Red Bulls sack Mike Petke, source says Jesse Marsch to be new coach

The New York Red Bulls have fired head coach Mike Petke, the club confirmed on Wednesday.

The club are set to replace him with former Montreal Impact manager Jesse Marsch, a source told ESPNFC on Wednesday.

The source added that New York inquired as to the availability of Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter, Columbus Crew manager Gregg Berhalter, and even discussed the job with LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena before offering Marsch the job.

"On behalf of the New York Red Bulls, I want to thank Mike for his service to the club these past two seasons as head coach," said the club's new sporting director Ali Curtis. "Mike will always be an important member of the Red Bull family."

The club's new sporting director, Ali Curtis, reportedly broke the news to Petke on Tuesday, but sources indicated that Red Bull, the club's owner, has been mulling Petke's performance for some time. One source told ESPNFC.com that Curtis was interviewing candidates just prior to the Christmas holiday and that the club began reaching out to potential replacements back in October.

The decision comes just a day after it was reported that top assistant Robin Fraser had left the club to take a similar role with Toronto FC.

Curtis did not return an email seeking comment. Reached via text message, Marsch declined to comment.

Petke, 38, was hired just prior to the 2013 season after serving as a Red Bulls assistant for two years under Hans Backe. At the time of his hiring, Petke was thought to be too inexperienced to be successful, especially with a veteran-laden roster that included Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill. Instead, Petke led New York to the first and only major trophy in its history, claiming the 2013 Supporters Shield.

Success in the MLS Cup playoffs proved elusive. New York fell to the Houston Dynamo in the 2013 Eastern Conference semifinals. The Red Bulls went deeper into the 2014 playoffs, disposing of Sporting Kansas City in the play-in game, and then defeating top seed D.C. United in the conference semifinals, before falling to New England in the conference finals.

But the Supporters Shield success, combined with Petke's passion for the club -- he made 196 appearances in all competitions during two different stints as a player with New York -- made him a fan favorite.

Petke finished his tenure in New York with a 32-22-21 record in 75 league and playoff matches.

As a player Petke made 351 appearances in all competitions, and was a member of the D.C. United squad that claimed the MLS Cup in 2004.

Marsch, 41, is an MLS Cup winner with the Chicago Fire who served as an assistant coach with the U.S. national team under Bob Bradley. He later was tabbed to be the head coach of the Impact during its inaugural season back in 2012, one that was viewed in some quarters as being successful.

While Montreal failed to make the postseason, posting a record of 12-16-6, the team managed to stay in playoff contention until late in the season, and appeared to primed to have a successful second campaign.

But Marsch and Montreal's ownership fell out over philosophical differences, and the two sides parted ways just weeks after the 2012 regular season was finished. Now Marsch will get his second opportunity to coach an MLS team.