UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Roy Miller may not have many people left in his corner, but one person still firmly entrenched there is New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke.
A day after Miller drew unwanted attention and criticism to himself for admitting he purposely encroached on a penalty kick that wound up costing the Red Bulls a point against the San Jose Earthquakes in last Sunday's 2-1 loss, Petke came to the defense of the 28-year-old left back. Petke acknowledged that Miller has had some mental lapses in recent years but added that the Costa Rican defender was a stand-up individual that is at times unfairly criticized.
“Roy, as a person, is one of my favorite people,” Petke said after Thursday’s practice. “He has great attitude, wonderful person in the locker room, great team player.
“He has had some situations this year and in the past and it seems to be around certain key parts of the game. He’s very aware of it, obviously the fanbase is aware of it, the media is aware of it, because it really gets blown out of proportion.”
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Earlier in his conversation with reporters, Petke revealed that there would be changes to the defense without going into detail. Petke also went on to say he would speak to Miller again to see what approach they could take to help ‘clear his head a little bit’ and get him back to playing mistake-free soccer.
“We need to figure something out because he’s too good of a guy – he’s played around the world – just to see letting stuff like this happen to him,” said Petke. “I’ll be speaking with him and we’ll figure it out, whatever is best for him and the organization, to make his head a little better.”
The Red Bulls return to action on Saturday when they host rivals D.C. United at Red Bull Arena (12:30 pm ET, NBC, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com.