HARRISON, N.J. (AP) – When his team first came together in February, New York Red Bulls coach Mike Petke wasn’t sure what he had in Luis Robles.
Seven months later, Petke knows what Robles gives him: A goaltender who can win games for his team.
“In a goalkeeper, you expect him to come up with one huge save a game, a game-changing save. And Robles has done that if not more than that, so I’m very happy with where he’s at,” Petke said after Robles recorded his 10th shutout of the season, leading the New York Red Bulls to a 1-0 win over FC Dallas on Sunday.
“We’re very happy with where he’s at. If Luis continues to play like this, then he’s going to give us a great opportunity to get points.”
Robles, who is tied with five other goaltenders for the MLS lead in shutouts, made two saves to help New York to its fourth straight victory.
The Red Bulls improved to 15-9-6 with a league-leading 51 points. They have four games remaining in the regular season.
FC Dallas midfielder Erick deflected New York midfielder Jonathan Steele’s crossing pass into the net in the 76th minute for the game’s only goal.
“It was a really fast play,” Dallas midfielder David Ferreira said. “Erick wanted to clear the ball and unfortunately he ends up putting it in our own net.”
Raul Fernandez made one save for Dallas (10-9-10), which has five games remaining and is three points out of the final Western Conference playoff spot. The shutout was the seventh of the season for Dallas.
“Our last two games we have been beaten on own-goals,” FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. “This was a game I thought where we could come away with at least a point. I think if we’re looking to get in the playoffs we have to get points.
“Our objective when there was eight games left was to win four. We felt like we could get 12 points. Right now we’ve won one and lost two.”
Until the own goal, there were little in the way of sustained offensive pressure for either squad. New York attempted 11 shots while Dallas had eight.
“It was really a game (where) both teams seemed to really dominate in midfield play,” Hyndman said. “There just wasn’t a lot of good scoring chances for either team.”
New York nearly broke through in the 16th minute when Eric Alexander’s centering pass ricocheted off the far post and rolled along the goal line before Fernandez dove on the ball.
Dallas’ best chance came in the 43rd minute when Ferreira broke into the box, but he was angled off by New York defender David Carney and was forced to shoot wide of the net. Seconds later, Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry had an opportunity from the box but his drive went wide. Henry had another opportunity to break the deadlock in the 63rd minute but his header from the box was wide of the net.
Henry finished the game with three shots.
“I think we broke them down in the first half,” Steele said. “We just had a couple chances that never came off. We hit the post . Thierry’s header and a couple of other half chances. At the end of the day you come in to do a job and you take the goal whatever way it comes.”
New York has won 19 of the 40 meetings between the franchises. Sunday’s game marked the only time in the regular season that the teams met.
The announced attendance was 18,976.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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