Petke Wrongly Relying on Alexander

Second year head coach showing too much loyalty to midfielder
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Monday, April 14, 2014

Branded Bulls – column on Red Bull NY (RBNY – NYRB) & the New Jersey area soccer scene.

The start to Red Bull New York’s season is not going well, as they just lost their second game of the season to their big rivals down in our nation’s capital.

But while this side is trying to earn their first win of the season, there is a big problem that is forming right now and coach Mike Petke is a bit blind to see.

He has shown a little too much respect and faith to Eric Alexander, who right now hasn’t deserved it. We have seen Lloyd Sam improve his game and he has taken the outside right midfield position since the start of the preseason, which begs the question of why Alexander gets so much playing time.

When Petke attempts to make a sub, it’s not for Alexander who is starting, but it’s for Jonny Steele who did nothing wrong to be pulled out of the match. Steele attacked well and down the left side to create chances for others and for him.

Alexander had a good season last year and at the time there were question marks about that position on the field. Scoring 4 goals in the regular season as well as a goal in the playoffs last year in Houston, Alexander was relied on for attacking down the right side and providing some service. But right now Sam has overtaken the starting spot and Alexander must be used coming off the bench.

In the loss to DC United, Ruben Bover was subbed in for Alexander just as second half stoppage time was about to begin, and it was a little too late. Bover is a young player that is also proving to Petke that he wants the confidence of the head coach. And while he has deserved it, 3 minutes is not enough time to make a difference. Time is being wasted on Alexander.

Bover proved just as much as Sam has to Petke that he wants to contribute and make a difference to the club. His success at the Disney Soccer Classic should’ve been enough for Bover to get more playing time coming off the bench.

If the sophomore slump has come to Petke to start the 2014 season, then his judgment in making substitutions is also starting to lack and he needs to start understanding that too much loyalty to one player that he relies on will not get him any wins this season.

The midfield is severely missing Tim Cahill, who could be back for the midweek game against the Philadelphia Union because of his strained right hamstring, but seeing Peguy Luyindula, Sam and Steele performing well has compensated the lack of Australian international and soon that first win of the season will come.

NEXT UP: April 16 – Red Bull New York vs. Philadelphia Union, Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J. 7:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live.


Ramapo College
Club Domestic:
Red Bull NY
Club Foreign:
PSG, ManU, Maccabbi Haifa
Original New York Cosmos fan, reborn soccer fan since 1994 USA World Cup. Feuerstein’s Fire podcast host. Covers NY Red Bulls for SN, and promotes all levels of American soccer from both sides of issues.