The routine was a familiar one for Mike Petke. Arrive at Red Bull Arena for game day. Start in the locker room before working your way down through the tunnel and onto the pitch. Get in some warm ups, head back to the locker room to sure up the game plan, and then through the tunnel and back to the pitch for kick off.
It was a systematic to-do list that Petke had checked off countless times as a player. But Saturday’s match against D.C. United was anything but ordinary. The boots, shorts and a jersey were traded in for dress shoes, suit, and tie. That’s been a variation of the case since his 2010 retirement and subsequent assistant coaching position with the Red Bulls, although this past weekend's run was a bit different, especially on the emotional end.
“It was a special day for me, walking out there in front of the home crowd,” Petke said. “It’s phenomenal to be at Red Bull Arena, in my first game there. I thought the guys did a great job in trying to get us the win. I think we were a bit unlucky, but at the end of the day I was very pleased with how they played and I was very pleased that they put on a show like that in front of our supporters in our stadium.”
Cementing his place in front of the Red Bulls’ bench, Petke watched his team unleash attack after attack on D.C. United, firing a total of 24 shots and creating chances that came within mere inches from deciding whether the Red Bulls would secure one point, or lock up an additional two on top in the team’s first ‘W’ of the season.
It was, as Petke said after the 0-0 draw, “not written in the stars.”
Disappointing as it was to not register a ‘W’ in his home head coaching debut, Petke is without a doubt confident in the team he has and knows the wins will come.
“Are we worried that we haven’t won yet? Not at all,” Petke said. “We have a good team. We’re continuing to improve. It’s a new coach, a lot of new players, a new system, a new style of play – not worried at all.”
The Red Bulls face a tough opponent Saturday when they visit Montreal to take on the 3-0 Impact. Watch all the action live on MSG starting with the pre-game show at 4:00 PM.
New York returns home on Mar. 30 to take on the Philadelphia Union. Get tickets now by visiting Red Bulls Ticket Central, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.