September 2, 2014
NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT
Petke: I have confidence we can make a run, make the playoffs
By Michael Lewis
|Mike Petke: "I would expect that they're determined, that they're on board. I'm pretty certain they are. They know what we're capable of as well as I do. It's about no more talking, it's about just getting out and doing it."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
It was about this time last year the 11-9-6 Red Bulls went on a 6-0-2 tear that not only clinched a playoff spot, but also secured them their very first Supporters Shield with a sterling 17-9-8 record.
Trailing Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United by 15 points might make the later next to impossible, but the Red Bulls (7-8-10, 31 points) still have plenty of time to make a run and earn a playoff berth.
After the results of Sunday's 2-0 defeat at D.C. United, the Red Bulls are on the outside looking in at the post-season. They're in sixth place in a system two points behind the Columbus Crew (8-9-9, 33) with a game in hand in which the top five teams in each conference get a shot at MLS Cup.
"In the amount of games and the time that we have left, I think it's now. We have to pick up points," Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said during his weekly Tuesday conference call with the media. "And if not, we have to do what no one ever wants to do, which is rely on other teams behind you to keep losing. We're not in the mindset to do something like that. we want to take care of our own situation.
"Do I think this team is capable of making a run? Absolutely, 100 percent. Are we going to? I have confidence we will. I have confidence that we'll make the playoffs. We have nine games to prove that."
The Red Bulls started their stretch run with a 2-1 home win over then hapless D.C. United Aug. 31 before adding a stunning 4-1 triumph at the Houston Dynamo in a city where the team has not seen much regular-season success through the years.
"I thought last year we had characteristics, the mentality, the attitude," Petke said, "We felt without being cocky, we felt were always going to win the game. That was from the first game on. We went on those runs. Yes. we proved that we could do that."
And the 2014 team's feelings right now?
"Frustration more than anything," Petke said. "I can't put words in players' mouths or tell you want they're thinking because I'm not in their minds, but I imagine frustration, some bewilderment at times. But at the end of the day, we have a strong team. We have to step up and prove that."
Petke added: "I would hope and I would expect that they're determined, that they're on board. I'm pretty certain they are. They know what we're capable of as well as I do. It's about no more talking, it's about just getting out and doing it."
The Red Bulls will have that opportunity when they host Sporting Kansas City at Red Bull Arena Saturday before welcoming United a week from Wednesday.