The New York Red Bulls enter this weekend’s match against the New England Revolution fresh off a road draw in Seattle that simultaneously placed them first overall in the league and extended the unbeaten run to five straight. Given the club’s recent string of success that has them one result away from clinching a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs, it might surprise you to know that head coach Mike Petke isn’t about to accept credit for any of it.
On second thought, maybe not.
Simply put, Petke knows there is still work to do. That's been his mantra all season long. Every match, be it win, lose or draw, is celebrated or lauded for the night before all eyes are set on the following week's opponent. Over the course of the season, through the ups, downs, and ups again, Petke revealed during Tuesday’s conference call with the media just how he approached his job from Day One.
“I said to them, and this is the way I live my life as a coach and I truly believe it, that any shortcomings that we have this year, any failures, is going to be on my shoulders,” Petke said in reference to his team speech leading up to the season opener in Portland. “Any success that we have lies squarely on the players’ shoulders, and that’s the truth.”
“If we lose,” he added, “if we don’t perform right, it comes down to my preparation for them that it wasn’t right, it wasn’t on. If we win games, well I’m not on the field. The players have to win the games, and I truly believe that.”
Petke even subtly referenced his animated coaching style throughout the course of the season, and why the players are the ones to deserve a pat on the back.
“I credit the players for the most part,” Petke said, “because they’re the ones out there living it, and I’m the one on the sidelines freaking out.”
With a 52 point total off a 15-9-7 record, “Coach of the Year” buzz is picking up at a healthy pace. Though flattered that he was even considered in the discussion for the award, Petke is focused only on the road ahead - a road he hopes won’t come to an end before December.
“I think we’ve had some very good moments this year, but the moments that will define us are the ones ahead of us, starting with this Saturday.”
The Red Bulls take on the Revolution Saturday at 7:00 PM from Red Bull Arena. Don’t miss this must-see clash as New York looks to lock up a spot in the 2013 MLS Cup playoffs. Get your tickets now at Red Bulls Ticket Central, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.