SANDY — Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke will sit out Saturday night's match against the Colorado Rapids for the Rocky Mountain Cup after being issued a $10,000 fine and a two-game suspension from MLS after his post-game rant about bad officiating. Assistant coach Freddy Juarez will be in the spotlight as RSL's head man.
Even after the suspension, Petke stood his ground.
When ESPN700 Radio host Bill Riley asked if Petke would appeal the fine and suspension Petke said, “I’m not even sure of the appeal process, but to be quite honest with you, if there is an appeal process I will not appeal. You know, I’m not gonna hide behind anything and say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to pay the consequence.' There are consequences from the league and I accept those, and like I said, I move on now.”
The RSL squad had been training with Petke all week at the Zions Bank Training Center in Herriman before he made the announcement. Now RSL must find a way to fill the void and make up for the missed points lost against Minnesota.
"We've put that behind us and now we're just focusing on Colorado," said RSL goalie Nick Rimando.
"I think the mindset is we need to get three points — especially at home," added RSL right back Brooks Lennon.
In RSL's last match at Colorado in April 2017, Lennon made his MLS debut with his first goal, turned out to be the match winner. The game was tied 1-1 and Lennon, who was 19 at the time, found the net in the 87th minute. RSL signed the young player on a loan from Liverpool in February 2017.
Saturday will be a special game for Lennon as he puts in the work to continue thriving in his new defensive position at right back.
"I love this rivalry and this Rocky Mountain Cup," Lennon said. "Any trophy that is on the line we wanna win every year."
RSL is the overall defender of the Rocky Mountain Cup, holding nine titles to Colorado's four since the beginning of the competition in 2005. If RSL prevails Saturday, it would be deemed the three-time champions of the cup.
The match will start at 8 p.m. Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.