Major League Soccer

Robles signs with MLS, will go through allocation process

Luis Robles (ISI:Howard C. Smith)

photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

After flirting with the possibility of joining MLS earlier this year, former U.S. men's national team goalkeeper Luis Robles has finally struck a deal with the league.

The 28-year-old Robles reportedly agreed to a contract with MLS on Tuesday, and his next home will be determined via the allocation process due to him having been capped by the United States in the 2009 Gold Cup. Robles will be available via waivers if he goes unselected in the allocation process, which the New England Revolution are at the top of, followed by Toronto FC, Chivas USA, the San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. united.

Robles joins MLS after spending the last five years in Germany, where he played for both Kaiserslautern and, most recently, Karlsruher SC. The 6-foot-1 netminder was an on-and-off starter for the latter club before being given the green light to find a new home this past winter.

Robles had been in talks with the New York Red Bulls earlier this season, but him having to go through the allocation process prevented the club from acquiring him.

What do you think of Robles signing with MLS? Which team do you expect to take him? Envision him being a full-time starter and thriving in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Eric

    Maybe I’m missing something but is there even a lot of interest in him at this point? NY has had Meara step up and they were the ones originally trying to get him.


  • Duneman

    “Robles had been in talks with the New York Red Bulls earlier this season, but him having to go through the allocation process prevented the club from acquiring him.”
    This is exactly the problem. Why can some player for the Italian National team with potential max fixing issues have his pick of clubs to talk with? If you play on the Jamaican national team or Honduras you can say “I want to live in DC. I also really like their style of play and the coach and I feel like I would have a good starting role. I will negotiate with that team directly. If the deal does not work I might pick another team or league to talk with next. You can be a leading scorer for the Irish or Scottish National Team and pick Portland because the coach at the time is from your home country which makes you comfortable and the city might feel like home.

    However….if you are someone who has maybe sat on the bench for a few US matches or gotten some playing time here or there and you are playing abroad but want to play in the US…you have NO ability to negotiate directly with the team or city of your choice. You have to go to a lottery and then you can only hope you get what you want or get picked by a team that will fit your approach/needs.

    The US is huge…if you have an offer with the best team in Norway with great pay vs a lottery in MLS where you might have 0 interest in moving your family to a few of the cities….why would we expect some of the US based players to give it a shot?

    We should make it EASY for US players to come back to MLS. If there was some minimum pay or huge bonus for US team pool players to come to MLS then maybe the lottery would make sense or could be excused…but there doesnt seem any real pro’s to the option.

    I really do NOT see a need. The goal I assume is to make sure there is no “super power team” like maybe back in the day when players could not easily go abroad so maybe a lot of the guys all played for DC or something….but I dont see the point now. We have the salary cap for all teams…so what is the point. Teams all have the same 3 DP optins….so we cant have all of the super A-team guys all go to the same team even if they wanted. With the salary cap you might not even be able to get too many of the other guys onto a single squad.

    To be honest…if we did get a 4 or 5 guys playing together on the same MLS team…the fans would love it and it would only help them by having the familiarity when they come into camp (with most of the guys for Spain playing on one or two teams it is no wonder they are so good)…however….we still cannot really do that in MLS. Teams have the DP’s and Salary Caps….so if you want to come to the US again that seems to be enough to make sure we dont have some super US based team.

    We have a lot of talented guys which are maybe option 2 or 3 or even 4 for a spot on the USMNT playing in leagues that might not be as good as MLS…if we want them to play infront of the fans and grow MLS lets help them get to the team they want. If we want our super stars who have played on the USMNT for years to come home at some point like Carlos, Howard, Dolo, etc…when they feel the time is right MLS should roll out the red carpet and say “how can we help you come back to MLS and find a team or city that is a good fit for you and your family?” Again..that team still has to manage their cap and DP’s…but why not let that player have a say and negotiate directly.

    I just find it odd that players from every other country in the world regardless of if they played on their national team or not can walk into any FO of an MLS team and see if a deal will work….but to bring a yank to MLS a team has to say “I would love to have you but just put your name in the lottery and we will see if we can get you if not…we hope you enjoy Ohio”


  • 20

    So New England is first in the order. Matt Reis is 37 but doesn’t seem like he’s ready to quit yet. He is still one of the better keepers in the league but the Revs will need to think about a replacement in the next couple of years. Shuttleworth is a decent backup but will he be ready? I’d say NE passes and continues to groom Shuttleworth to be the #1 in two or three years


  • Jason

    DC should pick him (again) and either trade him or keep him as a backup plan for when Hamid leaves.


  • Mike Vann

    I bet the Revs pass with Reis and Shuttleworth as a worthy successor. TFC, second on the list, could make a run at Robles. Kocic is always one play away from disaster and you never know how Frei will recover.


  • fischy

    Actually, it’s not as simple as you’re making it out to be.

    MLS has discovery rules that can force an international player to work with just one MLS team, unless he can get some other team to trade for his discovery rights.

    As for Robles — the reason is that he blew off DC United after they drafted him. The league doesn’t want to allow players to get around the draft so easily — both because it’s a way to promote some level of parity, and because it helps to contain costs by eliminating competitive bidding.

    Is it fair? No, but them’s the rules and MLS gets to make the rules.


  • fischy

    That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Hamid has his sights set on England, so he’s gonna have to wait until he starts getting national team caps again. Having Robles and Hamid wouldn’t work too well. Also, DC is pretty satisfied with its backup goalie, Joe Willis, especially given his price tag. I don’t even think DC could afford Robles.


  • fischy

    I think the Revs would be delighted to add Robles, and cutting Moreno means they have the cap room. Whether they would hang on to Reis or Shuttleworth I can’t say.


  • Eric

    Josh Saunders isn’t their problem. Their problem is a shaky defense (Gonzalez isn’t back to full speed yet) and a midfield that’s lacking any real bite in the middle. Beckham keeps drifting wide in games and Juninho hasn’t played as well as he did last year so far.

    Saunders may not have been great so far but he isn’t LA’s problem.


  • Brek Shea's Potential

    It would be as simple as it seems, if the MLS gets off their high horse and stops trying to put their own inane twists on the sport.


  • PseudoNEmous Commenter

    I’m excited about the thought of Robles coming to the Revs, partly just because of a personal family connection, but I think he’d be a better keeper than Shuttleworth (not that Bobby has been particularly bad, just a bit shaky), but they’ll need Reis’s sucessor soon. good highlight reel here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhP6vs3k0oo


  • 76678

    Glad to see he’s going home but couldn’t he find another 2Bundesliga club or try Scandinavia


  • Eric K

    The Revs will need a replacement for Reis pretty soon but first they really need a no-nonsense center defender. Soares is good but he needs a bigger, more physical player with him in the middle. Of anything, that’s what the Revs are missing right now.


  • WeatherManNX01

    National teamers do have the option of negotiating directly with the club, if I remember correctly. They can bypass the allocation process by becoming a DP.

    I’m pretty sure no one in their right minds would make Robles a DP.

    To me, the concept of the allocation process is two-fold.

    First, it helps prevent a few teams monopolize the national team players. MLS doesn’t want them all on a few teams, it wants them to be across the league, because national teamers will draw a crowd (how much of a boost it actually provides is debatable, but it’s a logical thought process).

    Secondly, because of the quality of national teamers, it gives the lesser teams a chance to improve. Allocation gives teams like New England and Chivas first crack at the players as a chance to improve their teams.

    If you’ve never noticed, MLS tries to make things as even as they can throughout the league. Whether or not they succeed is another discussion.

    One day, MLS will attract quality players in numbers significant enough as to make the allocation process useless. But I figure that’s ten years down the road at best.


  • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo

    It’s one thing to say a “National Team Player” it’s a whole other level to call Robles one.

    The Salary Cap covers the issue of” helps prevent a few teams monopolize the national team players”. The Salary Cap, despite its drawbacks, ensures the ‘Parity Principle’…no need to hamstring U.S. National team pool players. If this was the case, as someone argued earlier, you should do the same for any player ever capped from their respective National team.


  • farcyde21

    It actually is as easy as Duneman said if they just put in a clause where you are still tied to the team that drafted you (or who you were last tied to) if you go somewhere else and come back. The NBA and NHL have done this very successfully (New England/Boston fans have 2 very recent examples in Tyler Seguin and Doug Hamilton and NBA fans have seen this most recently with the Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio)


  • farcyde21

    I agree, plus the potential for giving up the top allocation spot for a position that they don’t necessarily need? I think they pass for sure.


  • SadRevsFan

    Revs need to replace Reis. He is a shell of his former self. Shuttleworth is destined to be a back up for life. This late in the year and supposedly close to 500k in cap space this is a no brainer….that said, Burns will screw this up like he does everything else


  • guanaco20

    Well hopefully after the next CBA agreement, the Player’s Union can get rid of this ridiculous system for our US players. I want to see Tim Howard back in MLS and want him at my NY Red Bulls. Hopefully when he is ready to leave the EPL, things will be more easy and he can be with his original club and the area where he grew up in.


  • RLW2020

    i feel like most teams are content with their keepers, although many could be improved on. No clear cut option for him.. id say NE, TFC or a trade to Portland.


  • The Imperative Voice

    I’ll be interested to see who takes Robles and what his career arc actually is because he was ineffective and flailing at balls in the Gold Cup which resulted in his allocation status. If his salary is much of anything I think he’s a big risk.


  • The Imperative Voice

    I mean let’s be real this guys is like Cervi, his clipboard carrying contemporary in the 3rd Gold Cup spot, who knows if these guys are even worth a crud their whole appeal at the time was availability. Think Yelldell.


  • 2tone

    If it isn’t Denmark then there is no reason to go to Scandinavia. MLS is uperior to most of the Scandinavian leagues except Denmarks.


  • Jake

    At the right price he could easily be a solid backup or a good starter. I’m not sure which teams are currently looking to change their keeper. On the list in the post above… maybe Toronto, but I’m not sure.


  • Jake

    DC has Joe Willis. He has shown that he is more than adequate and could potentially be more than that when he gets regular game time and develops. No need for Robles in DC.


  • Lasik

    Any chance this has something to do with the keeper swap between Montreal and Portland?

    Maybe a trade by one of these teams with whoever picks him up.


  • Felix

    I like to see young American talent who haven’t found their footing abroad returning home.
    That being said, I despise the allocation process and cannot wait until they dispose of it. The salary cap is already supposed to prevent clubs from loading up on talent, to have the allocation process for USMNT players seems redundant.


  • STX81

    I don’t think the Revs cleared any cap space by cutting Moreno.

    “If a player on a semi-guaranteed contract is waived after July 1, his salary budget charge will count against the team’s salary budget and the team waiving the player will not receive a replacement except under the normal player acquisition mechanisms. Any settlement amount will be charged to the team’s salary budget.” Section III.A


  • bryan

    i seriously hate the allocation process. and Garber’s BS response to Keller that that rule “built what we see today” (referring to the All Star game) is ridiculous. i think it’s time MLS rids itself of the allocation process.


  • b


    That is exactly the group he belongs in: Robles, Yelldell, Cervi

    If anyone wants one of these guys as their starting MLS goalkeeper just because they were called up for some C team tournament or sat on the bench for some meaningless friendly, they are crazy.


  • b

    Screw it up like adding Feilhaber, picking up Nguyen off the scrap heap, drafting Rowe (a year after drafting Soares), bringing in Sene and now Bengsten…. And Robles sucks by the way, have you ever seen him or do you think he’s good just because he’s coming back from Europe?


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