MLS- New York Red Bulls

Red Bulls Notes: Petke takes blame for poor start, injury updates, and more

Mike Petke


The New York Red Bulls are 1-3-2 to open the season, and there is plenty of blame to go around for the results. Through six matches, the team is winless on the road, has been shut out twice, have been anemic on offense outside of the first match of the season and have been shaky, at best, in their own third.

From the aging veterans, to the weak defense or the mismanaged midfield, finger pointing has already begun to name a culprit.

Head coach Mike Petke says look no further than his desk.

“To be honest with you, this is not a coach protecting his team. This all comes down to me, to be honest with you,” Petke explained.

“I put it on myself that we played well, smart, went up a goal, and then with all the experience that we have, all the talent that we have against a team, no disrespect, but in Chicago I do think they have quality but I don’t think we should have given up the lead.

“That’s on me to be honest with you,” he continued. “If we spend more time in practice going over game situations for instance, being down a goal, being up a goal, holding on to a lead, how we are going to play.

“I cannot put that on the players. Obviously I understand they are the ones on the field, they are the ones working, fingers can get pointed at them, however, I take this upon myself.”

The rookie coach even pointed out key situations in the season where he is most at fault for the team’s results.

“Look at the first game of this season, up two goals at halftime,” he recounted. “Look at Philadelphia going up a goal and giving a goal back. Look at Chicago, going up a goal and giving three goals back. That’s something that comes down to myself.

“The thing that drove me the most crazy,” he continued, “is we are going to lose games, definitely on the road. It’s inevitable. We are not going to win every game this season. However, the way it happens and to see it happen … you can understand losing to a certain team in a certain situation in this league. Chicago is not one of them. No disrespect. They do have talent but the way they are playing right now and the way things are going for them, it’s a team we should have held them, we needed to take advantage of.

“It’s all going to come down to fixing that problem and it starts (this week).”


Injuries have been a major culprit for the team’s disappointing start to the season.

That may change.

Fabian Espindola could be an option for this weekend’s match against DC United while team captain Thierry Henry is expected to see “significant minutes” against the club’s long time rival.

“Espindola is doing very well,” Petke revealed. “He had a really good workout in the last couple of days and all eyes are pointing for him to be available for Saturday’s game.

“This week for DC, I think we are definitely in a position now of both (Thierry Henry and the team) being comfortable with him playing significantly more. Whether that means he starts or not, that’s something we’ll find out this week, but obviously he is a player we would like to start. Everything is pointing that he will be ready to go.”


Peguy Luyindula, who was subbed out from the Chicago Fire match Sunday, will be evaluated this week for availability.

Soon to be 39 year old keeper Kevin Hartman continues to work his way to game fitness. He will be made available for reserve duties this week.

  • el paso tx wants nasl

    petke is going to be in and out this season. poor red bulls and you can see petke is loosing the team little by little…..and his true fans.


    • scott47a

      at the rate things are going i would be surprised if he makes it the entire season.
      bound to be some euro coaches that the red bull management will be interested in chasing come May/June.


    • Sean

      Really uneducated and naive comments. They wouldn’t have given this job to Petke if he wasn’t going to be given time. And if you’ve followed the club you’d know they are on the verge of hitting stride.


      • Chris

        I don’t know Sean. They were chasing a few other people in the off season, and it was only after they couldn’t find anyone and time was running out that they decided to hand the job to Petke. If they don’t start getting results I don’t think they will hesitate at all to replace Mike in the summer.


      • ChiTown

        This is the NYRB management and Petke was a stopgap, last ditch option. I wouldn’t imagine they’ll think twice about cutting him loose if they see fit.


  • Josh

    Petke probably should have known better than to accept the job, but it’s hard to blame him when someone simply anoints him the next head coach of the club he loves. That said, he’s been set up to fail by the club’s dysfunctional ownership. He would’ve been much better off cutting his teeth as an assistant manager for a stable, winning club for a couple of years before making the jump, and even then he ought to make sure he does so in a favorable situation, which managing RBNY isn’t.


  • seth

    petke is not losing the team or the fans. i’ve never seen a ny coach own up to anything like this before. petke is class. He was not handed a great situation. He needs at least 2 seasons before we can evaluate him.


    • Helium-3

      Petke was a decent player. At his peak, there was interest from Bayern Munich and I don’t
      remember why the move didn’t happen.


  • JL

    Too many freaking egos in that locker room. If I was him I would have said no to the position and instead opted to start from the youth ranks and move up. Plus I don’t think he foresaw himself coaching a team. If he did, he would have hit the books from the get-go during his playing days.

    Anyway, half of… no… the entire squad sucks. Titi is nice and all but he’s not going to win everything by himself.


  • Michael F SBI Mafia Original

    Luyindula being terrible, Cahill not playing like a DP AT ALL, no worthy center back partner for Olave, Espindola injury, Holgerson being Holgerson, Steele being terrible, Alexander being more of a sub quality not starter quality. The list goes on and you have to consider the reasons here all before Blaming Petke.


  • master red card

    Petke’s a good guy, but heart and determination can only bring you so far. At some point you have to measure the technical ability, and sad to say Petke isn’t quite there yet. He might need to cut his teeth in USL Pro to learn how to manage players develop tactics. Bringing in Fraiser didn’t help, as he was terrible as a head coach himself. I see Petke getting sacked before the summer, unless something remarkable happens.


  • Dave

    Historically speaking, the top teams in MLS have demonstrated that success comes with a good coach and a talented but more importantly deep and balanced roster. Whether or not Mike Petke is a good coach is or ever will be a good coach remains to be seen. To be fair, it’s entirely to soon to judge something like that. The roster, however, and its creation for that matter are entirely up for debate. And, upon thoughtful consideration, it is a roster that just doesn’t have what a good MLS team needs to compete for a title, which is the standard that the Red Bulls/Metros have always been held to, fairly or unfairly. The spotlight on shortcomings always shines brighter in New York. Red Bull can’t hide from the fact that this roster is weak, a mess, incomplete, and won’t soon make for a contender until the front office types in the roster management department find a way to balance catering to Henry and a desire to build the team around similar big salary types with actually buying into the fact that MLS champions are built on the backs of the Chad Marshall’s, Omar Gonzalez’s, Nick Rimando’s, etc., etc. It’s not to suggest that a team can’t win it all in MLS with talents who made their names playing well elsewhere. What it does suggest is that Red Bull needs to invest more in creating stars through player development and in building an actual team rather than a simple collection of players for that matter and less in buying stars and in buying a team. With the acquisitions of Olave, Espindola, and Kimura, they have shown that they are starting to understand this, but it will simple take more time. As a Red Bulls/Metros fan, I am not holding my breath for this season.


    • Nate Dollars

      ‘The spotlight on shortcomings always shines brighter in New York.’

      yeah, it’s not about the huge amounts of money being sunk into nyrb with no ROI to show for it.


      • Nate Dollars

        that said, i wouldn’t be shocked if they turn around and pull off the championship a la galaxy last year. not that it doesn’t happen in other leagues, too, but with mls playoffs, it’s very possible for a team to be abysmal at the start of the season and then end up winning the whole thing. god forbid.


  • Eugene

    It’s fine. Petke is going nowhere, he is still insanely beloved by the supporters and removing him would cause a backlash. Look, when SKC started last season or the season before on the road with a long losing streak, or when LA started last season with a long losing streak, it didn’t impact the team in the long run, and didn’t define their seasons.

    Yes the Chicago loss was frustrating, but the fact is RBNY have played only 2 games at home thus far. Overall, the team looks good, but just needs to build more chemistry and continue making tweaks. Already the defense looks better without Roy Miller. Kevin Hartman will soon come in for the shaky Robles, who will work out his kinks with the GK coach as a backup GK. Luyindula will either get sharper finishing chances or will stop starting games.

    It’s STILL incredibly early in the season to be very negative, or critical for that matter.


  • slowleftarm

    I still feel good about this team. Give it a little more time and everything will be fine. I’d love to see the third DP spot used for a center back.

    Also Mike is being kind. It isn’t on him that Robles misplayed the cross that led to Chicago’s first goal. Or that Peguy can’t finish great chances.


    • felipe

      I agree – NYRB have had some bad luck early on( a ton of shots off woodwork) – they knock it around ok – i, for one, will be a bit more patient before hitting the panic/firePetke button


  • El Naranja

    Petke, dude, you are totally protecting your players. Don’t blame yourself. For years Marquez and Henry have said that their teammates suck (in various ways) and if they had better teammates, they’d actually win something. Clearly these two wonderous talents from *bow* Europe *bow* know what they’re talking about.



  • inkedAG

    If anything, Petke knows how to man up and take responsibility.

    If only his players could do the same.


  • Gilbert

    What the hell does Mike Petke know about coaching soccer? Its a joke that he has the job. PERIOD


  • The Squad

    OK so things ain’t what they should be….

    Petke does the right thing here in managing the criticism and sort of taking a page from Lou Piniella’s media playbook.

    But as everyone understands

    Its early.

    At times, the team has shown signs of being one of the better sides in MLS in terms of generating pressure around the goal.

    Of course, the issue of integrating all of these parts is a work in progress. Petke understands his roster. he speaks as if he understands in-game management. the key to this thing seems to be the ability of the squad to exert some sort of ‘will’ on the game.

    The Montreal road game had some good stuff

    Second half sense of purpose
    Quality shots from key guys
    Decent defensive work against a solid squad (first half at least)
    A realistic 90 minute effort w/o TH

    Unfortunately, Chicago put it together in front of their home crowd.

    There’s some solid experience on this club…this thing should come together sooner rather than later


  • The Squad


    The need to get something going for Cahill (A fit Cahill, of course) No reason this guy can’t be a solid Keane-like scoring option up top or withdrawn.

    Juninho seems a bit of a specialist but a highly skilled one.

    These guys have to find a mix between on the field improv based on the football experience some of these players possess and Petke’s concern over late game management.

    Of course, the team is not mid-season fit and if they stick with the current rotation these things will come.

    Would they have time to do such if there were say a Queen’s (Long island)-based franchise around the corner?

    Point is…Media pressure is not really on at the moment. Management may remain patient.


  • Sabella

    I think this is a better Red Bulls team than last year. It’s early and the guys have not started to gel yet. They will make a mid season run to secure a playoff spot and then probably choke in the playoffs. But hey, you never know!


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