In the days after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, current Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke remembers trying to do something, anything to help.
Petke was a rugged defender in MLS for the MetroStars at the time. A native of Long Island, the attacks struck him hard and the days after the towers came down, he volunteered after practice to help in the relief effort. His return to the field after the attacks produced a poignant moment for Petke. He walked on the field at Giants Stadium wearing an NYPD baseball cap and carrying an American flag.
This weekend, Petke’s emotions will likely be the same in the wake of the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon. Coincidentally, the Red Bulls host the New England Revolution on Saturday evening.
“It puts sports in perspective. It puts last night’s game, Saturday night’s game— it really puts everything in perspective. We’re talking about wins and losses and the frustration of how we played,” Petke said. “People in Boston are talking about funeral arrangements for an 8-year-old boy.”
Petke said a friend of his in the NYPD was in Boston on Monday and just five blocks away from the attack, giving him some perspective on the events of the day.
On Wednesday night the Red Bulls supporter end, known collectively as the South Ward, raised a banner in support of Boston that read: “New York Stands With Boston.” A similar tribute is planned for this Saturday.
Follow Red Bulls beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.