Tragedy nearly marred the New York Red Bulls’ first victory of the season.
Union forward Conor Casey and Luis Robles challenged for a ball in the box during extra time. The burly striker undercut him, sending Robles air-born and flat on his back, feet over head.
A collective gasp from those in attendance was followed by a full medical rush to tend to the fallen keeper who lay motionless in the box. The gasps turned to sighs of relief as minutes later, he stood up and finished the match.
“He seems all right. He better be all right because if they let him stay back in the game and something’s wrong with his head I’d be very upset,” head coach Mike Petke said. “I think he got rattled a bit and took some time, and he’s fine now.”
“I’m just really thankful that nothing came of that,” Robles said after the match. “I saw him out of the corner of my eye so I braced for it. I felt like I was going to flip over. I haven’t seen the video yet but I am pretty sure my feet went over my head.”
Like so many in attendance, Robles was also worried that the collision would be worse than what it was. “As I braced for the impact, I just started trying to move my extremities and just praying everything was working,” he said. “When it was, I wanted to take my time because it was quite an impact.”
The medical crew gave him a standard concussion test which, as he revealed, is akin to a sobriety exam. No scans were done after the match, but both player and organization felt he escaped a potentially dangerous moment.
Even in the lockerroom, you could tell he was still feeling the effects of the hit. He gingerly walked over to his bench and politely asked reporters for room to sit. It was the kind of pain he hadn’t felt in some time.
“There was a time when I was 13 and I got kicked in the nuts,” Robles joked. “I thought they were going to have to go and get them. Outside of that, I was down for a while but it was mostly protocol because they have to check if I was concussed and like I said, I was just thankful nothing came out of it.”