Mike Petke Addresses ‘Elephant In The Room’

May 1, 2019, 11:18 AM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – On the Mike Petke Coaches, the RSL head coach talked about the elephant in the room regarding defender Nedum Onuoha and LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

They discussed his thoughts on the on-field incident that turned into a confrontation in the RSL locker room when Ibrahimovic committed a hard foul on Onuoha in the 60th minute that led to a heated verbal exchange. In the 78th minute, Ibrahimovic scored the game-winning goal on the Real defense that includes Onuoha. During the goal celebration, the Swiss superstar got into Onuoha’s face.

After the match concluded, Ibrahimovic was seen in the RSL locker room to apologize to Onuoha, but the defender did not accept the apology.

Petke’s Thoughts

The RSL head coach had some thoughts on what happened between the two players in California this past weekend, in particular the confrontation.

“Watching it on the field, I have never threatened somebody,” Petke said. “I told the fourth official that I was not advocating for someone to get kicked out of the game. This is not me coming to you [fourth official] because I want to change the course of the game to benefit me. But, my player would have certainly been thrown out for a lot of things that were done there. So, what do I feel afterwords? Zlatan is a charismatic, huge figure in world sports. It is obvious that why should the league, the referees be any different. This doesn’t surprise me that nothing else was taken,” he added.

Host Brian Dunseth understands the competitive side of Ibrahimovic and knows that there is a game happening within the game. On the other hand, Petke was pleased with how Onuoha handled himself.

“I thought Nedum [Onuoha] handled himself extremely well after that goal [by Ibrahimovic] was scored,” he said. “If that happened when I was playing, there would have been a reaction. It wouldn’t have been a physical reaction but Nedum handled himself exactly how Nedum’s personality is,” Petke mentioned.

Locker Room Incident

Petke was not in the locker room when Ibrahimovic entered. He was on a walk, a routine that he normally does after a match.

“As I was walking back, I saw Zlatan walking out of the locker room,” Petke said. “I was then told that he approached Nedum in the locker room. I don’t know what the protocol is. I know that there is many times that I have gone to a locker room and I have asked to see somebody. If I did that to a referee or to the LA Galaxy, I would probably not be sitting on this show right now because I would have been fired. I am not here to advocate for something to happen to Ibrahimovic, it’s over, whatever. I am anxious to see what happens and what the protocol is,” he added.

Up Next

Real Salt Lake will host the Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m. The match will be streamed for free on and the KSL TV app.

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