Many of us are looking forward to the upcoming transfer window. I’m honestly not sure that it’s going to have quite as much movement as many might be hoping, but my fingers are crossed we see something interesting, at least. A lot of what we see is going to come down to money, plain and simple. Will bold moves be cost effective? What, realistically, will be the return on investment? That is going to be up to the business guys in the front office to determine. Plus, there are roster rules to contend with. Can some trades, sales, purchases be made? Maybe. Don’t get too excited, though.
Here’s what I’m really hoping for. I want this squad to start to change into Mike Petke’s squad. We’ve said it numerous times: he was robbed of a preseason with RSL and inherited a club with multiple issues—especially issues of cohesion and identity. He now has a feel for Waibel and Hansen. He knows the guys already on the roster. He has a grasp of his assistants. It’s time to start making the changes that this squad needs.
I’ve heard people calling for Petke’s head. That, quite simply, is ridiculous. But, you might say, just look at Bob Bradley! They have no tolerance in the EPL. So what? Bob Bradley was dealt a rough hand, just like Petke. But it would be atrocious for RSL to do to Petke what Swansea did to Bradley. The EPL is the most ridiculously overrated league on this planet. I don’t want MLS to be like the EPL.
So Petke’s preseason begins now. And mark my words, the rest of this season is probably going to feel like one long preseason—and it should. At this point it’s about Petke putting his stamp on this team and making it into what he envisions. If players don’t buy in, they should say goodbye. He has a chance to give young players some serious playing time, to start drilling tactics, to put together an engine that will return RSL to the prominence it once held. Teams were once afraid to play against RSL, now you get fired if you don’t beat RSL in your home stadium by five or more goals; you know, something like that.
I’ve been shouting it since Petke took over, but I want to see huge risks and massive changes. It’s time for this club to cease the sneaky, tiptoe, trickling overhaul that began with the exits of Jason Kreis and Garth Lagerwey. Go big RSL. Go crazy. Make us curse and sob and cheer and dance. But get this club winning in a way that keeps us entertained.
I was going to bring up support, assistant, and training staff shakeups, but RSL opened that conversation for me with the firing of Daryl Shore. I wish him the best. Now it’s time to look around the club and determine who else is too aged for a new system. Move these guys on. Bring them into coaching and support positions with the organization. I mentioned here that I’m terrified to see Wingert, Rimando, or Beckerman go the way of Borchers or Grabavoy. Hands off, Portland! Javi’s career as a player looks to be winding down and he should return to RSL in some capacity at all costs. These guys built the club; let them continue their construction. But maybe, just maybe, off the field. If not now, then soon.
And if you’re still thinking that Petke doesn’t have what it takes, just look at the Monarchs. With a proper preseason and a chance to develop an identity, they’re the top of USL. Petke did that. Let’s give him an actual chance.