The New York Red Bulls franchise has been since its start a team that has built its name and reputation on bringing in high-profile names from the world of soccer. From the Metrostars days with Tab Ramos, Tony Meola, Alexi Lalas and Roberto Donadoni to Juan Pablo Angel and Rafa Marquez in latter years, stars have littered the pitch for the Red Bulls.
These high-profile signings haven’t been limited to the pitch either as big-name coaches have paraded into the fold, with names like Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley, Carlos Alberto Parreria and Hans Backe have prowled the sidelines for the Red Bulls/Metrostars at one time or another.
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There’s one thing that these big names, whether they were players or coaches, all have in common, and that is none of them brought any silverware for the team. So when former player Mike Petke, the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, was brought in as coach on Jan 24, 2013, it was an open declaration that the old way of doing things was over.
The Petke move turned out swimmingly well for the club as in its first season under the guise of Petke won its first ever major trophy by waxing the Chicago Fire 5-2 on the last day of the regular-season to win the Supporters’ Shield as the team with the best record during the regular season.
While the club did not repeat as Supporters’ Shield winners this past season, they did make it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final, where they played hard in defeat against the New England Revolution.
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This show of success in just two seasons makes it all the more mind-blowing that Petke was relieved of his duties today by new sporting director Ali Curtis, who said in the official five-line press release from the Red Bulls that Petke was “an important member of the Red Bull family” and that he thanked Petke for his job with the club over the past two seasons.
The move comes at a rather polarizing time for the Red Bulls organization and its supporters as New York City FC, with its big-time backing from both the New York Yankees as well as Manchester City, is already staking its claim in the city’s soccer landscape. With this changing of coaches from Petke to former Montreal Impact coach Jesse Marsch, Red Bull supporters cant help but feel cheated by the team.
It looks like the ownership is openly trying to wash their hands of the team and in the process destroying any real chance of stemming off the oncoming tide that is NYCFC by continuing the upward progress that was being made under Petke.
There’s really nothing good that can be said about the firing of Petke and for Red Bull supporters, it’s looks like its going back to more of the same after two years of great progress for the club, whose future looks bleaker than it even has.