Real Salt Lake announced on Tuesday night that longtime Head Coach Jason Kreis will not return to the club next season, leaving to take over New York City FC, which will enter MLS as an expansion club in 2015.
Media spoke to several RSL players at the Claret-and-Cobalt’s final availability of the season on Monday night, asking Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert what it’d be like if Kreis did indeed leave RSL.
All three gave really solid perspective on the situation, offering Kreis well-wishes while emphasizing that the team isn’t going anywhere. With or without Kreis, RSL still has a ton of talent and the team expects to contend for championships again in 2014.
Check out video of their answers above, and a transcript of their quotes below.
To borrow a phrase from Kries, Onwards and Upwards, #RSLFamily.
Captain Kyle Beckerman:
“He’s put in a foundation that we stand for next year and the year after that. It’s just the evolution of that. He’s part of the fabric of this club no matter where he is. I think we’ll continue where he left off, we’ll keep building and keep improving. That’s all we can do. We wish him the best, and really we want to just continue where we left off this year.”
Defender Tony Beltran
“It’s the end of an era of Jason building this club into something grand. It started with Mr. Checketts and Jason and [GM Garth Lagerwey] and they’ve done a fantastic job of shaping this into one of the most elite clubs in the league. That continues now with Mr. Hansen and that may continue forward now without Jason. If that happens we wish him all the luck in the world. He’s a fantastic man, a fantastic leader and that’s what happens with great men, they want new challenges and when presented with that opportunity I imagine that he may take it. If that does happen obviously we’ll be sad to see him go, but we’ll have to look at it as a new challenge ourselves. No longer will we have Jason leading us, I’m sure we’ll have another great man leading us, but it’s up to the players to now live up to things and say ‘Not everything’s just because of him, even though Jay may not be here we can still achieve and we can still do something special.’ That’s what he taught us, and that’s what were here to do.”
Defender Chris Wingert
“Out of respect to him and what he’s meant to this club, it’s going to be very different if he leaves. But does that mean that we can’t still win a championship? No, I think we have a great group here. Of course, anytime you lose a piece of the puzzle that’s that important, it’s going to be hard to replace. The new replacement isn’t going to be the same, but it can still be successful and we saw that from losing some guys last year that we didn’t want to lose. Nobody, none of the players or the staff, wanted to lose guys like [Jamison] Olave and Will Johnson and [Fabian] Espindola, guys of this caliber that meant so much to the organization. But, as you could see, we’re still capable of having a good team. We don’t want Jason to leave, but if he does we’ll be rooting for him elsewhere and happy for him that he’s making the best decision for him and his family.”
Real Salt Lake lost MLS Cup 2013 in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday, falling 1-1 (6-7) at Sporting Kansas City in a penalty kick shootout.
Here are a few interesting numbers from Saturday’s match
The shootout between RSL and Sporting KC went 10 rounds on Saturday, an MLS Cup record.
Real Salt Lake hit the woodwork a MLS Cup record three times in the run of play on Saturday, with Robbie Findley, Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales all hitting the woodwork during regulation. Counting Lovel Palmer’s penalty kick that bounced off the crossbar and out in the 10th round of the shootout, Real Salt Lake hit the woodwork four times on Saturday.
The temperature at kickoff at Sporting Park on Saturday was just 20 degrees Fahrenheit, another MLS Cup record.
Sporting Park was sold-out on Saturday, with 21,650 fans filling the stadium to capacity. The Real Salt Lake fans in attendance – the club’s entire 1,000 ticket allotment was sold and hundreds more RSL supporters bought tickets on the secondary market – was incredible throughout the match, singing and chanting through the cold, at times outshining the much larger contingent of SKC fans.
Saturday's MLS Cup loss at Sporting KC is still raw, and it still hurts. But RSL had plenty of great moments this season - one of which was forward Alvaro Saborio's opening goal on Saturday.
MLSsoccer.com did a very cool re-package of Sabo's strike, slowing it down and showing it from multiple angles. Give it a watch above.
The Salt Lake Tribune’s Chris Kamrani and Kurt Kragthorpe have been providing great RSL coverage all week, comprehensively covering the Claret-and-Cobalt as they march towards MLS Cup 2013 at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
Their strong coverage continued on Wednesday, with the pair of SL Trib writers sitting down with Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen. Kamrani wrote up Part I of II of a transcript of their interview with Hansen for SLTrib.com on Wednesday night, and he’s graciously allowed us to post a few highlights of the conversation below. Check out Part I of the transcript in its entirety here.
A couple of highlights of Hansen’s interview with the pair are below:
On the status of contract talks with RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis, whom Hansen said requested to wait until the end of the season to figure out his status with the club following the pair’s last round of negotiations before the Oct. 1 Open Cup Final:
Hansen: "I trust Jason will make the very best decision for his family and what mountain he needs to climb," he explained. "He’s climbed some pretty big mountains."
"Jason is remarkable," Hansen continued. "The cool part being Jason at this point in his career, at 40, having six years to the playoffs — no one’s done more — having competed now twice for the national cup — if he wins, he’ll be one of five — you have to stand back and say, ‘What’s his next mountain?’ And I honestly think if we win, and CONCACAF [Champions League] is possible, I think that gives us a teetering edge that there’s an objective for him to accomplish.
"I think as you get to be a great man, and Jason early in his life is, you start saying, ‘What mountains are there for me to climb?’ I really think it is that — I don’t think it’s a money issue whatsoever. I think it’s what mountains can you put in front of me? Maybe one of Jason’s goals is he wants to be men’s national team coach some time. What resume do you need to build to do that? I give Jason a lot of credit, he’s very thoughtful about how he does it. He’s totally focused on the game — he’ll think about that after the game."
On his favorite story from RSL’s Western Conference Championship series second leg win at Portland on Nov. 24:
Hansen: "Nat Borchers and his beard came up to me with fire in his eyes and said, ‘I love taking a win on somebody else’s field. It was just like a Viking had come onto that field, and was not going to let it go,"
We don’t want to steal too much of Kamrani’s post, so that’s all for here. Just go read the whole thing – trust us, it’s worth the time.
Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran participated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Tuesday afternoon, answering a wide-range of questions from fans around the league ahead of Saturday’s MLS Cup at Sporting Kansas City.
Below are a few highlights from Beltran’s AMA, which you can find in its entirety here.
Reddit user Misplays4days: Hey Tony! I’m curious, what is the most memorable game you've played in??
Beltran: Hmm. Two years ago we played Seattle away in the first round of the playoffs. We had a three goal lead and ended up losing 2-0 but advancing. That was by far the most exhausting game I have ever played in. We were under it for 90 minutes. Playing Brazil in the U-20 WC is up there. My debut for the senior national team, and this year beating the Galaxy at home in the playoffs. Rio Tinto is always loud but the last ten minutes was off the charts.
Reddit user amazingcube: Tony, some RSL fans call you "Slater" due to your resemblance to Mario Lopez (who played AC Slater on the TV show "Saved by the Bell"). Were you aware of this? Also, would you be angry with fans if you heard them shouting for you to "do it for Jesse?"
Beltran: Wow. I have never heard the chant "Do it for Jesse" but that is hilarious. I don't get mad when people make that comparison, I've been getting that and Prince ever since freshman year of high school.
Reddit user EbilSmurfs: I was wondering if you wanted to go out drinking Friday night. If you are interested give me a message, I may even buy your drinks all night.
Beltran: Going to have to pass mate!
Reddit user zarigia: Tony - I remember reading that you performed with Ballet West a few years back. What was the experience like and would you do it again?
Beltran: It was the most stressful experience of my life, but so much fun. I did a full on three minute routine with two ballerinas incorporating juggling a soccer ball and trying to do ballet moves. I had a blast and would do it over again in a heartbeat. Most incredible athletes I have ever worked with.
Reddit user sporkwaffles: Who are some of the young players in the league you're excited to watch develop/grow? (I'd guess Devon Sandoval is one of them?)
Beltran: Sandoval is certainly near the top of the list. It is remarkable that in his first year he has transitioned so well into being a professional. Not only off the field, but in his approach to the game and professionalism. I have no doubt he will succeed. I would also have to say Luis Gil is a TALENT. Sky is the limit for the lad. Outside of RSL, Fagundez from NE is quite fun to watch, Zardes and Yedlin as well.
Reddit user lawyerdup: What has been your most memorable interaction with a fan?
Beltran: I have had numerous memorable interactions with fans. It's quite moving when meeting who people are so enthusiastic about RSL and my play. A year ago I visited a young man in the hospital who was stricken with illness just before his senior year of high school. Getting to know him and following his recovery was very special. He was so passionate about soccer and motivated to get better in order to make it back to play for his high school one more time...
Reddit user Drunken_Economist: If you could pick one non-soccer-related person to be the next RSL coach, who would it be?
Beltran: Wow, great question. I am thinking someone who is a natural leader would be adept as a coach. Knowing the game is huge but also managing and motivating grown men can prove to be a challenge for some. How about Christopher Nolan? He directs/organizes people for a living. His creativity would be limited but that certainly would be interesting to watch!
Reddit user il-re: What's your favorite Pokémon?
Beltran: Probably Gengar. I always thought he was so cool for some reason.
We’re five days away from MLS Cup 2013 between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park.
Start Cup week off right with our favorite RSL Rewind, taking you back to RSL’s MLS Cup 2009 win over the LA Galaxy in Seattle. Five days, people. Five days.
Interesting take from MLSsoccer.com's Greg Lalas on comments that Real Salt Lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey made a couple of months back in Grantland about the stylistic dichotomy between RSL and Kansas City.
We're a bit partial, but we're leaning with Lagerwey on this one. You can keep your high-tempo style, Kansas City. We'll take our brilliant midfield diamond.
Click here for more on the rivalry between RSL and Sporting Kansas City. The sides will meet in MLS Cup at 2 p.m. MT on Saturday on ESPN at Sporting Park.
Real Salt Lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey sat down with ABC 4's Dana Greene for nearly 15 minutes yesterday, talking about MLS Cup 2013, RSL's 2013 season, the supposed "rebuild," and how the Claret-and-Cobalt stacks up against MLS Cup foe Sporting Kansas City, both on and off the field.
ABC 4 was kind enough to post the entire interview to their website last night, after airing this shorter package on Lagerwey's interview on their 6 o'clock newscast. Check out the full-length interview above.
Great video from ESPN on the RSL postgame celebration from Sunday's Western Conference Championship win over Portland. Check it out above for the full trophy presentation, along with interviews with Head Coach Jason Kreis, Captain Kyle Beckerman and forward Robbie Findley.
RSL at Portland. Western Conference Championship Leg 2. Sunday night. 7 p.m. MT. ESPN.