Mike Petke

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Real Salt Lake introduces Mike Petke as new head coach

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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.

RSL fires head coach Cassar three games into 2017 MLS season

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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.

Tim Cahill: Petke loved Red Bulls “more than anyone else ever will”


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).

Report: New York Red Bulls in talks with USMNT midfielder Sacha Kljestan

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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.

Ali Curtis says NYRB managerial change not about firing Petke, but hiring Marsch


A conference call with new NYRB sporting director Ali Curtis today saw the Red Bulls GM answer some questions about Mike Petke’s firing and Jesse Marsch’s hiring, but he dodged plenty of others.

After two incredibly successful seasons at the helm of New York Red Bulls, Mike Petke was fired with little explanation today, and in his place was put Jesse Marsch, former inaugural head coach of the Montreal Impact. Now, Curtis has put the responsibility on himself.

“This wasn’t about getting rid of Mike, this was about bringing in Jesse,” Curtis clarified. “It was a very difficult decision [to fire Petke]. At the end of the day, it was my decision, I own it.”

Unfortunately, we may have our first muddy situation of the Jesse Marsch era. If Curtis claims it wasn’t about firing Petke, but was about hiring Marsch, then why did this happen?

“New York inquired as to the availability of Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter, Columbus Crew manager Gregg Berhalter, and even discussed the job with LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena before offering Marsch the job.” -ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, per a source

There are plenty of unanswered questions, but if we read between the lines a little, we can see some of what is going on.

“We believe in a new approach,” Curtis said. “We have a commitment to excellence, and the fans will appreciate that, we hope.”

“A new approach” coupled with the Jeff Carlisle report from earlier seems to indicate an “anyone but Petke” stance much more than it does a “let’s get Marsch” stance from management in New York…which is odd considering Petke won the club its first Supporter’s Shield, brought them an Eastern Conference finals appearance, and compiled a 30-19-19 record in two seasons.

Curtis was asked during the conference call about whether the decision came from higher up than Curtis’s position, meaning if the decision was handed down from the Red Bull headquarters in Austria. While he dodged the question at that time, we got a glimpse later.

When asked how long ago this process was started, Curtis confirmed he made contact with Marsch about 10 days to two weeks ago. The kicker: Curtis was hired 15 days ago. While that doesn’t tell us if this came from ownership or not, there’s a definite feeling of change surrounding this club right now. And while it’s probably not fair to NYRB, the situation across town with Frank Lampard and the deceit that went along with it doesn’t help fans buy into what management here are saying if it sounds even a little fishy.

Other highlights from the conference call:

Marsch on the club situation: “I’m not here to change everything. A lot of the work over the last five years has been good.”

Marsch on transfer philosophy with a DP spot open: “I wants to bring in players that fit the club’s style of play.”

Neither party would discuss the contract length, with Marsh just saying he “hopes to be here for 5-10 years.”

Curtis dodged a question about potential DP signings, saying: “We want to bring players in that fit who we are as a club, and resonate with the fans and coaching staff.”