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Report: Red Bulls fire head coach Petke


Photo by Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports



Mike Petke has led the Red Bulls to two of the most successful seasons in the club’s history, but even that wasn’t enough to keep his job as the team’s head coach.

Metro New York is reporting that the Red Bulls have fired Petke, who led the club to its first trophy in the team’s 2013 Supporters’ Shield-winning campaign.

Petke was reportedly relieved of his duties by newly appointed sporting director Ali Curtis after a meeting Tuesday.

After claiming the top regular season prize in 2013, Petke’s Red Bulls opened the postseason by knocking off reigning champions Sporting KC and top-seeded D.C. United in the 2014 playoffs before being ousted by the New England Revolution.

Prior to becoming manager, Petke played seven seasons with the club as a defender over two separate stints.


What do you make of the Red Bulls move? Who do you expect to replace Petke? What’s next for the fired coach?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Really trying hard to understand this, but I can’t. I’m an eternal optimist when it comes to NY/NJ but this is a little painful, especially if it’s Marsch who comes in. He is not a head coach, not even a very good analyst. The rhetoric a year ago was stability… and they had more or less held true true to their word, for once, until now.

  2. Why do people think Mike Petke was anything special? Just because he played in New York? He didn’t bring you a championship as a player and wasn’t going to do it as a coach. I am sure he is a nice guy but couldn’t handle the situation. What DP is going to listen to a guy who as a player was so far beneath them talent wise? Think Henry or Cahill give two flips about what Petke has to say after playing for Wenger, Moyes, etc?

    Moving on…

    • I think the reaction of people who actually follow this club should tell you you’re wrong. And most successful coaches weren’t big-time players. Wenger, for example, was a marginal player, but somehow stars listened to him. Same with Mourinho. Thanks for your thoughts but please do better next time. Moving on…

      • Yes, Red Bull are definitely moving on. Guy didn’t even know the rules for a yellow card during the playoffs.

        With the money spent on the team something had to give. I can’t give Petke much credit with the team and players he had assembled for him. I am sure they could go out and win a bunch of games without much instruction as it was.

    • Enter Head Coach Jesse Marsch.

      The ears of footballing legends everywhere, not just in the Red Bull locker room, flex a little, straining to drink in the words of wisdom from this man, their new leader. A man who has completed 1 year of coaching in Montreal…

  3. @slowleftarm

    Well, now your horrendous 2015 may also include a backlash from fans and lead to less filled stadiums and less merchandise and concession sales. That won’t exactly attract investors now will it?

    • Or an empty stadium could lead to Red Bull selling up cheap. There will always be ownership groups interested, but only at the right price.

      • So what is the correct price ? Seems to be $100 million for huge market MLS teams.

        (Maybe Savarese didn’t join Houston because he wanted to be with the Cosmos……in MLS…where is El Paso ?!?!? )

    • What do you mean my “horrendous 2015”? I meant if this is setting the stage for Red Bull to exit, then it’s worth it but otherwise this is garbage and the team is going to be horrible next year when RBNY puts out a team with cheap no-names.

  4. I’m willing to suffer through a horrendous season in 2015 if it’s because Red Bull is selling. Presumably someone willing to pay what it will cost to buy this team will also spend to get some good DPs. And not having the team named Red Bulls will really help. Personally, it doesn’t bother me but it repels a lot of people for some reason.

  5. Obviously, RB are about to announce they have lured Sir Alex out of retirement to become the next head coach and are about to sign Messi to a DP deal.

    Either that Hans Backe has become available and Juan Carlos Osorio is returning as his chief assistant.

    Madness this. I won’t be attending any games this coming year.

  6. I’m so sick of this garbage. 2015 will mark TWO DECADES of incompetent leadership in this organization. And just when it looks like things are turning around, when the team wins the Supporter’s Shield and then has a nice playoff run the next season, the higher ups at Red Bull decide to go batsh!t crazy. No replacements brought in for some of our best players, bringing Curtis in on a one year contract, now firing Petke.

    THIS is why soccer isn’t succeeding in the NYC area. We don’t tolerate idiots and failures. We’ve got better crap to do.

    And it looks like Not Your City’s FC is following Red Bulls lead.

  7. MLS is a parity league and it is hard to figure out which team is the best right now.

    It is NOT hard to figure out the worst. That team is now terrible.
    Sorry NY fans. Hope things turn around. On the outside, without knowing the inside scoop, you need new ownership.

  8. You know, just yesterday I thought about posting RBNY’s new marketing theme to the most recent NYC FC article, and the main slogan was going to be,

    “At least we’re not NYC FC!”

    And then they became NYC FC.

  9. Crazy…some stability finally and then this…what’s the incentive? …to buy tickets, forget about considering season ticket?….why not switch to nycfc? unfortunately I’ll be following metros next season, but forget about season tickets. Good Luck Mike P.

  10. I’m a Metrostars fan, but this organization makes it very difficult to stay that way.

    Petke was one of my favorite players for the club and an excellent manager of it. He had his flaws, but his results were tremendous over the last 2 seasons. Just a terrible bit of business here.

  11. Wow.

    What a ****** chance to take over the NY market that was absolutely ******* wasted by NYRB! In the midst of NYCFC’s debacle, this may be the dumbest thing I’ve seen from this team, possibly ever.

    If this turns out to be true, goodbye NYRB. You’ve lost me.

  12. You’re all assuming there is a plan that will make sense for the fanbase or the success of the team in the coming year. The ONLY plan Red Bull has had for this team was to get the eff away from it. They are slashing cost and cleaning deck to allow a new ownership group maximum flexibility after a takeover.

    If that means tanking this year because everyone’s on a 1 year deal and they’d shed talent, then so be it.

    I can toooooooooootally see why MLS needed TWO NY teams and not one in NC.

  13. A few thoughts on this:

    1. In hindsight,….Red Bulls efforts to focus on continuity in 2014 paid off. There was a certain level of stability within the team and coaching staff and the team built momentum toward the end of the season and were a whisker away from MLS Cup. Not bad. Furthermore, as a supporter who had become sick and tired of the constant overhauls this club has had in its history (Metros and Red Bulls),…2014 was a breath of fresh air. No this,…front office overhaul, coaching change, Henry, Olave,….out the door. Cahill most likely. Mama Mia!

    2. I have been railing for the past few weeks the Red Bulls should focus on signings that would form the ‘spine’ of the team,….particularly USMNT pool players in their prime. Ream, Diskerud, Altidore. Now comes the news that NYFC has snapped up Diskerud. Nothing from the Red Bulls except exits and loans (out).

    3. It must not have been easy for Petke,….learning on the job, dealing with HUGE personalities (Henry, in particular),…nevertheless there was success. You would have thought he would have got the benefit of the doubt, at minimum and had one more season to prove his worth. UNLESS, word around town was that Red Bulls succeeded in spite of Petke.

    4. Obviously, Curtis deserves some time,…but my eyebrows will be raised if he hires a foreign coach. The history at Metro/Red Bull with foreign coaches is abysmal.

    5. Could there be a Bob Bradley return to MLS on the horizon? Makes sense. If the money is right for BB.

    In conclusion,…here we go again. I hope Curtis knows what he is doing. All that said,..this stuff is not difficult for anyone who knows the game, has foresight and strong managerial skills. So hear is the plan,…make a big play BB, May a play to repatriate Ream, Mix (doh!), Jozy, Agudelo and see if Andrew Wenger is available.

  14. Red Bulls renewed Petke’s contract one month ago, now they will have to pay him for another year. That was before Ali Curtis and his 300 page plan. Definately seems like Ali Curtis’s decision.

  15. So – let’s review.

    Henry gone. Olave gone. Petke gone.

    Meanwhile, Gerrard to LA. Mix to NYCFC.

    I’m thinking of clever things to say to the fellow from RBNY who sent me an e-mail invitation to buy season tickets.

    This organization puts the “con” in “confusing.”

    • I would be seriously reconsidering my status as a season ticket holder but I’ve already paid for next year. No wonder they pushed so hard to get people to renew so early.

  16. This, combined with some other moves (Curtis on a single-year contract; Fraser leaving…), has the earmarks of an ownership group getting ready to sell.

    • The fact that Curtis came from the league office, with no experience running a club, is also worrisome. Is he there just to manage Red Bull’s exit?

      But hey- we got Sal Zizzo!

    • Even though I hope you’re right, I kinda disagree. An acquisition target is generally more attractive with an existing operation in place (provided it can be removed, if new ownership would prefer a fresh start). Doing this would only seem to alienate buyers who might actually have liked Petke… it would be very awkward to try to go and re-hire him after this– and he may not even be available by the time a sale gets done.

      New ownership can always change the key management and strategy once they have come in… to have the ship floating adrift with no direction right now would seem to reduce the value of the asset, no?

      • I do suppose I could see my way around to this, if it turned out that RB had already identified and effectively negotiated a deal with a prospective buyer. Under such a hypothetical scenario, it’s possible the new owners asked RB to can Petke on their way out the door, so as not to risk alienating any existing fans who might have liked Petke as the manager.

    • I can live with this if it means Red Bull sells but otherwise, I’m pretty annoyed. We can wait to see who the new coach is before really judging this move but I’m pretty sure it’s some no name hack like Backe. Seriously, this is an organization that thought hiring Hans Backe was a good idea. Think about that.

  17. I have not always loved Petke’s tactics or decision-making — at times its has seemed remarkably bullheaded in the face of borderline performances based on high-level of personnel he had at his disposal. But as with any criticism of the organization, the first thing to notice is that he won a Supporter’s Shield and was a goal away from a (deserved) MLS Cup final. The second thing to notice is that he has worn his heart on the sleeve about this club and was a symbol of an honest-to-goodness grass roots soccer foundation for the club. Firing him absent true insubordination or some other automatic offense strikes me as a huge mistake for an organization on increasingly shaky grounds with its fans. To borrow from another context, will Red Bull be a club that never fails to fail to miss an opportunity?

  18. “As you all know first prize is an MLS Cup. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of Supporters Shields. Third prize is you’re fired.

    “Get the picture? You laughing now?”

  19. I have been a NYREDBULLS fan for years going back to Keel Cam. If this is true then forget about this season. It was hard enough missing Henry and now about the news about Petke I am no no longer a fan. It’s not fun amymore being a NYREDBULLS fan, it’s just Sad!

  20. LUNACY!



    Right, fire the only guy who ever won anything… On account of what? Is Moyes coming to get Timmy to behave like a proper footballer? Is there some great candidate out there who we are overlooking who is about to get his due?

    Is Richie Williams finally getting his shot with Metro Bulls Pink Energy Drink inc.?

  21. Man, that’s tough for Petke…a fine thank you for turning that dysfunctional bunch around.

    Has NYFC upped the ante so high that Red Bull brass feel the need to bring in a high profile coach to be competitive?

    • They hired Jesse Marsch. Twellman just confirmed it on twitter. So no, not a high profile hire.

      Chances are they’re going super cheap, all young players and no more DPs. Petke had apparently been objecting to the new direction for a while, so they brought in Marsch (probably on a cheaper contract than Petke) because he was ok with constructing a team that way.

  22. I almost spit out my water when I read the headline. Unbelievable. I feel really bad for the guy. Since I’m a Chicago fan, I obviously don’t follow the Red Bulls too closely, but wasn’t this Petke’s only club back from Metro days? From player,
    to coaching staff, and to finally taking over on an interim then later permanent basis after Backe? I know if Twitter is any gauge, he is an emotional guy. Insane.

    • Petke won an MLS Cup title in 2004 with my DC United team. But other than that brief switch to DC I think most of his career was spent with Metro/NYRB.

    • Well put.

      Oh by the way I’d be happy if RSL could get Petke. I’m not feeling it from Jeff Cassar but this year will tell us everything I guess for both NYRB and RSL. One things certain though and that’s Mike Petke is a very promising coach and will only get better. Dumb move by NYRB.

    • I think management felt that the coaching staff did not prep the team adequately and made a lot of minor or niggling mistakes. Case in point: There was a lot of finger pointing when BWP made a bad mistake and got a yellow card against NE that kept him out of what was possibly their biggest game of the season in the second leg of the Eastern Conference final. To BWP’s credit he blamed himself but admitted he did not know of the rule. You would think that would be a BIG talking point in a pre-game prep, but it was learned that neither Petke or anyone on the coaching staff informed BWP of the rule, which was(is) different from the regular season. It was possibly the accumulation of these mistakes that cost him his job. But you need to give neophyte coaches room and forbearance to make these mistakes and learn.Apparently the management felt the team needed a more experienced coach and Petke was not it.

      • Since when is interfering with the goalie’s throw ever legal??? That is no one’s fault but idiot BWP. Sometimes a little common sense goes a long way. Certainly you can’t blame Petke for that.

      • I thought that was a bad mistake. I’m not expecting Petke to personallyt keep track but he needs to have someone on his staff responsible for keeping track of this stuff and informing the players. Ultimately, it’s on him because apparently there was no one responsible for letting guys know the rules.

  23. Wah?

    This is…befuddling.

    Unless they’re planning on splashing some serious cash for the likes of a David Moyes – which just ain’t in the cards for the Red Bulls right now the way they seem to be slashing salary – I dunno exactly what they’re thinking here.

    Why spend all the money building the organization up, just to go on a shoestring dime and go cheap now?

    • Yeah… back to back play off seasons is pretty good… Unless its something that has nothing to do with the results….

    • Yup… it pretty much all comes down to the question, “Do they have a superior replacement lined up”… if they do, then I think it’s fine. Petke’s inexperience showed on quite a few occasions this year, and if NYRB have a more proven and viable option ready-to-go, then I can see the logic.

      But Petke wasn’t a total write-off. The guy seemed like he was “learning on the job” but that’s not a crime in itself so long as the learning is actually happening… Plenty of great managers have had to do this, and were fortunate enough to be given the chance.

    • I was RB’s biggest fan and most devoted employee. They “terminated my position” 2 weeks before Christmas with a newborn and 4 weeks unused (unreimbursed) paternity time so my full year’s employer 401k match was nullified (you have to be employee on Dec 31st to receive). THEY DON’T CARE. They make it impossible to like them.


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