Alejandro Moreno and Stewart Robson debate the merits of Mike Petke’s post-match reaction to referee decisions in RSL’s loss at Minnesota United.

Major League Soccer has suspended Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke for two games and fined him $10,000 for his criticism of officials on Saturday.

Petke was dismissed by referee Alan Kelly in RSL’s 3-2 loss to Minnesota United, then called out the referees in a two-minute rant and challenged MLS to fine him for his comments.

The league has since followed through, sidelining him for the team’s next two games against Colorado and San Jose.

“The fine was issued for the use of abusive and profane language directed at officials and uncontrollable behavior when he was ejected from the game and for public criticism of officials during a postgame press conference,” MLS said.

The league also fined Real Salt Lake another $10,000 fine because its social media team endorsed and amplified Petke’s comments.

Petke told ESPN 700 radio that he wouldn’t seek an appeal.

“It was a bit more than I expected. I got a two-game suspension and a $10,000 fine. But, it is what it is, you know, I accept that,” he said.

“You know, I’m not gonna hide behind anything and say ‘Oh, I don’t want to pay the consequence.’ There is consequences from the league and I accept those, and like I said, I move on now.”

Petke was sent off after insisting the referee refer a foul on Real’s Justen Glad to the video assistant referee, then after more VAR-related incidents in the second half, called on more accountability from referees.

“The only thing I get from MLS is, ‘Stop criticizing the referees,'” Petke said on Saturday. “I want to know where the referees are right now. Why can’t we ask the referee a question? Why can’t we do that? Why can’t we ask, ‘Why didn’t you go to VAR? Why didn’t you call that? Why, when the studs are coming up, did you just give a yellow card?’ That would make them more human.

“To MLS, it would be better for this league — for the fans, for the owners, for the coaches, for the players — to hear from them and hear their side of the story. Perhaps then we say, ‘OK, I see it.’ Maybe it happened a little fast. Maybe the guy in the booth, wherever the hell he is, watching this — you know, maybe he was watching ‘The Simpsons’ at the same time. I don’t know. I have no idea, but it’s not good enough to me.

“And I’ll take the fine. [MLS senior vice president] Jeff Agoos, fine me. Fine me. I don’t care anymore. You know, no other coach in this league steps up a little more than they should. I’m going to. So drain my bank account. I don’t give a s— anymore.”

Last season, Petke was fined $3,000 for a similarly impassioned critique of a referee.


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