By Daniel Cermak/NPSL.com
New York Red Bulls II made their third straight USL Eastern Conference Final in 2018, thanks in large part to two straight playoff clean-sheets from former Detroit City FC goalkeeper Evan Louro.
“I think we found our stride at the right time,” Louro said. “That really helped us.”
NYRB II reached the Eastern Conference Final via two 1-0 away wins; the first over Charleston and the second at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. The clean sheet against FC Cincinnati meant a lot to Louro and NYRB II, as they broke FCC’s incredible 24-match unbeaten streak.
“I think they actually started their unbeaten streak against us, so that helped us come in with a chip on our shoulders,” Louro said. “We weren’t intimidated, every player was confident, it was great.”
Even though NYRB II fell short in the conference final in a 5-1 defeat against Louisville, a team that boasts an all-time 10-0 playoff home record and back-to-back USL titles, there’s still confidence abound in Harrison, with NYRB II coming one match away from a shot at the championship, and the first team recording the most points in MLS history. For Louro, that success is a direct result of the team’s atmosphere.
“I think the most important thing that you’ll find at this club is that everyone buys into their role,” Louro said. “The philosophy of the club helps you succeed.”
Louro has taken advantage of his club’s atmosphere and has turned in two successful seasons in the USL. In his debut season of 2017, Louro started 24 matches and made 74 saves. 2018 saw Louro improve even further as the team’s number 1 keeper, starting 29 matches, notching 73 saves on his way to five clean sheets, including two in the playoffs.
Part of Louro’s development into the successful goalie he is today occurred during his three years with the University of Michigan, where he recorded 46 appearances, and recorded an incredible 1.06 GAA during his sophomore season, the second-best average in single-season history for Michigan. Michigan Head Coach Chaka Daley is not surprised to see Louro have the success he has had.
“Evan has always been a talented goalkeeper,” Daley said. “It doesn’t surprise me that his growth has been exponential since becoming a professional.”
During his time with the Wolverines, Louro made a pair of appearances for Detroit City FC after his Michigan teammates recommended the club. While it was a short stay, Louro’s impact was immense. In his regular season debut, Louro helped Le Rouge to a 2-2 away draw with Michigan Stars.
Louro truly shone, however, in the U.S. Open Cup, recording a stockpile of saves (13 for those counting at home) during DCFC’s match-up with the Michigan Bucks, and Louro was named Man of the Match after recording two stops in the penalty shootout to help Detroit City move on to the second round. Though it was a short stay, the impact the club had and it’s support stays with Louro to this day.
“I played two games, but it was like I was there for ten years,” Louro said. “The fans, the support was crazy. I never got a chance to play at Keyworth Stadium but I hope to make it to a match their someday. It was really my first experience of having an entire community support me, and that translates into Red Bulls and the family we have here.”
Though he didn’t get to showcase his PK stopping in the USL playoffs, Louro is always ready for the task.
“I don’t really get why people, especially goalkeepers, get nervous for penalty kicks,” Louro said. “They’re supposed to score, so I know if I save one I know I’ve done my job.”
With another solid USL season under his belt, it’s safe to say Louro went above and beyond “his job” with NYRB II.
“Evan did a great job this year of starting where he left off last year,” NYRB II Head Coach John Wolyniec said. “He has shown the ability to be more consistent and has shown a lot of growth as a leader.”
“I want to keep developing and one day become the first team goalkeeper,” Louro said. “And eventually of course I’d love to be the national team goalie, that would be the dream come true.”
At just 22 and in a system as strong and proven as New York, the sky’s the limit for Evan Louro.
Photo Credit: Ben Solomon/New York Red Bulls and U-M Photography