Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke isn’t shy about voicing his displeasure with referees.
Last season, the RSL coach was fined $3,000 for his criticisms. But that threat didn’t stop Petke from sounding off on the officiating in his team’s 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes over the weekend.
Petke was frustrated with his team’s inability to convert its chances, scoring on only one of its 28 shots against a last-place San Jose squad. The RSL coach, however, also made it clear he was displeased with referee Silviu Petrescu.
“I will say this, because I have to. When the 79th minute comes around and this is being done by the referee to their players,” an unprompted Petke said, imitating an official’s hand signals to warn players about their tackles with “ the “no more” in the 79th minute, “shouldn’t the ‘no more’ be happening in the 25th minute or 27th minute maybe?”
RSL AT COLUMBUS
When • Saturday, 5:30 p.m. MDT
TV • KMYU
Players and fans were certainly unhappy with Petrescu’s refusal to award a penalty, despite two chances in the game’s second half. Petke, however, was more bothered with how Petrescu let the Earthquakes play, and the number of hard challenges RSL attacker Jefferson Savarino faced. Petrescu whistled San Jose for 14 fouls, while calling eight fouls against RSL. The referee also handed out just one yellow card — a yellow card for unsporting behavior to RSL’s Damir Kreilach.
“There was one yellow card … when Savarino spent most of the time on the ground because he’s getting absolutely hammered,” Petke said. “Again, we should have won this on our own, but it’s very frustrating not just tying against this team but other things that happened around.”
Asked if the recent international break had left RSL rusty, midfielder Albert Rusnak said if anything the two-week gap should have been a positive for his squad.
“We still trained, and we practiced throughout the weeks, both weeks,” he said.
And Kreilach’s 54th-minute header Saturday, which came off a Rusnak corner kick, may have been a direct result of that training.
“We’ve been trying to do a little more with set pieces over the last couple of weeks,” Petke said. “If you think about it, it’s a free opportunity at goal. It was executed very nicely.”
With a week to shake off Saturday’s disappointment, midfielder Sebastian Saucedo feels RSL will be able to bounce back against the Columbus Crew.
“Goals keep coming and I feel like we’re in a great situation going forward to the next game,” he said. “Everyone is still motivated to get three points in Columbus. Not every game is going to be perfect at home but we have to go through slumps to be able to achieve those three points anywhere else.