Throughout Mike Petke’s Metrostars career a sign draped the wall at Giants Stadium which read Petke Power. For my money no lasting image of MLS early years was more vivid and more poignant than that sign. Mike Petke in fact has been one of the better defenders in MLS during his entire career. But the thing that has made Petke stand out for me is his leadership and his ability to score critical goals in critical matches. Petke’s goals during his time at DC United all seemed to come at critical times, including one in stoppage time against Columbus in 2003 that has to be considered one of the most exciting goals given the circumstances in the history of the league.
Petke now 32 is Colorado’s captain when he’s healthy. But the Rapids have been skidding down the western conference table for week and are now led by a manager, Gary Smith who is actually an Arsenal employee on loan to the Rapids. After last week’s loss to RSL Petke was quoted as saying ” “There were a lot of fans that traveled to come here, and I’m embarrassed. It’s over now, and we have to look forward to Thursday, a big game in Dallas. But, it’s going to be a tough night tonight.”
Petke led by example today scoring a classic goal to sink FC Dallas and to bring the Rapids right back into the heat of the playoff race. This goal was typical of Petke: key situation where his team needs to score and needs to win. Once again Petke power has prevailed, and with the longevity and leadership shown by Petke, don’t count the Rapids out just yet.