Karlsruher SC's American goalkeeper Luis Robles - once drafted by D.C. United - confirmed yesterday that he will be traveling to New York on Friday to continue discussions with the New York Red Bulls over a possible move to MLS. News of New York pursuing Robles was broken last week by the Washington Post's Steven Goff, but now that the player and Red Bulls General Manager Erik Solér have confirmed their mutual interest, we can probably move this one from the "speculation" column to the "possible signings" column.
The Red Bulls currently have two young American keepers under contract in Jeremy Vuolo and rookie Ryan Meara. But neither has as much professional experience as Robles, who spent three seasons at Kaiserslautern before joining Karlsruhe in 2010. With Karlsruhe struggling against relegation under a new manager, Robles hasn't played in months. Moving back to the U.S. would provide him with a fresh start and give New York three fairly solid options at goalkeeper, though perhaps no clear #1.
Though Robles has one cap for the U.S. National Team (a 2-2 draw against Haiti), if he does sign with New York he will be counted as a "discovery signing." Because he is neither a U.S. national team player pool nor a U.S. youth international, he will not be subject to the allocation process or a weighted lottery. A little more clarity on what makes Robles' case different from Lee Nguyen's, for example, would be welcome. But this being MLS, we may have to learn to live with murky rules and inconsistent interpretations.