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STILL RANTING — While soccer may be the most popular sport in the world, and the world's eyes were glued to France's 4-2 win over Croatia in the World Cup final Sunday morning, it's no secret that — while growing quickly — the sport's popularity has lagged in the United States.
But if all soccer coaches like Real Salt Lake's Mike Petke, maybe a few more fans would enter the fray.
The open-book New Yorker who has set down roots on the Wasatch Front unloaded another one of his epic post-match rants Saturday night, while more than 1,000 miles away at Rio Tinto Stadium, his counterpart at women's soccer club Utah Royals FC was unloading an eerily similar statement of her own.
As always, click the video above for the best clips from the weekend in sports.
🔥 🔥 🔥 from Mike Petke
First, there's the obvious: Real Salt Lake lost 3-2 to Minnesota United FC on Saturday night, which isn't becoming very newsworthy right now.
Salt Lake City's MLS club is just 1-8-1 away from Rio Tinto Stadium, compared to its nearly perfect 8-1-1 home record that has it in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race at fourth in the table.
But stick around until the end, and RSL coach Mike Petke will reward you.
The second-year RSL coach used another fiery tirade against MLS officiating to figuratively set TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on fire, railing against the officials for not using the league's video-assistant review system on Darwin Quintero's first goal that sparked three-unanswered scores from Minnesota.
Petke wanted to make a point so bad that he risked a fine, possible suspension and returned to the broadcast after his customary post-match interview on KSL.com and the KSL TV app to let league officials know how he feels about the current state of officiating in North American soccer.
"It's not good enough," Petke said. "And the only thing I get from MLS is 'stop criticizing the referees.' Where are the referees right now? Why can’t we ask them a question?
"That would be better for this league. It would be better for the fans, for the owners, for the coaches, for the players — to hear from them and to hear their side of the story. Perhaps then we will see it … It’s not good enough to me. I’ll take the fine; Jeff Agoos, fine me. I don’t care anymore."
Referees are not made available to the media after games, and attempts to request written comments via a pool reporter are typically met with inconsistent answers, frustrating responses or at least the inability to ask follow-up questions.
Sp Petke dropped the mic with a dare to the league's head of officials.
"Drain my bank account," Petke stated. "I don't give a (expletive) anymore."
Petke wasn’t the only one bothered by RSL’s latest road defeat, either.
Team captain Kyle Beckerman set his sights on Minnesota, the second-year expansion team in MLS, as well as the referees.
"We just want consistency," Beckerman told sideline reporter Samantha Yarock. "That got them all the moment they needed.
"This is a tough place to play. It's about as amateur as you get. This is MLS 1.0, playing on this garbage turf. But we did alright. We’ll hang in there, and we’ll get better for it."
They weren't the only soccer team displeased with the officiating Saturday, either.
🔥 🔥 🔥 from Laura Harvey
The Utah Royals' match Saturday against Orlando played out similarly to its first two of the series with the Pride.
Utah took an early lead through an eighth-minute wonder strike from Amy Rodriguez, who punched home the goal following a ridiculous pass from Rachel Corsie.
But that was all the NWSL expansion side could muster. A penalty kick in first-half stoppage time from U.S. international Alex Morgan leveled the sides, and Kristen Edmonds finished off the 2-1 victory for Orlando as the Royals fell for the third-straight match and only the second time at home.
Utah coach Laura Harvey placed plenty of blame on her mentally strained and depleted side after the match — but also unleashed her fury on a longstanding frustration with officiating in the National Women's Soccer League.
Both MLS and the NWSL are provided referees by the North American-based Professional Referees Organizations (PRO).
"Like, what are we doing? It’s just hard work to sit here and not say anything about it," Harvey said. "I'll probably get fined and all that. Well, fine. What’s happening to the ref? Fine me, but provide the refs with a better performance."
Both Petke and Harvey await their anticipated fines (and possible league suspensions as of early Monday morning).
Karl the 🐐 🐐 🐐
Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone is well-respected in NBA circles, so when the league's No. 2 all-time scorer and one of the best power forwards to play the game stopped by Las Vegas to watch the Jazz in the NBA Summer League, he was stopped by everyone — fans, media and broadcasters alike.
Malone spent most of the third quarter of Utah's 75-70 win over the Orlando Magic with the NBA TV broadcasters, commenting on everything from the Jazz's 2017-18 postseason run, the state of the modern NBA and whether he would survive (spoiler: he'd take himself out), and his opinion of grassroots basketball and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).
"To be honest with you, they are a group of guys who seem to like each other," Malone said of the Jazz last season. "You want guys who like each other. They’ll go out and play hard, and I think coach (Quin Snyder) did a good job. I think guys found themselves.
"It was pretty amazing."
Watch the interview in the video below.