Petke blasts “inconsistent” officiating; team to appeal Miller red card


Several times this season, New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke has held his tongue over questionable officiating in fear of absorbing a league fine.

Not this time.

Petke made his feelings clear on Tuesday afternoon in an unhinged response to the red card bestowed upon defender Roy Miller and the officiating throughout their Eastern Conference semifinal series vs. D.C. United.

“Absolutely right we’re going to appeal it,” Petke said during his Tuesday conference call. “I’ll tell you why: because it wasn’t a red card.

“You look at the play, the ball’s coming across the field and Roy’s eyes are directly on the ball, as well as [Sean] Franklin’s are. Roy goes up to challenge it with his foot, Franklin comes around him and gets kicked right below the shoulder, not the head, below the shoulder. Straight red card.”

It wasn’t just the red card that had Petke’s blood boiling. In his view, the officiating remained inconsistent throughout the series; most notably in the second leg.

“If that is a red card, you look at [Richard] Eckersley in the 73rd minute getting kicked in the head, blatantly kicked in the head, and there’s only a foul called, no card. Maybe it’s because Eckersley didn’t go down because he’s a bit tough. He put his hand on his head because it did hurt him, but there was a foul called and no card issued.

“Then you look at the 93rd minute when [Ibrahim] Sekagya gets kicked in the head with a lump in the head,” he continued.  “Foul called, not even a yellow card. Then you look at [Jamison] Olave getting elbowed in the face in the 95th minute. Elbow straight to the face, splitting his lip, four or five stitches bleeding everywhere Not even a foul on that.

“My question is: if what Roy did is a straight red card, where is the consistency? Not only is it not consistency, but there was not even a yellow card, not even a talking to with those players. We have the head wounds to prove it. The lump on Sekagya’s head, Eckersley as well. And they are all on video.”

Without naming him outright, Petke set his sights on head referee Ismael Elfath for reacting “too quick” on the red card decision, failing to even issue a warning prior to the infraction.

“It’s just completely inconsistent and that’s what I’m unhappy about,” he said.  “Now we’re missing our guy for two games, key games here, because what they considered a red card. It’s completely inconsistent.

“If it’s the law of the game, that’s fine, but there should have been other things done on the three other plays then. However, there wasn’t, so perhaps somebody wanted to be part of the game. I don’t know. If it was called a foul, fine, even a yellow card, I would understand, but to go straight red on that, to me, is not right.”

Once their grievance is filed, the Red Bulls hope to have Miller’s suspension reduced, if not revoked outright.

For his part, Petke isn’t sure just how fruitful their challenge will be.

“Who the heck knows. I guess Ill go home and flip a quarter!” he said with a laugh.  “Listen, we have a disciplinary committee. We have a guy who works at the league office who after every game goes on a rant about what the refs got right, what the refs missed and made his comments such as ‘the league will look at that furtherly.’ It’s like a free for all, so who the heck knows what is going to happen.

“Looking at the video, it was not intentional.  They both were looking at the ball. He came from his blindside. He wasn’t kicked in the head like two of mine players were.

“Go look and make your own judgement. Who the heck knows what’s going to happen. All we can do is log an appeal and hope that justice is served.”

  • Billy

    hahahaha I love his reference to Simon Borg’s rants. Borg is a bit much.

  • Gruff and Manly Bob

    Saying that is not a red I don’t agree w/. The assessment of the lack of anything called the other way, is a legit gripe.

  • Alphonse Diablo

    Even if it was yellow instead of red, Miller would still be out two games. one for a double yellow red and another for accumulated yellows. but Petke is right, cards should have been issued for the Seguya and Eckersley fouls.

  • Garry Redman

    Right about now, Simon Borg is sitting in his office with a smile on his face…