It didn’t appear that Robinson was going to get many opportunities with the senior team this season, either. Still, he made three starts and played well in each, the last coming against Red Bulls at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on May 21.
He came off the bench a few times for a total of 27 minutes in the season’s remaining games. But the 21-year-old gained valuable experience with 14 appearances and more than 1,200 minutes played for Atlanta United 2, the MLS team’s USL affiliate.
So, when he found out early last week that he was going to start against NYCFC in place of the injured Jeff Larentowicz, he felt that he was ready.
“It helped me stay ready for moments like this one tonight,” he said.
Robinson’s tasks were simple: don’t let David Villa get behind him, or let Maxi Moralez find pockets of space.
Robinson didn’t mess around. He made three tackles, including one of Villa in the first half. Villa only spun Robinson once, but Parkhurst swooped in to snuff out the danger.
Robinson committed just one foul and it was a smart play to break up a counterattack in the second half.
“When you have a good team like NYCFC looking for a goal, we knew we would be defending for some periods in the match,” he said. “We did that very well. We were organized and played very well today. It’s a little bit mental and physical for sure. We handled it both very well tonight.”
Unprompted, Robinson was singled out for praise first by Parkhurst and then Miguel Almiron.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan may have given the best critique of Robinson’s performance.
“To have someone like that get kind of thrown into the deep end, in terms of not really playing a lot of games or a lot of minutes leading up into tonight, to have the performance that he put in tonight, he deserves all the credit in the world,” Guzan said. “I thought he was calm on the ball. I thought he put out fires when things got a little bit dangerous. He closed guys down. He tackled. He won balls in the air. He won second balls. I don’t think he put a foot wrong tonight.”