January 31, 2013
IT'S ABOUT FITNESS
Petke on Red Bulls' 1st pre-season game
If you know Mike Petke, the Red Bulls head coach wants to win every game and every competition in which he participates.
|Mike Petke on Friday's exhibition: "It's all about getting into game shape. We have just really got into tactical sense."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
But there are times to fight the right battles. Entering Friday's first exhibition game of the season against the Columbus Crew at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., Petke's No. 1 priority is not necessarily about getting a W.
"First and foremost, tomorrow is a fitness thing," Petke said during a conference call on Thursday afternoon. "We're obviously going to get these guys into game-related fitness. As always, we want to win everything that we do."
The Red Bulls will use a split squad for the game, which is scheduled to kick off at 9:30 p.m. The match will be streamed live at www.newyorkredbulls.com.
"It will be a split squad tomorrow, without looking into who's starting first or who's starting second," Petke said. "It's a bit of a mix. It's all about getting into game shape. We have just really got into tactical sense and how [we're going to play}."
Brazilian midfielder Juninho did not practice with the team on Wednesday. Petke said the dead-ball specialist was not injured.
"At this early stage right now, it's not really necessary to have a look at him, to be honest with you," Petke said. "We have other players in camp right now that we [need] to look at."
After the game, the Red Bulls will return to New Jersey for the weekend. After two days off, the team will return to Bradenton for another week of training.