If you though Mike Petke was going to bite his tongue now that he's head coach of the New York Red Bulls, you'd be mistaken.
Petke, who was never shy during his 13 years as a player, fired back at Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter on Friday morning over comments the former Akron boss made following the teams' 3-3 draw at JELD-WEN Field this past weekend, according to The New York Times. Porter had said after the Sunday match that the Timbers "basically gave" New York two goals, and Petke was not ambiguous about expressing his displeasure over that choice of words.
“I’ve been reading a lot of comments, and I will address them one time,” said Petke who, like Porter is in the first year of his MLS head coaching career. “He made it [out] as them gifting us two goals and stuffing it down our throat in second half. It makes me chuckle. First, I want to talk gifting — on their second, [goalkeeper Luis] Robles parried a shot at the feet of their player. Their third was an own-goal.
"I’ll concede that maybe the score should have been 1-1, but there’s no way comments like that belong. No way in the NCAA and no way in Akron. If you want to do motivating, do it behind closed doors, don’t do it in the press. They were reeling and backtracking because of what they didn’t deliver to their home crowd. I’m not happy about those comments.”
Porter's comments came after the Timbers rallied from two goals down to pull level with New York in both teams' season opener. The Red Bulls had initially jumped out to an early 2-1 lead after a pair of Mikaël Silvestre blunders, but Portland managed to overcome their bad first half with a late Jámison Olave own-goal providing the equalizer.
“Two of the goals we basically gave them," said Porter after the wild affair in Portland. "It wasn’t anything they did to earn them, we gave them to them. If you give up goals, you’d rather it be in a way where they do something to break you down. But we gave them two goals on a platter, and that’s ultimately what cost us three points. … It was more we made them take their foot off the gas because we jammed it down their throats.”
The Red Bulls and Timbers do not meet again this season.