Petke “extremely proud” of ‘Baby Bulls;’ may start them for next CCL


Not even New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke believed his makeshift B-side could possibly give Montreal’s first team a run prior to Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League encounter.

He, like many a Red Bull fan, was proven wrong.

“I’m extremely, extremely proud of my team tonight,” Petke said after the match. “We came up here and made a decision – knowing full well Montreal, this is their No. 1 priority, the Champions League, to start all their starters and get a result. We made a decision based on the number of games we’ve had recently, a lot of starters being heavy and hurting, having some injuries, and we had faith in our guys, and when I look at the stats from tonight’s game, and our goalie had zero saves and their goalie had three, my hats are off to my team.

Yes, the Red Bulls dropped a 1-0 decision to the Impact at Saputo Stadium, but that did not tell the entire story. The combined starting XI has earned all of 26 starts this season. To give that stat some context, Lloyd Sam alone has garnered 27 starts this year. The midfield was filled with youth players — Connor Lade, Marius Obekop, Ruben Bover, Ian Cristianson, Eric Stevenson — yet the veteran Impact side struggled mightily to break them down, particularly in the second half.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way.

“If they didn’t show the character they did, they didn’t put the fight in that they did it, could have been a lot worse,” Petke concedes.  “I am proud of my team.

“I feel we are in the driver’s seat.”

While they didn’t win, Petke’s ‘Baby Bulls’ did prove their worth. In fact, the coach acknowledged their accomplishments, going so far as to say they would likely see minutes in their next round of CCL matches — and perhaps, in regular season play as well.

“This performance tonight makes me feel that the next few Champions League games, these guys have earned the right to play,” Petke revealed. “Now, is it going to use the exact same lineup? I don’t know that. With the other guys rested, there will be a mix and match.

“Every one of these guys gave me a reason that they should play in the league and that they should play in the Champions League.”

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  • NYsoccerfan

    Why are we playing a reserve team at home in the Champions League? Petke has now hit the panic button since the Red Bulls have been so inept all season, and there is a real danger they are not going to make the playoffs. The fans deserve better than this.

  • gregj

    All the other MLS teams played a lot of starters. Why? Because they care about winning. Players can actually handle a Saturday game and a Wednesday game every once and a while. I guess the only thing Petke is thinking at this point is that it’s either make the playoffs or you’re out.

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