CONCACAF Champions League: Mike Petke glad New York Red Bulls were spared excess travel

The New York Red Bulls discovered their fate in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday night, and head coach Mike Petke was plenty pleased with his team’s draw.

The Red Bulls were drawn into Group 3 of the upcoming edition of the regional tournament and paired with El Salvador outfit CD FAS and the winner of the Montreal Impact-Toronto FC Amway Canadian Championship series that is currently still being played. The latter left Petke expressing his contentment during a conference call with reporters on Thursday at knowing that his club will not have to travel far for at least one of the road games that await this fall.

“From a logistical standpoint and travel-wise, it’s great that we got paired with the Canadian winner because both Montreal and Toronto are, obviously, short flights,” said Petke. “The only downside to playing them – if there is one – is that we face them so much throughout the season, so it would be nice to have some fresh teams to play against. But it’s a great opportunity for us.”

Petke was equally as enthusiastic about the opportunity to take on CD FAS in what will be his first go-around in the CCL as a head coach.

“I’m really excited about that because, like I just said before, it gives us an opportunity to play a new team that we’ve never faced before, [that we] know nothing about and travel to a country that most of us have never played in,” said Petke. “It’s going give us that excitement factor. It’s going to be nice to test ourselves against other leagues within the CONCACAF region. We’re excited about it. It’s good that the draw came out, it’s good that we somewhat know our opponents.”

Petke was a little more subdued about the upcoming Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tilt vs. the New York Cosmos. Petke once again downplayed the June 14 matchup against the NASL side at Shuart Stadium as a rivalry game but added that he and the club are thrilled about the opportunity that lies ahead in that competition.

“I truly love the Open Cup. We’re excited about playing in it,” said Petke. “As far as who the opponent is, obviously, I guess because they’re close by in proximity, it makes up an interesting story. However, at the end of the day, we’re going to take the same approach we would if we were playing any other team in any other league.

“We want to win the game, obviously. We’re excited about playing next week and that’s really it.”

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.