"I could care less what the league fines me, or what they say. Those decisions, those types of things cost jobs." So blasted New York Red Bulls Coach Mike Petke, seething after a controversial penalty kick in a 2-2 home draw with the Columbus Crew. The draw, which required late game heroics from Jamison Olave, extends New York's unbeaten streak to seven games.
Jamison Olave. There's no debating that the Columbian has been the best off-season pickup for the Red Bulls. As a centerback, he's ridiculously good, and spent most of his afternoon pick-pocketing the ball from Crew forward Federico Higuain. But "Goalave" has also turned into one of the team's leading scorers. Playing way too far forward on an attack in the dying moments, Olave found the end of a hopefully cross from Jonny Steele. The big man calmly settled the ball with his right foot before blasting a shot in from close range with his left. It was his fourth goal of the season, breaking his own career high with Real Salt Lake.
Henry's goal. Another one for the highlight reels in the 31st minute. A long ball from Tim Cahill goes over the head of Crew defender Kevan George, falling right to the feet of Thierry Henry. Henry doesn't touch the ball to settle it - he runs along side it for a few steps, and then nails a one time chip over Andy Gruenebaum to bring the game back level.
A terrible first half. Described by many players as "the worst first half of the whole year", the Red Bulls were put on the back foot early when Dominic Oduro sliced his way through the defense to score a goal inside the first two minutes. (He injured himself on the play and was unable to continue, which was probably to New York's advantage.) Despite holding the majority of possession, New York didn't feel like they were really in the game until a half hour had elapsed.
The penalty call. Controversy with twenty minutes left in the game. On a ball into the box, Crew midfielder Justin Meram swung at the ball and shanked a shot - but RBNY defender Kosuke Kimura went into his back as the ball spun away from him. Referee Geoff Gamble cared more about the hit than the poor shot, and immediately called for a penalty kick. Federico Higuain, who had a penalty stopped the last time these sides met, didn't miss this time, putting the ball just behind a diving Luis Robles.
Mike Petke's reaction to the penalty. Petke was livid, to put it mildly, after the game - equally pissed about the poor showing of his team and of the officials. His full comments:
That game, it wasn’t a good performance at all by us, at all. I don’t know if we underestimated them. I don’t know what it was. Not a good performance by us. I will say this, while I say that perhaps we didn’t deserve to win today I have my check book out and I am ready for MLS to fine me because it’s not good enough from the referees, it’s not good enough. I watched the replay of the penalty of what I already knew to be not a penalty and it backed it up. He misses the ball, the player, misses it, and then there is contact from the side. That’s a guy in my estimation whose probably getting ready for the Memorial Day weekend who wants to be a part of the show. That’s what it is to me and I could care less what the league fines me, or what they say. Those decisions, those types of things cost jobs. And it goes to his partners on the sidelines, who handballs, fouls happened two feet in from of them and they don’t even see it. I’m pissed off. Like I said, I’m not blaming the refs for us not winning. I don’t think we did enough to win, but we are going to have games like that and to give them that PK call, shocking.
The league will surely not hesitate to hand down a fine, as it has done to other coaches this year who dared to criticize the officials. Petke is no stranger to fines - and rumor is the RBNY supporters groups may again be taking a collection to pay off whatever charge the league levies this time.
Vancouver will visit for a league game next weekend, but next on the immediate horizon is a US Open Cup match against Reading United A.C. The USL-PRO side head to Red Bull Arena hoping for a "cupset", but Petke has been constant saying his club is taking it seriously this year. Expect a mix of starters and reserves to take the field for the home side. Should NY advance, they will travel to either Rochester or New England for the fourth round.
Jamison Olave on his tying goal: "When the ball was up high I thought about playing it to Fabian, but when the defender closed in on me I changed my mind and I decided to bring it down with my right and shoot with my left, I’m glad it went in or else you guys would have been (criticizing) me and even my teammates because Fabian was wide open."
Mike Petke on the performance of his team: "Listen, we’ve had a very good run so far. It’s still good we’re still unbeaten. Today, I would say by their estimation as well, it wasn’t good. It goes on me as well as a coach, maybe I didn’t prepare them right this week. Maybe we underestimated them. Or just maybe it was just one of those days you have, you know? Yeah we bounced back, we’re down 2-1 at home, of course we’re going to look decent in those moments because we’re pushing everyone forward, but the standard wasn’t, from everything, from the coaches to the players, it wasn’t where it should be today."
Thierry Henry on his thoughts on the match: "Not good enough."
Tim Cahill on Columbus' game plan: "I don't know. I think they just really pressed us high, tried to make sure we didn't get a lot of the ball and turn it over quick. So they did their homework, and they did really well at it. At the start, when they hit us quite quick, we were caught off guard and we conceded the sloppy goal, and we had to react. You've got to react with our play, making something happen. And then you know we got the game back at 1-1."
Thierry Henry on whether he tried to speak to the official as team captain: "I have tried for three years. I don’t talk to them anymore. They are the boss and you have to go by their decisions."
Markus Holgersson on Olave's goal scoring abilities: "Four goals. He's a beast up there. He's a beast in the back. It's good that he scores."
Referee Geoff Gamble on the penalty kick call: "I had a clear view of the play. The defender pushed the attacker in the back, which is a penal offense, which then resulted in a penalty kick."
Next Match: Wednesday, May 29th 7:30 PM, Home vs. Reading United AC (TV: None)