Real Salt Lake fires coach Petke; Freddy Juarez takes over

FILE - Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke directs his team in the second half of an MLS soccer match against Toronto FC Saturday, May 18, 2019, in Sandy, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SANDY, Utah (AP) — Real Salt Lake has fired head coach Mike Petke, two weeks after he was suspended without pay by the club and given a suspension and fine by MLS for using unacceptable and offensive language and repeated confrontational misconduct toward match officials after a Leagues Cup match last month.

Real Salt Lake said in a statement Sunday that it has named assistant coach Fredd Juarez interim head coach for the rest of the 2019 season.

Petke was suspended for three matches and fined $25,000 by MLS for his conduct toward referee John Pitti in the team’s Leagues Cup match against Tigres UANL on July 24. Petke was given a red card after having heated words with Pitti.

Real Salt Lake added a two-week, non-paid suspension in addition to the MLS punishment.

The team said after an investigation in conjunction with MLS, it had discussions internally and with members of the community and “pursuant to his employment agreement,” decided to terminate Petke.

Real Salt Lake (11-9-4) is unbeaten in its last five games and has one MLS loss since June 1.

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