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.
The standings: Timbers clinch the West’s 1-seed; Whitecaps fall to West’s 3-seed
The game: For the entirety of the regular season, no one wanted to finish top of the Western Conference. That lasted until the final day of the season, as the Vancouver Whitecaps, who sat atop the West for the last two months, lost 2-1 to the Portland Timbers and fell all the way to the 3-seed (and the knockout round) on the back of the Seattle Sounders’ 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids. Kendall Waston put the visitors ahead on the half-hour mark, but Liam Ridgewell quickly equalized and Darren Mattocks came back to bite his old team with the game-winning goal in the 48th minute.
29′ — Waston heads home from a free kick for 1-0 — Waston has had himself a pretty good month or so, turning into a regular goalscorer for Vancouver and helping Costa Rica clinch their place at the 2018 World Cup.
48′ — Mattocks beats his former club, makes it 2-1 — Vytautas Andriuskevicius (Vytas) cut the ball back for Mattocks, and the Jamaican picked out the 40 square inches that weren’t completely obscured at the near post.
The standings: Sporting KC clinch the West’s 5-seed; RSL finish 8th in the West
The game: On the bright side, RSL’s revival, which began after three games when Jeff Cassar was fired and Mike Petke was named the new boss, is complete. On the not-so-bright side, so is their season. Petke galvanized a young RSL side over the course of six months and turned them into legitimate playoff contenders, only to come up short on the final day of the regular season. Luis Silva and Brooks Lennon each bagged a goal in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Sporting KC. Speaking of not-so-bright sides, Sporting’s regular season ends with three losses and two draws from their final five games. In that span, they went from competing for the West’s no. 1 spot, to something of an afterthought with a trip to the Houston Dynamo in the knockout round on tap.
41′ — Lennon gets two chances, makes it 2-0 — Silva drew the attention of four defenders and managed to move the ball wide to Lennon. Andrew Dykstra did well enough to make the initial save, but the rebound fell right back to Lennon, who left no doubt about it with his follow-up.
— Vancouver finishes first with a win or draw at Portland. The ‘Caps could finish as low as third with a loss to Portland and a Seattle win versus Colorado.
— Portland finishes first — and wins the Cascadia Cup — with a win over visiting Vancouver.
— Seattle can claim a first round bye with a win over visiting Colorado and a Vancouver win over Portland.
— Sporting KC can finish second with a win at Real Salt Lake and non-wins for Portland and Seattle.
Final playoff spot
— San Jose claims the sixth seed with a home win over Minnesota. They can also finish sixth with a draw joined by non-wins for FC Dallas at home to LA and Real Salt Lake at home versus SKC.
— FC Dallas claims the sixth seed with a win over LA and a San Jose draw or loss versus Minnesota. FCD gets sixth with a draw, and a San Jose loss coupled with a RSL loss or draw versus SKC.
— Real Salt Lake gets sixth with a win over SKC, and non-wins from San Jose and Dallas. RSL could also get sixth with a draw and losses for San Jose and Dallas.
Schedule FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy
DC United vs. New York Red Bulls
San Jose vs. Minnesota United
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
Houston vs. Chicago
Seattle vs. Colorado
Philadelphia vs. Orlando City
Portland vs. Vancouver
Montreal vs. New England
New York City vs. Columbus
Atlanta vs. Toronto
— NYCFC hangs on for a draw against Columbus, earning a bye, leaving Chicago to host New York Red Bulls and Atlanta off to Columbus for the first round of the playoffs (We have Toronto beating Atlanta on Sunday).
— Vancouver and Portland draw, while Seattle beats Colorado. The ‘Caps and Sounders get byes, while Seattle takes back the Cascadia Cup.
— San Jose beats Minnesota, gaining the West’s sixth seed. The Quakes head to Portland for the first round, while SKC hosts Houston.
Rusnak, 23, has seven goals and 12 assists for Real Salt Lake this season, and the DP attacking midfielder is in focus Thursday at Hampden Park in Scotland.
The Slovakian star won’t be worried about scouts, largely, as his side looks to clinch at least second place in UEFA World Cup qualifying Group F, but the BBC’s Simon Stone says he’s not likely to MLS for long thanks to interest in England, Germany, and Scotland (at the very least).
Scouts from clubs in all three countries will watch the 23-year-old in Glasgow before what is likely to be a move away from current Major League Soccer outfit Real Salt Lake in January.
Rusnak was with Manchester City from 2010-15, where his father was a scout. He took loans at Oldham Athletic, Birmingham City, and SC Cambuur before moving to Groningen and then RSL.
He has five caps for Slovakia, which sits five points back of England and a point ahead of Slovenia and Scotland. His RSL side has surged into the Top Six and looks to maintain playoff positioning over the final two matches.