The New York Red Bulls are about to face a former friend of the club, both as a player and a head coach as Mike Petke returns to Red Bull Arena since he was sacked at the end of the 2014 MLS Season, after getting eliminated in the Eastern Conference Final by goal aggregate.
Those two seasons as head coach of the Red bulls for Mike Petke were successful seasons as he was the first of many to earn the Supporters Shield in his first year managing the club, like Jesse Marsch in 2015 and the second half of 2018 for Chris Armas taking over for Marsch.
“It’s a homecoming for Mike. He’s a New York kid, he’s got family here, he coached here and very successful here.” said Chris Armas “As far as I remember and whenever I was at Red Bull Arena to see him coach, he’s respected and well liked by the supporters, so in many was it’s a special place for him.
“I know him as well. He’s a competitor, and a pro. As passionate as he is, I don’t think he gets enough credit as he does as a coach. He has his team playing well, they have a clear way of playing and he’s coming for the three points.”
But for the first time managing against his former club, it should be interesting what kind of a reception he will get, because I believe there will be plenty of positives and I wouldn’t be surprised if the South Ward gave Petke a standing ovation in the 12th minute, because he use to wear the #12 on his jersey.
But RSL is currently in sixth place in the Western Conference with nineteen points and fifteen behind the top spot of Los Angeles FC, they are also one point ahead of FC Dallas who is currently in seventh and just ahead of the playoff line. This is a side that has a blue collared mentality, from their Long Island head coach.
“Their good . I can’t say I watch all of their games for the full ninety minutes, but I have watched the clips, yet I watched them and they have guys who put things together.” said Kemar Lawrence “If you give them chances, they will take it, because they have guys who are very shifty and they can run..
“We were the best defensive team last year, we got two shutouts against Atlanta United and FC Cincinnati, but we have to get back to how stopped other teams from scoring against us, and I feel like we are going to get it right.”
Remember the long distance golaso from Jefferson Savarino that took down Atlanta United back at Rio Tinto Stadium? That is the type of blue collared hard work that Mike Petke has brought to this Real Salt Lake side and that’s why they are a very dangerous club.
But the most dangerous player on this side is the goalkeeper Nick Rimando who has already said that 2019 is his final season playing for the club and in MLS. This keeper who was a member of the Red Bulls for a short period of time, has been a major thorn in their side.
Even when he was playing with an injury, Rimando has found ways to make a huge save and thwart any chance of an equalizer, let alone a game winning goal, but we think the boys are going to know what they are instore for in this match.
“We talked about his qualities, they know it, we know him. The players know about him, he’s hard to beat, he’s a great shot stopper.” said Armas “He reads the game well, he plays off his line, he cuts off chances, before they become chances because of how he reads the play.
“That’s the reason why for the longevity as a player. Because he isn’t just a competitor, he’s also a winner. We’ve seen that with the National Team, as well as the highest level. We have a lot of respect and I have a lot of respect for him as a player.”
As most of you know the New York Red Bulls have been drawn with the New England Revolution, as they will host the match at their USL Championship stadium inside Montclair State University’s Soccer Park, on Tuesday, June 11th at 7:30PM
The hope is to get back to the final for the first time since 2017 and trying to earn a major trophy, but their next opponent will be Real Salt Lake and the homecoming of Mike Petke, while trying to earn the full three points against Real Salt Lake.