RSL Cup blog taking a long much needed break

I've been a fan of Real Salt Lake since it joined MLS and took to the field in 2005, and I've been a fan of MLS since it began in 1996.

However, over the past couple of years, and especially the last several months, I've began to see the ugly underbelly of this sport. Most likely it has always been there and I was just too naïve to see it, but I cannot not see it anymore.

I'm taking a much needed break from the sport of soccer. I may or may not be back. I may or may not update this blog, I don't know. It would be a shame since I've had it up and running for almost 10 years, but the fun I once had just isn't there any more.

Hopefully you fare better.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Godfather pays a visit to Salt Lake

Jason Kreis' return bittersweet as RSL shuts out NYCFC
(by Conner Johnson 5-23-15)
Jason Kreis is the kind of person who doesn’t like to lose.
Just ask Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who admitted that he, among other players that have worked with Kreis, likes his work ethic as a manager.

“Jason’s very competitive. On the field and as a manager he doesn’t take losing lightly,” said Rimando. “He wants to win every game, and he puts a lot of that on his own back. The players like that. They like a leader like that.”

Saturday was a bittersweet reminder for Kreis that things don’t often come easy, especially after his expansion side fell 2-0 in his grand return to Salt Lake.

Struggling to a 1-7-4 record at the helm of New York City FC, the often self-critical Kreis has been dealing with the pressure of jumpstarting one of the largest market teams in MLS.

“I remember when I left (RSL) I said very clearly to everybody that pressure from me comes from me. Pressure from me doesn’t come from everybody else, because frankly I don’t pay attention to it,” said Kreis. “I’ve always been somebody who's been very self-focused and self-critical. So, that pressure doesn’t change. Certainly, the pressure seems to rise when you don’t get the results. And to go on the run that we have at the beginning of the season, I’ve been putting more and more pressure on myself and doing everything I can to deal with that the best way I know how.”

Noticeably absent from NYCFC Saturday evening was former RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy. Having missed last week's game due to injury, Grabavoy went through a whole week of training before ultimately suffering a setback Friday.

It was the second match in a row Grabavoy has missed for NYCFC, after playing every minute for the club in the previous 10 games.

Adjusting to the New York way of life has also presented a new challenge for Kreis. From the influx of new people to simply planning transportation around the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.

“The flip-side of that is that it’s a vibrant place,” admitted Kreis. “It’s full of energy and there’s a certain feeling about living around so many other people and so many different cultures that it’s pretty neat.”

Whether it’s building an empire in the desert of Utah or injecting his passion for the game into NYCFC, Kreis is still the same competitive person as when he left the Beehive State.

“I think that anybody that’s as competitive and successful as Jason has been throughout his playing and coaching career, he’s going to be somebody that’s constantly evolving and trying to better himself,” said former RSL defender Chris Wingert. “With that being said, I still think he’s the same person. He knows what got him to where he’s at, and that’s hard work. And he’s still working extremely hard and he's very detail oriented like he was when he was here.”



Jason Kreis returns to face RSL

(by Conner Johnson 5-22-15)

Familiar faces return as foes Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium, when Jason Kreis and expansion side NYCFC take to the pitch in Sandy.

“I think tomorrow night will be the test to see how I feel,” Kreis told reporters prior to his team's training session. “It’s something that I’ve thought about from the moment I announced I was leaving, and made my decision to leave. I thought gosh what’s it going to be like to walk into that building as an opposing coach.”

18 months have passed since Kreis elected to trade the confines of Rio Tinto and Utah for the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. Thus far, NYCFC is struggling to find its groove, boasting a less than stellar 1-6-4 record on arrival to Utah.

Most folks imagined Kreis at the helm of NYCFC would translate into success from the get-go. Kreis himself lamented he should have seen this coming, having been through the grueling task of building a top-tier franchise with RSL.

“Truthfully, I should have known that. I should’ve been in it from the beginning and said, Look this is going to be tough, so get ready for a lot of trying times,” said Kreis. “But for some reason I fooled myself into thinking that maybe this won’t be tough. Maybe this will be special. Maybe this will be different. Maybe I’ve learned so much that I’m just such a good coach that this will be easy, and that’s certainly not been the case.”

A hopeful Kreis admitted that although it’s been an emotional and trying challenge to relocate and start from the ground up, there’s still plenty of room for success in his NYCFC saga.

“It’s been difficult, but I knew that going in. My wife and I made a very conscious decision to take a challenge, and this is a challenge,” said Kreis. “We’re in the middle of it, so we’re still hopeful and still see that at the end of it all there’s going to be a big success story here.”

Kreis was hardly alone in his departure from Salt Lake to New York. Former RSL coaching staff, trainers and even players followed Kreis to the big-market club. Two pillars in the RSL franchise, Chris Wingert and Ned Grabavoy, joined Kreis in the Big Apple after being scooped up in expansion draft.

“I think that I’ll always look back at my time here as one of the most significant times of my life. Unless something crazy happens, I hope it does, and we play another five years and were still at NYCFC, there’s not going to be another club that we play at that is going to be as significant part of our career as that was,” said Wingert.

“In general, we’ll always look back on this stadium and the people in a really good light. I feel blessed, and I appreciate the fact that I was able to be here for so long with such a great group.”
RSL captain Kyle said he’s looking forward to an entertaining match Saturday, one filled with laughs, respect and hopefully three-points after the final whistle.

“I think it’s just going to be fun. We’ll turn it off, but at the end of the day we respect each other,” said the RSL captain. “There’ll be respect on both sides, on the field and off the field, so we’re just looking for hopefully an entertaining game and one that we come out on top.”

For Kreis, even with the hype and emotions surrounding his return to Salt Lake, this is just like any other match Saturday evening.

“We’ve had some emotional games already. You can imagine playing the first-ever game in franchise history in Orlando in front of 60,000 and then turning around and playing the first ever home game in Yankee Stadium in front of 50,000,” said Kreis. “Those were pretty big emotional affairs, and I had to speak a lot to the guys about keeping their nerves in check. I don’t think it’s something we're going to be too concerned with tomorrow night.”


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ohhhh, snap

Red Bull fans take a swipe at the new FC NYC.