One day, Luis Robles will not appear in goal for the New York Red Bulls in the MLS regular season, and it won't necessarily be because he has left the team. The fact he has played every minute of every regular season game for the last three consecutive seasons - and the last four of the 2012 campaign, and all 27 league games played to date this year - is not to be taken for granted. That MLS "Ironman" record is no joke: 133 consecutive regular season matches is quite staggering durability and consistency.
But the MLS Ironman is also human. Reports out of RBNY's Wednesday training this week carried a reminder that Robles battles the same tweaks and strains as any other player. Per Kristian Dyer for Big Apple Soccer:
Robles was wearing a brace on his left knee when he was out on the field.
The brace is due to what Jesse Marsch described as a "little bit of a strain in his MCL."
Robles was not in full training on Wednesday, and is clearly not a certainty to be fit for RBNY's next league game - in Vancouver on Saturday.
Marsch was optimistic about Robles' chances of being fit for the match against the 'Caps: "I think he'll be ready to go," he told newyorkredbulls.com.
Records are nice, but having Robles fit for the games that will come after RBNY play Vancouver would be nicer. If he doesn't recover in time, the Red Bulls aren't short of goalkeeping depth. Kyle Reynish has spent most of his career as a back-up in MLS, but in a rare stint outside the league, he won the NASL Golden Glove Award for his work for New York Cosmos in 2013. And Ryan Meara has allowed just 14 goals in 19 appearances for NYRB II in USL this season.
It is difficult to imagine the Red Bulls playing in MLS without Robles in goal. The last time it happened was September 22, 2012. But it will happen again one day. Perhaps sooner than anyone - including Robles - would like.