Real Salt Lake narrowly missed the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2017, however, Mike Petke’s efforts as manager were valiant in turning the club around.
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Those efforts didn’t go unnoticed, and the former MLS defender now has some job security with the club.
RSL announced on Thursday that Petke has earned a three-year contract extension with team, after going 13-12-4 in his first season with the Western Conference side.
“Loyalty is huge for me. I am ecstatic about Mr. Hansen coming to me and offering me this contract,” Petke said in the wake of Thursday’s big announcement. “I’m ecstatic at the prospect of being here at least three more years. And I’m excited and ecstatic about what I think we can accomplish together – Mr. Hansen, (General Manager) Craig Waibel, myself, the players … the whole organization. I’m on cloud nine because I have an owner who values me, likes what I’m doing and wants to reward me for that.”
The 41-year-old took over for Jeff Cassar, who was at the helm for RSL since the start of the 2014 regular season, on March 29 and narrowly missed out on the postseason — finishing just one point behind the San Jose Earthquakes for sixth place in the West.
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Prior to taking the reins as manager, Petke managed RSL’s USL side, Real Monarchs FC, briefly with just one match under his belt in 2017.
Petke began his managerial career in 2013 when he was selected to coach the New York Red Bulls, whom he spent seven of his 14 MLS seasons as a player.
Mike Petke is getting a deserved next kick as an MLS coach.
The New York Red Bulls icon, 41, is taking over at Real Salt Lake, where he had been leading USL side Real Monarchs since December.
“They’re an animal waiting to be released from a cage,” Petke called RSL’s roster.
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Petke won better than 41 percent of his matches as RBNY boss, leading the club to the 2013 Supporters’ Shield. This came after 351 matches between Colorado, the Red Bulls/MetroStars, and DC United.
He leaves Real Monarchs with a perfect 1-0 record. Unbeaten!
“The vision that he laid out, along with Craig and Rob, was music to my ears,” Petek said. “They really showed me what was ahead for the RSL organization, and it was an easy thing to be a part of.”
Petke thanked the Monarchs for restoring some of his love for managing, something he said was “kicked out of me”. The Red Bulls shockingly parted ways with Petke in January 2015, moving onto Jesse Marsch.
This is a low risk hire for Real, who gains a respected coach and soccer mind. The optics aren’t great coming so early into the season and so soon after his hiring at Monarchs raised eyebrows.
The hiring comes four days after RSL drew the Red Bulls 0-0 at Red Bull Arena, which is the only disappointment of this whole ordeal: Not getting to see the response at his old home.
Jeff Cassar is out as head coach of Real Salt just three games into the 2017 season, the MLS club announced on Monday.
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Cassar became the boss at Rio Tinto Stadium following Jason Kreis’s departure in the weeks after MLS Cup 2013. Cassar’s RSL teams posted an overall record of 38W-37L-30D during his tenure, qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2014 and 2016, but failing to advance to the next round on either occasion.
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With his last contract set to expire over the offseason, Cassar was handed only a one-year contract following RSL’s elimination from the 2016 playoffs, making Monday’s news hardly surprising.
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Assistant coach Daryl Shore will take over in the interim. Former New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke was named head coach of Real Monarchs, RSL’s USL affiliate, during the offseason. His name will be spoken regularly in speculating about Cassar’s replacement. Robin Fraser, who served as an RSL assistant from 2007-2010 and has two seasons of experience as head coach of Chivas USA, is another popular pick.
Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl caught up with new Shanghai Greenland Shenhua attacker Tim Cahill, and the Aussie star has a lot to say about his departure from New York Red Bulls and the state of the club.
NYRB sporting director Ali Curtis has faced backlash since his firing of beloved head coach Mike Petke and the subsequent retooling of the roster.
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And Cahill respects the rebuilding process, but didn’t want to be a part of it. Sure, Sacha Kljestan is coming, but Cahill shares some concerns with, well, us.
From Sports Illustrated:
“But I feel when you start all over again, at 35 years old I don’t know whether I’m ready to do that. Especially with some influential players [gone]: Oyongo, one of the top performers from last year; Eric Alexander, the most consistent player I ever played with at the Red Bulls, a player that me and Thierry spoke very highly of time and time again; Olave, one of the best defenders in the league. So it definitely is a new transition for the New York Red Bulls, and you can see there’s a method to what he’s doing there, and I think it’s going to take time. But I wish them all the very best.”
One thing Cahill doesn’t get? Firing Petke.
“Two seasons: Supporters’ Shield and one goal from the final. So I really feel for him. He’s a fan favorite. They loved him, but they loved him for a reason. Because he loved the club more than anyone else ever will. I know that for a fact.”
It’s a really good piece from Wahl, also delving into why he chose China as his next stop, whether he considers his time in New York a success, and lofty thoughts about the Socceroos’ recent Asian Cup triumph.
And I want to stress one more time… trading Alexander was a huge sacrifice, one that will show for a while in New York (and probably Montreal).
The last 24 hours sure have been quite
uneventful and boring ridiculous and very “Red Bulls-like” for the New York Red Bulls and their fans, haven’t they?
There’s been the shocking firing of head coach Mike Petke, there’s been the surprise hiring of Jesse Marsch as Petke’s replacement, there’s been the Jozy Altidore-to-RBNY (or two other MLS teams) rumor reported by Taylor Twellman, and now we have the Red Bulls reportedly hot on the trail of another former MLS export and US national team (semi-)regular.
According to Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep, the Red Bulls are “in talks” with Anderlecht and sometimes-USMNT midfielder Sacha Kljestan about a return to MLS, the league in which Kljestan began his professional career as a member of now-defunct Chivas USA.
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Kljestan was a teammate of the new Red Bulls head coach during their shared time at Chivas USA. Marsch went on to become a USMNT assistant in 2010, a time in which Kljestan was regularly involved in the national team setup.
Kljestan nearly returned home last summer, to the LA Galaxy, but the proposed deal fell apart in the transfer window’s final days. The Southern California native re-upped on a new, three-year contract with Anderlecht in March 2013, meaning the Red Bulls and/or MLS would likely be on the hook for a decently-sized transfer fee.
The Red Bulls’ reported interest in Kljestan could also signify the end of Tim Cahill’s time with the club, which has long been speculated during and after a tumultuous 2014 season in which the $3.5-million-per-year Designated Player scored just two goals in the regular season.