SANDY, Utah -- Real Salt Lake has terminated the contract of head coach Mike Petke, the club announced Sunday.
Assistant coach Freddy Juarez was named the team's interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Petke received a 3-game suspension after Major League Soccer investigated a heated confrontation with referees following a loss to Tigres UANL on July 24, where Petke allegedly used racist and homophobic slurs.
The club issued the following statement Sunday:
“At Real Salt Lake, we have the privilege to represent our great community and fans here locally and on a national and global basis. We hold all of our coaches, players, executives and staff to the highest standards of professionalism. As an organization, it is vital that everyone, particularly our leadership, reflects and embodies our core values and the values of our community, treating all people with respect, civility and professionalism. Moreover, throughout our 15-year history, we have championed diversity, acceptance and inclusion throughout our organization, our stadiums and our community. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously.
“On Tuesday, July 30, after an investigation and in conjunction with Major League Soccer, the club levied the steepest sanctions ever imposed on an MLS coach when we suspended Mike Petke without pay for two weeks in addition to his three-match suspension in MLS and $25,000 fine. After further deliberations and a series of constructive discussions internally and with various members of our community, we have concluded, pursuant to his employment agreement, to immediately terminate Mike Petke’s employment.”
RSL won Saturday's match against Sporting Kansas City 2-1 under Juarez.
According to Salt Lake Tribune reporter Alex Vejar, RSL came back from 1-0 deficits against NYCFC and SKC and managed a 0-0 draw at FC Dallas with Juarez in charge.
The team faces the top two teams in the Western Conference this week; second place Seattle comes to Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday while Supporters' Shield-favorite LAFC comes to town on Saturday.
RSL currently sits in sixth place in the Western Conference; just three points separate teams 2-through-7 in the conference.