SANDY, Utah -- Mike Petke won’t have much trouble remembering his first home game against Sporting Kansas City -- even though he didn't get to see the end of it.
Real Salt Lake's head coach was ejected from Saturday night's 1-1 draw after 72 minutes, for getting too vocal with the fourth official. The extra minutes in the locker room allowed him to prepare pictures for his press conference to go over just why he was ejected and to apologize.
“I apologized to my players already," Petke said. "I apologized to my boss. I’m going to apologize my owner, and I apologize to the fans right now."
His ire stemmed primarily from three incidents: Kyle Beckerman’s red card against Portland being upheld, Kansas City’s Ilie not being suspended for putting his hands on another player’s throat in SKC’s last game and Joao Plata being put in what Petke called "a freaking headlock” on a breakaway that was cleared, along with a subsequent free kick given to Kansas City.
”If I don’t act the way I do, I can’t sleep again for the next four weeks,” Petke said. ”I have players who have given me everything tonight."
That wasn’t the end, though; Petke said he had two more photos he couldn’t get printed in time for his news conference.
The rivalry that usually accompanies an RSL-SKC game was fully on display in the second half. Sporting successfully pressured Salt Lake’s play out of the back and in the first 15 minutes of the second half began creating chances off of it. That culminated in Benny Feilhaber’s penalty-kick equalizer, just before the hour mark.
“We were turning them over 30-40 yards away from goal and that led to the penalty,” Sporting manager Peter Vermes said. “We were on the front foot at that point.”
From that point on, Vermes felt things didn’t get too bad comparatively, despite what happened in the other coach’s box.
“I don’t really think the game was all that bad tonight," Vermes said. "I think the referee did a good job. I think he had two bad situations, one for each team."
He disagreed with Roger Espinoza’s yellow card in the first half, but caught himself before saying which play he felt referee Nema Saghafi handled poorly for Salt Lake.
“I don’t think the game was all that chippy,” Vermes said. “It’s funny because it’s grown men playing a sport. It’s a tough sport. There’s going to be contact and to think there’s not going to be is kind of ridiculous.”
RSL expected that physicality, and goalscorer Luis Silva was pleased with how well Salt Lake handled the visitors.
“I think KC is a tough team. They’re physical and we had to be physical today,” Silva said. “We didn’t back up which is good for us. We’ll go out and match up player and player and always have that mentality that we’re going to go out and win.”