When I got to work Wednesday morning, the heat was not working and would not work the entire day. I thought this would be the worst thing I encountered for these 24 hours but I was wrong. This morning Kristen Dyer broke the news that the New York Red Bulls had fired head coach and club legend Mike Petke after two of the most successful seasons in the clubs 19-year history. Red Bull fans once again felt a powerful punch to the gut, this time, as the club seemed to be heading in the right direction.
In his two seasons as head coach, Petke had a 30-19-19 record in the MLS regular season, 2-3-2 in the playoffs, won the Supporter’s Shield in his rookie head coaching season, and had the Red Bulls a goal away from a trip to MLS Cup. Petke’s fate seemed to be tied to new Sporting Director Ali Curtis and his “plans” for the future of the Red Bull franchise in New York.
In a span shorter than an Olympic relay race, a name was already surging on twitter as Petke’s replacement: Jesse Marsch. Marsch had initially been linked to the Red Bull head coaching job almost two years ago after Hans Backe was fired and before Petke took the reigns. Marsch was 12-16-6 as head coach of the Montreal Impact in 2012 during their first season in MLS. Marsch also spent a year as an assistant to Bob Bradley when he was the USMNT head coach. However, Marsch was not the first choice for Ali Curtis. A report by Jeffrey Carlisle indicates that the Red Bulls contacted Caleb Porter of the Portland Timbers, Greg Berhalter of the Columbus Crew, and Bruce Arena of the LA Galaxy about coming to NY to coach.
The reaction to this news on twitter was explosive to say the least. No Red Bull fan was pleased with the Petke firing and many went as far as calling their ticket rep to ask for refunds on their season ticket packages. There were varying accounts from fans on twitter that their ticket reps were being rude, courteous, and just doing their jobs. Remember fans, the ticket reps didn’t fire Petke and it was not their decision to not refund you their money. Fans are right to be beyond pissed with the Petke firing and if they want to show it to the front office they need to do it with their pockets. Other fans, also extremely pissed with the Petke firing, realized this is a business and in sports when you get a new GM you usually get a new head coach. Marsch did nothing to fire Petke either so fans shouldn’t take it out on him or refuse to even see what his team is capable of doing this season.
What will Marsch’s Red Bulls look like when they take the field in Kansas City in early March? Well, they may have two new additions of USMNT players. In two separate reports, Anderlect midfielder and former Chivas USA player Sacha Kljestan is reportedly to be in the sights o the Red Bulls to give it that “energy drink” boost Marsch was talking about in his press conference. The other report, broken by ESPN’s Taylor Twellman, says US and Sunderland forward Jozy Altidore is looking to return to MLS has his playing time has all but evaporated in England. The Red Bulls are reportedly one of the three teams in the running for Altidore’s services. Along with NY, the Portland Timbers and Toronto FC are going to battle it out with NY for the former Red Bulls service. With all of MLS’s idiocrincinces, it’s unsure how Altidore will end up with a club in MLS. This goes double with no CBA currently active two months out from first kick.
It was fun to watch the old “That’s so Metro” phase take the fans by storm. In the early am it was heartbreak followed by anger. That anger turned to intrigue and begrudging acceptance over Marsch’s appointment. That then turned into sheer thrill and excitement over the possibility of Altidore and Kljestan playing their trade in Harrison, NJ.
As recently as Monday I was reading fan comments on Twitter complaining that nothing was going on in Red Bull land. Well fans, things have picked up quite a bit so buckle up and prepare for the roller coaster of the coming year.
(image courtesy of newyorkredbulls.com)