MLS- New York Red Bulls

Petke discusses Red Bulls' need for creativity, Convey, and more

Mike Petke


New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke has every right to be frustrated.

The 2013 Supporters Shield champions were battered 4-1 in their opening matchup with the Vancouver Whitecaps. They followed that performance with a generally dominant effort against a young Colorado Rapids side, only to have a questionable penalty call cause them to walk away with just one point.

After emerging with just a draw from their opening two contests, Petke is looking for his team to show a little bit more creativity this weekend when they take on the Chicago Fire.

“Our midfield play and forwards, at times, were lacking creativity,” Petke said on a conference call Tuesday afternoon. “It’s not down to one specific person. You can’t point your finger at one person. There’s other people that have to move and get open and make those runs. To keep analyzing individuals, this is a team sport.”

“I think our off-ball movement has to be much better coming out of the back,” Petke continued. “We played a lot of long balls. It’s easy to point at the back defenders who have the ball at their feet and blame them, but it’s whats going on in front of them. At the end of the day, it’s just getting a bit more creative with where you are on the field, just shifting here and there to force defenders to make decisions.”

Here are more notes from Petke’s call with the media:


After Saturday’s game against the Rapids, offseason acquisition Bobby Convey was seen with a noticeable limp in the locker room. Convey, who played 67 minutes agains the Rapids, should be ready to go for this weekend’s game in Chicago.

“Obviously, Bobby has just a little bit of a knock on his calf,” said Petke. “It wasn’t serious, but it was enough that it was bothering him a little bit. He was here today and he played the full time.”

Aside from Convey, the Red Bulls have a healthy squad. However, Petke is planning on using the week between games as a chance to give his players a chance to rest.

“Aside from that, we have a couple of guys tired, but we have five days now, so we have plenty of time to recover.”


Coming off of a trophy winning campaign, it’s natural for a team to become complacent. Despite the lackluster start to the season, Petke isn’t concerned about his team lacking motivation.

“All the motivation they need is that they are professional soccer players playing in the New York area for the Red Bulls in a beautiful stadium. They get treated very well and that’s all the motivation that they need.

“Sometimes I try to motivate them with a story or something like that, but it’s not that often. They’re men at the end of the day.”


Prior to the Red Bulls’ battle with the Rapids, the club unveiled a banner commemorating the 2013 Supporters Shield winning campaign. Accompanying the banner was a large display tifo display created by Red Bull Arena’s South Ward depicting Mike Petke holding the Supporters Shield trophy across the New York skyline.

Petke was overall appreciative of the recognition given to him by his club’s supporters.

“I was very honored, as always, by the South Ward and the Red Bull fans and supporters,” Petke said. “It was a little eerie, a little strange, looking up, to be honest with you, because I have 11 guys in front of me that go out there and play the game. It’s really not about me at all. I was very honored and humbled by that.”

Petke also stated that he tried his best not to be drawn in by the display, while also joking that he didn’t want to get caught staring.

“I wouldn’t say I was intentionally not looking at it,” said Petke. “I gave it a look. The last thing I was is for the camera to catch me staring at myself.”

Overall, it was the latest moment between Petke and Red Bull supporters that dates back the New York native’s debut with the team in 1998.

“For them to do something like that,” added Petke, “it’s another reason why I have the respect I have for them and the loyalty I have to them.”

    • @MLS_Biblical

      If you read the caption, or the article, or perhaps even saw the picture, you would have noticed that this has nothing to do with Julian Green…….


  • @MLS_Biblical

    Petke is right. Both games I would see the defenders try to hold the ball up but the midfield need to do a better job moving around, getting open, and checking in for the ball. If no one is moving around or getting open, of course the defenders are going to continue and just send long balls.

    I think Henry and Cahill need to sit down with the team, analyze the games and show Dax, Convey, Steele, Alexander, Peguy, etc., where they should be moving / rotating so that they can get the ball forward without having to send long balls.


  • Tim F.

    With the exception of Espindola, it’s the same cast of characters on the offensive end as last year and the team added Convey. Did they somehow forget their collective creativity? What happened?


  • RB

    “They followed that performance with a generally dominant effort against a young Colorado Rapids side, only to have a questionable penalty call cause them to walk away with just one point.”


    They were most certainly anything but “generally dominant” against the Rapids. Might want to check that description against the box score, or for that matter, Ives’ comments on the podcast when reviewing the match.


  • Ryan

    As much as Petke doesn’t think a true playmaker fits into his style of play and formation, I think we really need that type of player. Juninho was that type but obviously was older. We need that one guy that can hold the ball a little, bring it up into the middle, and pick out Sam on the wing, or a through ball to Titi, or an over the top to Bradley. Is Peguy that guy? He can be. But I think we may see this type of player come August in the transfer window. Until then we need to get it up the field quicker and attack. Go Red Bulls!


  • Brain Guy

    Um, how about playing Luyindula in the CM role in which he excelled last year, instead of putting him up top with Henry or on the bench? Cahill is better when he plays closer to goal anyway.


    • Ryan

      I agree and in preseason he looked sharp in that role. Let Henry stay shaded on the left up top, Cahill running from the middle and Sam bombing down the right wing…Peguy will have multiple options. I love Steele and Alexander for their dedication and work rate and they were truly a huge part of the success last year. Having said that, we need more creative bite in the offensive end of the field!


    • Dainja


      I feel like i’m the only person who feels like this. Two reasons why Luyindula HAS to start at CM:
      (a) it puts one of the best finishers in MLS, Cahill, closer to goal uptop, cuz Cahill’s talent is almost wasted at CM

      (b) Luyindula is a better CM, than Wright-Phillips is a forward. period.


      • Atl√©ticoUnionCity

        Make that four of us. I hope Mr. Petke gets his tactics right this time for the upcoming match vs. Chitown. It’s clear to me Luyindula is the tip of a diamond midfield. Bradley Phillips first sub off the bench.


  • Aguinaga

    I criticize Petke for the lack of creativity on Saturday. He’s a legend, but gotta tell it like it is. We enough game control to win, but could rarely threaten with a dangerous shot. It was clear at half-time that NY needed Peguy in the game, BWP out, and Cahill up top. Instead, we got a 60+ min like for like sub (Steele for Convey), another like for like in Alexander for Sam in the 70+, and finally Peguy in the 85th. If we lacked creativity, why did he make his most creative player the last sub?


  • Cosmosfan

    Lack of energy, motivation and creativity? Sounds like every Red Bull cloned club ive seen here since 2006.


    • slowleftarm

      Even the Supporters Shield winning team from last season? Watching RBNY sure beats watching minor league soccer in a college stadium in Hempstead.


  • Alex

    Why in the world does Convey start over Steele??
    He is clearly our of shape or just lacking focus.
    As early as 10 min into the game I did not see him coming back in time and was slowly jogging back like he is 50 yr old veteran. Luckily Roy Miller on that flank has insane work ethics and was able to cover ground for both of them.

    I think Petke needs to do with Convey what he did with Sam last year..toughen up on his expectations of him and bench him with 15 min combined playing time in 3 games so he start working his ass off. Former superstar my a$$, I’m sorry but you don’t come into a new team and jog back like a disabled person 10 minutes into a home opener.

    I really hope Johnny Steele is starting this weekend, even in his 23 minutes on the field last week he did more than Convey in 2 games.


    • Dos

      I was at the game – that’s a lot of hyperbole without context, I sat on Convery’s side of the field. He was very aggressive positionally, but thats likely exactly what NYRB/Petke wanted considering they were matched up against 2 very inexperienced players at home.

      They got the better of O’Neill multiple times, and a lot of the attack came through the left side early on. He wasn’t out there to defend, he was out there to attack. Here is a hint – if you can’t leave Roy Miller, an international player, to mark Dillon Serna on an island than you are not going to go very far.

      Take into account the nuance of gameplan – they didn’t sign Bobby Convey to impress people with his “hustle back on defense”.


  • Nasl.to El paso tx

    MLS teams dont have a 10 and when an MLS team has a 10, they.get massacred by the toughness and ugly play of the league.


  • Yevgeniy

    I think the issue is that it’s hard for Henry and Cahill to co-exist in the starting 11. If you play Cahill as a central mid, it’s not his position. He surely is not in the top 10 central mids in MLS. If you play him as a forward, then you have to sit BWP and now you have 2 forwards in Henry and Cahill and neither of them is an all-out forward, they both tend to drop back.


      • Yevgeniy

        It was. Yes, I know we won SS and scored the most goals, but a lot of it was due to Cahill scoring some very timely goals. Let’s admit it. It’s not like we looked superior to all other teams


  • Michael Cavanaugh

    The leauge has improved greatlly. Teams spent money Toronto I dont need to make a list. We dont have a legit national team member. I love Dax and Eric hope they make it.I get not wanting break team but you have to compete much as I hate the playoffs thats how it is We didnt win last year. Steele Covet wright phillips alexander lot people same level people gonna have to sit. Peguy needs to start until at best We sign 3rd dp. Why We havent so far who knows. Villa Xavi young star from south america has to get done. We also could use a good striker on loan. You see the teams la seattle getting people its frustating We will tropys this year in henry I trust


    • NASL to El Paso tx

      Ronaldinho is waiting but MLS is taking their sweet time. I think galaxy nd red bull need ronaldinho and put a young player to learn from him on the bench.


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