Red Bulls Notebook: Petke flips over Toronto draw, Roy Miller returns, Connor Lade, Lloyd Sam update


When the Red Bulls were shut out in Colorado on July Fourth, it was a painful loss, but one they could explain. Expecting altitude to play a major factor, Head Coach Mike Petke and his technical staff preached patience in the first to conserve their energy in the next half.

That ‘second wind’ never quite happened.

While an ugly loss, the result was understandable. This weekends draw against Toronto FC, however, left the Red Bulls rookie coach confused, befuddled, and most of all, very angry.

“It’s an anomaly to me, to be honest with you,” he told reporters during his weekly press conference. “You know, it’s one of these games, I’ve watched everyone of our games this year, and afterwards, I literally got the DVD and I cracked it in half and threw it out, and it’s something I don’t plan on doing a lot in my career, but I don’t think I could watch that game again.”

Winning ugly has more often than not been the club’s credo at home, but playing ugly has certainly been as pronounced on the road. Asked why, Petke can only throw his hands up.

“Well I said this many times this year; if I had the answer to that, we’d probably go undefeated on the road. You know, life isn’t like that,” he said. “I know I have questioned in my mind are we preparing, I don’t mean preparing soccer-wise, I mean are we preparing for road games in the right way?”

“I am going to sit down with the medical department and (Sporting Director) Andy (Roxburgh) and figure out, are we flying into cities too late the day before? Should we go two days early? Are we not doing things properly wise as far as eating? These are excuses, these are ways that I need to figure out, and maybe that would give us a better advantage and give us more energy.

“So I don’t have that answer, you know, I know that we’ve won games on the road this year and played well on the road this year and there’s games like you saw, second half of Chicago, the game in Toronto the other day, that I kind of scratch my head and wonder, what the heck is going on?”


One player who has been a bright spot all week long is Marius Obekop. The Cameroonian teenager has caught Petke’s eye, though the Head Coach warns he is still quite raw.

“The one thing I know from Marius, from working with him all this time, is that while he definitely has a long way to go to grasp the tactical side of the game, because he is young and he’s very raw,” Petke noted. “The one thing he does; he likes to receive the ball and just go. And as you saw in the Lyon game for the, whatever it was, the half hour, 45 minutes he was on, how dangerous he could be.

His insertion into the Toronto FC match came as a surprise for many, but the explanation for that decision was simple.

“It was obvious we needed some sort of spark,” Petke noted. “I mean, if we were winning 1-0 or if we were up or dominating the game, we might not have seen Marius come into there. However, with what was going on, I felt we needed a spark and just in that one run alone that he took, the one run alone shows how dangerous he is.

“The joke that I have with one of my coaches that he’s the type of guy that goes on and the defender is going to be baffled because he’s not going to have a clue about what Marius is going to do next. And the funny thing is we laugh and I don’t think Marius does as well. He’s very instinctive and he just likes to receive the ball and he loves the one on one situations.

“The tactical side for him, he’s far off from it, and he knows that and we know it and we’re working with him, but I think it was a game that needed somebody with his energy, somebody with his creativity in one v. one situations and he almost pulled it off at the end there with an assist or even if he shot it toward goal.”


Roy Miller has returned from Costa Rica and is a possibility for Real Salt Lake this weekend. “I saw Roy walk into training this morning. I decided to shut him down for today because he has been going like crazy, but he should be fully participating in practice tomorrow leading up to the game this weekend,” Petke noted. “And there was a very brief conversation but I look forward to speaking with him tomorrow about the last three weeks, I watched all his games, and just to speak with him a little, he’s been gone for so long. But, it’s great to have Roy back and it’s great with the anticipation that he’ll be fine to play this weekend against Salt Lake.”

Connor Lade, who is suffering from knee issues, doesn’t look like he is ready for a return. “Pretty sure Connor is out this weekend,” Petke offered.

Lloyd Sam also remains a question mark: “Lloyd, from his mouth alone, is hoping to practice tomorrow,” Petke said. “Like most players, I am sure they hope a lot of things and are not going to get it but I have to speak to the medical staff and speak with them and figure out about Lloyd. He was doing some running on the side, movement, fitness so it looks interesting from Lloyd. If there is any truth to what he says, he will be out practicing tomorrow.”

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  • Dan in New York

    I know it certainly felt like a loss but unless they changed the scoreline after the match, I believe it was a 0-0 draw against Toronto.

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