Red Bulls legend and former head coach Mike Petke is expected to be named the new head coach of Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
RSL let it be known it will announce the replacement for recently-dismissed head coach Jeff Cassar in a press conference on March 29:
The news was swiftly followed by a flurry of anonymously sourced rumors, of which perhaps the most confident was that put forward by well-connected MLS reporter Paul Tenorio:
Tenorio's reporting was preceded by similar statements from Sirius XM employee Cristiano Oliveira and Bigsoccerhead podcast host Eric Krakauer.
Petke was hired as head coach of Real Monarchs earlier this year, his first head coaching job since his dismissal from the Red Bulls in 2015. In his first game at the helm, he led the team to a 2-1 win over Portland Timbers 2. He also appears to have acquired the nickname "The Gaffer" during his time in Utah.
Post match presser with the Gaffer. pic.twitter.com/c7pgIrIWWk— Real Monarchs (@RealMonarchs) March 26, 2017
As a player for the MetroStars/Red Bulls from 1998 to 2002 and from 2009 to 2010, Petke retired as the all-time minutes leader and appearances leader in club history - marks that would only barely be surpassed by Dax McCarty in 2016. His outstanding play as a defender in addition to his tenacity led to him being named one of the "Red Bulls Best 20 in 20" players in 2015, as part of RBNY's celebration of its 20th season.
From 2011 to 2012 he served as the assistant coach of the team under head coach Hans Backe. He took over the club in 2013 and led the club to its first silverware in team history - the 2013 Supporters' Shield.
After a disappointing finish to the 2014 campaign - the team fell one game short of the MLS Cup final in the playoffs - the Red Bulls hired Ali Curtis as sporting director, who promptly fired Petke and replaced him with Jesse Marsch.
Petke would spend a portion of the next two years as a pundit before being hired to coach the USL's Real Monarchs in December 2016.
Since the Red Bulls have already played Real Salt Lake this season, the only way they will play against a Petke-coached team will be in the US Open Cup, or the MLS Cup Final.