Luis Robles lets referee Allen Chapman have it after the final whistle, but the game official had the final word and slapped the Red Bulls captain with a yellow card. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
HARRISON, N.J. — Luis Robles was frustrated.
After referee Allen Chapman blew the final whistle of Orlando City SC’s 1-0 victory over the Red Bulls, the home team’s captain let the officiating crew have it.
In a rare postgame decision, Chapman took out his yellow card and showed it to the goalkeeper.
When asked what he said to the game officials, Robles responded, “That’s not important.”
“I mean, when we look at the match it’s the smallest of details, that was really poor from us all together and it’s hard to even just think of positives. But at the end of the day, we know that that’s not good enough. And if we want to be a top team, especially at home, it has to be dramatically better than what we gave today.”
The veteran keeper elaborated a little more, although he didn’t go into much detail after the Red Bulls lost at home for the first time since July 2018.
“I mean, there’s a lot of things that happen on the field,” he said “They’re human, they messed up.”
But then again, so did the Red Bulls, not winning first or second balls and not playing up to the standard that they had set at Red Bull Arena the past few years.
“When we look at the game, there’s also a lot of things to just be frustrated with personally,” he said.
“Just from my vantage point, we didn’t win enough second balls and those hustle plays – they got the better part of us. Of course, tactics are one thing, but for me, not necessarily being a tactician, and being more of a guy that looks for guys to fight, especially at home, and someone that’s willing to put it all on the line. To me those are very important for us to be successful in. We had a couple of those moments, but not enough to be the winners today.”
Ironically, Robles’ predecessor as captain, Sacha Kljestan, tallied the lone goal of the match in the 73rd minute.
When asked if it had to be someone to score against him, Kljestan would be the one, Robles replied, “I don’t feel that way at all. I love the guy. He was a great teammate, a great roommate but at the end of the day when we’re on the field and cross that line I don’t want anyone score on me. Does it sting a little bit that he was the guy who scored? Sure.”
But Robles questioned whether he prepared his team properly as skipper.
“What stings the most is our performance,” he said. “What I will remember most about this game isn’t that Sacha scored the goal. That maybe as a leader I didn’t do enough to prep my guys. Maybe as a voice in this locker room I didn’t get the guys going because what we put on display today was not the brand of soccer we want to play and the mentality was not there today.”
While he sounded discouraged, Robles hardly has a reputation of throwing in the towel at any time during the year. The season is young, only three games old and there’s plenty of time to make up the loss and put it behind the team.
The Red Bulls can start it next week when they play at the Chicago Fire.
“It’s very very important to take a look in the mirror and address it because it can’t be a theme going forward,” Robles said. “It has to be a one-off. I’m confident we’re going to address it properly.”