When I first saw Mike Petke’s post-match quotes from Saturday, I was a little taken aback.
First, I wasn’t sure if he’d done them in the first place. After all, Freddy Juarez, one of his assistants, went out in his stead for the broadcast portion. It was a little weird, but these sorts of things happen.
Second, there was one thing in here that stood out to me, and I’ve been mulling it over for several days now.
When we do something, we do it big, I guess. We don’t sit back, we don’t do this. We get opened up because we try to apply pressure, and what’s the difference between a 1-0 loss and a 4-1 loss? Three goals, but it’s still a loss.
On the face of it, I find this difficult. While I agree with the conclusion here — especially in MLS tiebreakers, where goal differential is behind number of wins — I find the sentiment a little more difficult to stomach.
After all, the difference, to my mind, is that a 1-0 deficit is something from which you can potentially recover; a 4-1 deficit, on the other hand, isn’t. But I’m splitting hairs here, because Petke didn’t mention deficits; he mentioned losses.
At any rate, the more I read his quotes, the more I start to wonder if I’m reading it wrong. Of course, it’s difficult to discern what he meant just from transcription — and there are occasional typos in the transcription that can make it difficult to really trust. But I also wonder if he’s metaphorically throwing his hands in the air in disgust with his team with these.
“Right now, this is who we are. On the road, we don’t lose small, we lose big.”
That doesn’t sound like a coach who’s dismissive about the number of goals scored, but rather someone who’s unhappy about it. While I wish he’d come right out and tell us why he thinks this is who we are, but he’s not really the type of coach that will throw players under the bus — the team, maybe, but not individual players.
I don’t think Petke is making an excuse here. I think he’s being genuine about the state of the team, and my displeasure with it might be more about the state of the team than it is about his comments.
Of course, we should circle back on the “what’s the difference” portion that I found a little disheartening. Is he saying that if we go for it, we open up and concede goals? Because that’s what it sounds like. I think there’s certainly a tactical component to that, but there’s also something mental about it, too. I still don’t know how to take that particular quote, but in context, it reads a little more like contempt than anything else.
I’m curious how you read it. I’ve included the relevant portions below. You be the judge.
At the end of the day, to make a defensive sub at halftime and a second defensive sub, it never does good things for a team. We need to keep working obviously. Right now, this is who we are. On the road, we don’t lose small, we lose big. We win big at home ... A couple of grind outs at home. This is who we are right now.
Right now, I think only 22 percent of away teams win in MLS. It’s not easy to win on the road. When we do something, we do it big I guess. We don’t sit back, we don’t do this. We get opened up because we try to apply pressure and what’s the difference between a 1-0 loss and a 4-1 loss? Three goals but it’s still a loss. It’s early on still. Coming up to midseason. Last year, it took a while for us to find our form and I’m confident we’ll find it this year.