Red Bulls’ Petke gives newcomers a pass for Whitecaps loss

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

Who Red Bull head coach Mike Petke starts this weekend against the Colorado Rapids is still up in the air, but one thing is certain — he won’t hold the newcomers responsible for last week’s collapse in Vancouver.

“It’s a bad game to critique anybody because of the result and because of how things played out,” he said.

While New York have touted continuity-as-strength all offseason, newcomers Richard Eckersley, Bobby Convey and Armando were perhaps the most damning players for the Red Bulls against the Whitecaps. Petke immediately took responsibility for the loss after the game and went so far as to put their failings on his shoulders.

“To single those three guys out?” Petke asked. “It was a tough situation for them because it was the first time they played together to be honest with you, and they were victims of circumstance to put guys in that weren’t so familiar with each other.”

Despite all the criticism over the trio, Petke still saw positives in their play. “There were good moments from all of them,” he said. “Bobby attacking down the left side, he is good with the game, good with the ball at his feet and has good ideas. Armando we were concerned that he got hurt, but I think once he worked out the knee issue, it wasn’t the same for the rest of the game. Eckersley had his moments as well.

“Overall for everybody, staff included, it wasn’t the best game to be judged on.”

Now, Petke, like the rest of the team, are looking to turn the page against the Rapids for the team’s hope opener.

“You’ll see that tomorrow when the whistle blows,” he said. “Just tightening things up, getting all on the same page, being a bit stingier obviously, hard-nosed and just working as a unit.”