SALT LAKE CITY — Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke has been suspended by Major League Soccer "pending an investigation into his conduct directed at the match officials," after Wednesday's match against Tigres UANL, according to the league.
The team announced the suspension in a statement Saturday, and added that Petke will miss Saturday's match against FC Dallas. It is unclear if he will serve any additional suspension.
The third-year RSL head coach was given a red card following a post-match incident with officials Wednesday following a 1-0 loss to Tigres in the inaugural Leagues Cup quarterfinals at Rio Tinto Stadium. He was seen arguing profusely with head referee John Pitti of Panama about an undisclosed matter.
According to Petke’s side of the story, he was merely talking to his players and pleading them off the field after a heated match.
“Afterwards, it was just extra. I told him what I felt,” Petke said. “(But) I honestly was pulling them away, trying to get them back in the locker room. ... All I was doing was grabbing my players.
“What I said afterwards would’ve gotten me a red card. But I said it after I got the red card.”
Both the league and the club will not make any additional comment until the investigation has completed.
RSL color analyst Brian Dunseth alluded to a belief during the pregame broadcast on KMYU that the ongoing nature of the investigation would "lead you to believe" that further disciplinary action could occur.
Whatever the case, it appears likely that Petke is not (at least solely) suspended for receiving a red card during a Leagues Cup match, which is a non-MLS event sanctioned by both Major League Soccer and Mexico's Liga MX.
Real Salt Lake kicks off against FC Dallas at 6 p.m. MDT. The match will be streamed live on KSL.com.
Contributing: Sean Walker