLS and, arguably, more than any other team in the league.

With half the season completed, RBNY sit in seventh place. With games in hand, the team has recorded solid defensive numbers. Arguably, this could be contributed to RBNY’s phenomenal goalkeeping.

In the 2017 MLS season the New York Red Bulls recorded five shutouts and only 23 goals against. For a team below the red line, these are solid statistics. Only the top three Eastern teams have better goals against stats. Robles also sits tied in fourth in the East for shutouts.

Eastern Defensive Stats:

Shutouts (in East)

  1. Andre Blake – 7
  2. Matt Lampson – 6
  3. Joe Bendik – 6
  4. Alex Bono – 5
  5. Luis Robles – 5

In fact, in the 2016 Robles finished first in shutouts in the MLS. In 2015 he was tied for first in the East. There is no doubt that Robles as a goalkeeper has proven himself as a crucial player on the pitch.

Beyond Luis Robles, many successful goalkeepers have called RBNY home. Tony Meola, Tim Howard, Luis Robles, and as of recent, Ryan Meara.

When Tony Meola was goalkeeper for the former MetroStars, from 1996 to 1998 he recorded a 1.64 goals against average. After his first stint in New York, he moved to Kansas City where he won an MLS Cup and MVP trophy.

The widely known Tim Howard also had an illustrious career which started with New York in 1998. Throughout his career with RBNY he posted a 1.47 goals against average. He also recorded 15 shutouts.

This, of course, was before his move to English Premier side Manchester United and later Everton. His career abroad proved fruitful. Since 2007 he has been declared the US number one keeper for nearly 10 years.

Now playing for Colorado, while struggling, he has still kept favor with the national team. This could all be traced back to his success with RBNY.

For nearly five years, Luis Robles has been RBNY’s number one keeper. He has proven himself one of the club’s all-time greats. This is also illustrated by his new contract signing just a week ago.

In his RBNY career Robles has posted fantastic numbers:

  • 2013 – 11 shutouts, 1.2 goals against avg., 17 wins
  • 2014 – 6 shutouts, 1.47 goals against avg., 13 wins
  • 2015 – 9 shutouts, 1.26 goals against avg., 18 wins
  • 2016 – 11 shutouts, 1.29 goals against avg., 16 wins
  • 2017 – 5 shutouts, 1.35 goals against avg., 7 wins

These numbers prove why Robles is number one in New York. It also could provide a case why he should certainly be considered for national team play.

Luis Robles’s efforts have earned RBNY two supporters shields. He also saw RBNY finish top of the East for three out of his four fully completed seasons with the team. This is a feat that any goalkeeper should be proud of.

Ryan Meara, in a recent US Open Cup match against Philadelphia, has proven his significance within the club.

In 2012 Meara signed with RBNY and played 18 games before he suffered a season-ending injury. That season he recorded three shutouts and a 1.5 goals against average. For a rookie, his numbers were impressive.

In 2013 Robles assumed a greater role with the club and eventually saw his way to number one. For Ryan Meara, he had to wait his turn to return to MLS play. While he has not recorded any MLS time since his loan out to NYCFC in 2015, he has made an impact for RBNY.

Last year his USL side Red Bulls II won the championship in a penalty shootout. His heroics certainly re-established his relevance as a great goalkeeper.

His importance to the club was made evident again in his efforts against Philadelphia on June 28th. His countless saves in regular time and overtime allowed the team to advance to penalty kicks.

Against a team which defeated RBNY the previous two seasons in the round of 16, Meara played the hero. In a penalty shootout, he defeated the Union 5-3. Because of his efforts, RBNY is now in the semi-finals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. His place at RBNY, while not substantial in playing time, is monumental in importance.

In the coming months, RBNY will rely heavily on the talents of their goalkeepers. A Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, Supporters’ Shield, and MLS Cup are all still achievable for RBNY. Two of these trophies the team has never won.

Could the player between the posts bring home hardware in 2017? Hardware that fans and the front office have been craving since 1996?

With nearly half of the season to go, there is no doubt that Robles and Meara will be crucial to RBNY’s success.

How do you think RBNY keepers fair historically? Also what roles do you think RBNY’s keepers will play in the upcoming months?

Chris Sudol is a former college soccer player who now avidly supports the New York Red Bulls, Arsenal, and Barcelona, among many other soccer teams.