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Jason Kreis: Houdini or Under Performer?

kreis Jason Kreis: Houdini or Under Performer?

Jason Kreis and RSL are the most frustrating duo in MLS. Former listeners to the American Soccer Show on CSRN will know that I have a soft spot for the club, not because of any geographic tie, but because of the presence of former Miami Fusion players up and down the organization, starting with GM Garth Lagerway.

Much like last year RSL had a loaded squad with arguably more depth than any other in MLS. Yet, in both seasons the club needed last day heroics to qualify for the MLS postseason.

I have mentioned before, that I believe Jason Kreis is still learning how to manage a team. That having been said, at least he is improving as a manager the hard way: a true baptism by fire.

Salt Lake has once again shocked a top seed in the playoffs with a squad that on paper is probably better than the two more successful teams they have eliminated. Last season, Chivas USA was injury plagued and had quite frankly played over its head all season when they met RSL in the playoffs. The same could be theorized for Columbus this year.

I do not want to get into too much psycho babble about RSL, even though, I do have some strong thoughts on the side. I’d like to hear from our readers. Why the Utah based club is so much stronger in the one or two off format of the playoffs rather than the Regular Season? Why is a team that is so deep and has quality all around the pitch so suspect for large portions of the Regular Season ever year?

OTHER QUICK THOUGHTS

  • Thanks to Bobby Brandon for his outstanding post yesterday on USL and its expansion plans. One quick note: I have been told the clubs are not necessarily moving in for 2010 but 2011 isn’t to be announced either. USL made a mistake this past season by rushing a very successful USL-2 team, Cleveland City up to USL-1 and helping to damage the organization. Edmonton is an expansion city, but the other three cities will be taking existing lower tier USL teams and moving to the first division. This is a potentially dangerous move for each organization that must be planned carefully. Austin made a similar move this past year, but had been planning it for over a year and of course has the financial and technical backing of EPL side, Stoke City in a relationship that remains unique to the game in this country. (Please don’t say Chivas USA or Crystal Palace. I’m referring to Major European first division clubs)
  • I got a tip from a local source that Alejandro Bedoya is a possible call up for the US National Team’s friendlies in Europe this month. Bedoya is from my area- actually his youth club, Weston Fury is the second closest “major” youth club to my home. (The closest is where Jozy Altidore played, ironically enough: BTW the Weston fury have joined the USSF Development Academy structure this year) He’s currently playing for Orbero in Swedish League. For more on the midfielder, please check out my piece from a few months back here.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC. View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →
This entry was posted in Jason Kries, Leagues: Major League Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Jason Kreis: Houdini or Under Performer?

  1. Joey Clams says:

    Another BC boy.

  2. ajr says:

    ?I was very proud of my club last night… KK what do you think about RF10 leaving RSL this off season

    http://www.sltrib.com/realsaltlake/ci_13705108

  3. Joe in Indianapolis says:

    Very entertaining game last night. Must admit, I was sad to see Columbus crash out of the tournament. Hopefully they can keep hold of most of their key players so they don’t embarrass MLS when the CONCACAF Champions League resumes in March 2010.

    Side note: it is very lame that by the time the knock out stage of the CCL begins, MLS already has a new Champion. I know there is no other solution at this time, but it is really annoying that a team can theoretically finish dead last in MLS, yet be in the knock out stage of the CCL the following YEAR because of how they performed 18 months ago.

  4. Charles says:

    I am sure I am in the minority here, but MLS is just too diluted.
    I wouldn’t participate in the CCL, there is nothing gained.

    So I am not completely off topic, last night shows part of the reason.
    So now, we will have a Supporter Shield winner that will not with the MLS Cup and is different from the US Open Cup winner, who I hope wins the whole thing ( go Sounders ) but if they don’t, three winners. In addition, let’s have a Mexican team win the CCL just to dimish the Champion in Seattle some more.

    10,000 fans for a playoff game is a result and proof of what I am talking about. That is slap in the face of the Columbus players.

    • Andy says:

      The players in Columbus know the Nordecke has their backs, they don’t care about the fairweather goofs who don’t support a great team. Is it really a coincidence teams in Dallas and Columbus suffer attendance wise? Is there a connection somewhere? Hmmmm….

      Also I don’t like to sound like I’m whining because RSL started and ended our seasons with beatdowns, and I know the home team gets the second leg, but of course attendance was going to be down on a weeknight. We get 20k for Dallas and Galaxy on the weekends, but 10k for a weeknight playoff game. Confusing and depressing.

      RSL was below .500 but definitely has the talent to win it if they play like they did against the Crew. This says more about MLS than I’m willing to say out loud, but I don’t know where the money is gonna come from to improve the product unless it comes out of the pockets of owners who have to market other leagues clubs to break even.

      Also there is nothing wrong with failing against Mexican teams in CCL, even the teams in Argentina and Brazil do. Its losing to teams in El Salvador, T&T etc. that I have a problem with. Competition is what sports are about, CCL doesn’t diminish our domestic league, it just puts into perspective where we stand.

      • Shaun says:

        I signed up with these guys – http://www.liveustv.com
        Best games are shown on Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta – got fed up with the lack of decent quality P2P streams that were ‘here today and gone tomorrow’. I can also watch the Saturday afternoon Premier League games not shown in the UK. I have a SlingCatcher, so I can watch the stream on my 37″LCD TV at a very watchable resolution. Keeps the wife and son quiet too, she gets all her Lost and Desperate Housewives long before they are shown here and he gets all his MLB and NFL games. Saves me forking out for an ESPN/NASN subscription!

    • Chris in Belfast says:

      Charles,

      This kind of stuff isn’t really that notable in big leagues in the rest of the world, either. Again, think of it like this: Columbus won the league; they sit at the top of the table. Another team won the US version of the FA Cup, not all that notable from other leagues; and the possibility is high that a third club will win the US version of the League Cup.

      This stuff isn’t that remarkable worldwide, and I think it does the intelligence of US Soccer fans an injustice to think they can’t keep up with this stuff.

  5. Joey Clams says:

    I’m with you Charles. Also, MLS should get rid of the silly rivaly trophies. Talk about a contrivance.

    • Shaun says:

      I signed up with these guys – http://www.liveustv.com
      Best games are shown on Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta – got fed up with the lack of decent quality P2P streams that were ‘here today and gone tomorrow’. I can also watch the Saturday afternoon Premier League games not shown in the UK. I have a SlingCatcher, so I can watch the stream on my 37?LCD TV at a very watchable resolution. Keeps the wife and son quiet too, she gets all her Lost and Desperate Housewives long before they are shown here and he gets all his MLB and NFL games. Saves me forking out for an ESPN/NASN subscription!

  6. Ray says:

    I believe USL is also expanding to New York City/Long Island this year.

  7. Charles says:

    Maybe I AM being protectionist and shying away from competition, but at this point, what if a Chicago wins the MLS Cup ? Knocked out of the CCL a long time ago, it definitely dimishes the MLS Cup and leaves the average person wondering, “why would I go watch that ?” When the reality is that MLS teams are very limited by salary caps and/or lack of money.
    So it comes across as the MLS champion stinks. Many MLS haters would say that is true and maybe they are right, but who cares ? It is the only big league in the US that feels a need to go find out. The US hockey team does nothing on the world stage lately, but they have the Stanley Cup in the US and call it a day.
    It is less black and white than that, as soccer leagues are more developed and richer world wide, instead of vice versa….BUT the point being, you dimish the MLS Cup, you get 10k fans for the biggest game of the year for the Crew.

    We are all disappointed obviously, as it is hard to imagine a scenerio where the league can ever afford to pay good-great US players to stay home.

    • Andy says:

      All very true and frustrating, I agree. As for a scenario where the league can pay money for players, not happening until the USMNT is a high level team with mainstream attention, with fans who demand owners pay top level Americans to stay. In other words, at least a few more World Cup cycles or even longer.

      As far as diminishing the MLS Cup, I respectfully disagree. It means Columbus is the deepest team for getting SS and moving on in group play, but if Chicago wins the MLS Cup it means they are the best knockout team. We send our deepest, most consistent team with SS and our best knockout teams to CCL with the Cups (MLS champ and runner up, US Cup champ) and they haven’t been getting it done because of low salaries, lack of depth, roster turnover, poor fan support (hopefully Seattle changes this) and poor coaching. I love this league, and the players who sacrifice money to play as a pro rather than just getting a job with better pay, but it is VERY frustrating to be patient and completely embarrassing sometimes (NYRB). I wonder how long the profitable franchises will want to subsidize the money losers and intentionally handicap themselves.

      • Andy says:

        I forgot to add that Chicago is a special circumstance, they were without Blanco for stretches and McBride for awhile, but when healthy might be the most talented team. The cap warps the playing field andperhaps should be only be applied if a team is losing money to prevent an NASL scenario from occuring, sort like a English team with an administration enforced transfer ban and imposed wage cap competing against more profitable unrestrained teams who can afford to pay their bills.

  8. Jack(from Vegas) says:

    RSL have a deep and talented roster. Their finishing is erratic and inconsistent. If the RSL forwards can finish some of the chances created by the team they can be as good as any team in MLS. I also think that RSL was helped out by not having to go up against Schelloto in the first leg. It should also be pointed out that Jason Kreis has more experience as manager than Robert Warzycha.

  9. Charles says:

    Nah Joey Clams…
    I was so bummed out when the Sounders lost the Heritage Cup I lost weight, couldn’t sleep, my marriage was in trouble, etc.

    Sorry for whoever invented the Heritage Cup and others, but no one cares.
    That is for EPL teams that are going to finish in 6-15th place for the next 100 years and need something to play for. I want to see the Sounders play at home the next two weeks and win something I care about.

    • Andy says:

      Just a question from a Crew fan who watched crowds dwindle to where they are now at Crew stadium from the huge crowds in Columbus when MLS started: will you continue to support the Sounders whole-heartedly if MLS continues to hold you back with the cap and handicap you against the rest of the world? I’m no Sounders hater at all, I’m just curious since I heard ticket prices are up for next year. How long will you be patient with MLS?

      • Lars says:

        TFC supporters feel the same way. I think it’s the one thing the Crew and TFC supporters can agree on. Too bad our organization, MLSE, is a pension fund and will do whatever it can to make lots of cash with minimal output of money.

        There ought to be a law in North America, outlawing pension funds’ and investment funds’ ownership of sports clubs.

  10. Alejandro RUiz says:

    I know you what you mean but I gotta disagree on calling Stoke city a major 1st division team? Stoke City is one bad losing streak away from being back in the C-C Championship with Crystal Place.

    • Fair enough…………..the point is unlike Crystal Palace who rents a stadium and is always battling financial troubles, Stoke is strong club financially and has thrown a substantial amount of weight behind Austin, including working to bring the club Adrian Heath, who is (if I am not mistaken) the only manager in MLS or USL that has ever managed in one of the top two divisions in England, Germany, Spain or Italy. We have several MLS/USL managers who have been assistants abroad but never a manager at a recognizable first or second division club. (Heath managed Burnley and Stoke)

      I may be forgetting someone, but I am fairly certain this is correct.

  11. Tom says:

    Charles- Since the U.S. has never won the World Cup we should decline that invitation as well. Afterall, it diminishes the Gold Cup.

    I seriously doubt that the people who care about the Supporters Shield are the ones not showing up the play-offs. The people not showing up for the play-offs are the ones who went to a game because their daughter’s coach convinced the team to go, and the game was sort of lame because (unknown to them) half the squads were at the Gold Cup and the teams permitted this because the regular season makes little difference to the destiny of the club. If the Rapids ever make the play-offs again I’ll be there, but then again I care enough about the Supporter’s Shield to defend it on a soccer blog.

  12. francesco says:

    if you take a closer look at RSL in the regular season they actually had great seasons at home in 2008(8-1-6) and 2009(9-1-5). it’s RSL’s road form that is pathetic(managing only 2 road wins in 2008 and 2009). as you stated jason kreis is learning on the job and given that 2009 was only his second complete season at the helm perhaps we can attribute the awful away form to lack of experience. i would imagine 2010 will see RSL get at least 5 road victories as kreis is finally figuring out what it takes to motivate his side.

  13. Brian says:

    At the end of the day, MLS regular season has very little value. Maybe RSL has a lot of players that save it for when it really matters.

  14. Charles says:

    Thanks Tom and Andy,
    Good explainations on the attendance drop off.

    The main goal of the USNMT is to play in the World Cup.
    What is the main goal of the MLS team ? I guess that is why I think it is diluted.

    To the question of the Sounders not wanting to subsidize the rest of the league, if they don’t you have the NASL right ? A few teams making all the money and can survive….for a league that does not exist.
    I just dont see a league surviving without pooling resources. I don’t know the finances, but most lose money and not in the way a baseball team does, just on paper.

    My opinion is if the Sounders do well in the MLS, the other tourneys etc do not matter. Most in Seattle are probably the same, not a lot of people online ( 7,000 ) with me watching them win a quarterfinal US Open Cup game.
    As a person that knows they will not be a real good team unless they pay more for salaries and know they are being held back by salary caps, I just don’t care about the other tournies obviously, because it is comparing apples to oranges. The CCL to me seems like the Sounders playing Barcelona, a $3 million in salary team gets beaten by a team probably spending over $100 million. No kidding, well imagine that.

    I get the feeling that a lot, like Lars, would like to see free markets, unfortunately I don’t think they realize the Sounders would destroy them.
    I bet Seattle could spend 10 times the current salaries and MAKE money.
    Funny thing is no one I know in Seattle wants that while many outside seem to.

    • Lars says:

      TFC could easily go toe to toe with the Sounders. It’s not just about attendance. It’s also about shirt sales, etc. And if it came down to it, LA and New York would dominate both.

  15. Tom says:

    I’m just saying the Supporters Shield is pretty harmless, Charles. As for the CCL and the league in general- I agree wholeheartedly that teams with better support and more games (due to CCL qualification) should be allowed to spend that revenue. I say that as a supporter of team that has neither. Why? Because I think it would help the Rapids attendence to have differentiation in opponents. I’d love tell my non-soccer friends that they have to go to a particular game because the opponent is undefeated and their payroll is double ours. It might also get the attention of the local sports press. The biggest games of the baseball summer are against high spending teams. Plus, in the MLS, there is always a chance they can get upset in the play-offs.

  16. CleartheBall says:

    As an RSL season ticket holder, I saw Kreis do a LOT of lineup experimentation during the year. For the last two years, he’s really tried to find a big, holding forward. Deuchar last year and Campos this year. They are both rubbish. It took him a while to get Espindola in the lineup. He really didn’t want to play Morales and Andy Williams together because they are both slow and they are both defensive liabilities. RSL’s depth is a bit misleading because much of the bench doesn’t play into the system very well. When Kreis gets the right 11 together, they can be very good. The current lineup has only started the last 3 games. 3 wins and attractive football has been the result. I feel like Kreis’ biggest problem is too much tinkering. Figure out what your best team is and leave them there. Findley is the best scorer, but spent a lot of time on the bench because Kreis thought he would be effective as a “change of pace” at hte end of games. Unfortunately, by then, RSL was often behind and Findley had to play against a bunkered defense. I think Kreis is a decent coach. He’s young and he’s learning, but right now, Sigi, Kinnear or Nicol would have had a much better regular season record with this team.

    I also agree the salary cap has to start moving up. Let’s start with a minimum salary that is liveable. The league is a lot of fun as is, but is would benefit from a deeper talent pool.

  17. Mark says:

    I think the salary cap is necessary for MLS to succeed. Hell I think European leagues would benefit from a salary cap although it would never happen. Look how many top flight clubs in Europe are in debt and struggling to stay afloat despite massive popularity.

  18. Charles says:

    Great comments. I agree with Tom on the benefit of having the big team come to town, but I still think salary cap and parity is the only way to survive.

    One thing to consider with a salary cap in place.
    I estimate the Sounders had $18 million in ticket revenue. It actually could be quite a bit higher, I don’t know how they do on luxury boxes and how that is split? I think 1/2 gets shared with the league, disperse that money and have…no MAKE each team spend $600k more…over and above an increase they could probably do by gambling a little bit. Sign players and they will come approach.
    I think that the Sounders number is likely to go up next year as the ticket prices for non season ticket holders ( 10k or so ) plus new tickets will be higher, plus there should be closer to 40k/game depending on how they do today and how many seats the Sounders feel they can open up.
    Then pray for Toronto type crowds to for Portland and Vancouver and do the same with 1/2 of that money. You are starting to get to that magic doubling of salaries that I think starts to keep the American talent home.

  19. Charles says:

    Lars, I am excited about your excitement, and I love ( hate ) Toronto fans, but you are crazy.

    The Seahawks ( who stink granted ) are playing the same time as the Sounders today. My brother in law, who doesn’t follow the Sounders and is a huge Seahakws fan ( who isn’t ?) is watching the Sounders. He is not the exception and he might be the rule, I hope I can find the TV ratings on Monday, it should be interesting.
    I would be shocked if NY even sold half as many shirts as the Sounders…hard to find out as it is Seattle’s first year as very few had USL Sounders shirts.

    IF you disagree, just log on to MLSNET.com and see the pathetic goals of the week that made it because they were Sounders. I saw one post that showed the replay of the Sounders game ( they replay them three times usually ) drew more than the ESPN game of the week, which is national.

    • Lars says:

      And you’re batshit crazy.

      You don’t understand economics at all.

      The reason why New York and LA do not outdraw Seattle is because the product is inferior due to a salary restriction.

      If the cap was removed, these clubs would have incentive to spend like drunken sailors and relegate the Sounders to the status of the Seattle Mariners in terms of quality, because Seattle is a smaller market.

      What you are currently looking at is the short term, with a cap, results. Tell me, would the Sounders be so popular if they came in and lost over half their games and didn’t make playoffs?

      The answer is, of course, No.

      Past performance is not indicative of future performance. You cannot realistically compare the support of a winning team in a mid sized market under a heavily capped league to that of a team in a mid sized market without a cap. The cap is a market distortion and screws up the balance of the league. The last thing the Sounders want is a cap removal.

  20. Lars says:

    Oh and I thoroughly enjoyed Seattle’s 1-0 loss to Houston. Maybe it’ll take those Flounder fans down a peg. Bold predictions of winning the cup is all i’ve been reading about the past week. Good to see them falter after such arrogance.

  21. Charles says:

    Lars, no reason to get angry. I was actually bummed the Toronto got knocked out. Just because Seattle fans are a little dillusional doesn’t mean you should root against them. They are very good people, since they have so many fans, they are just not the soccer only crowd and as such might be a little to optimistic.

    BTW, they didn’t have a salary cap in the NASL and Seattle was always one of the top teams in attendance and then of course because of that on the field. I will give you the Cosmos dominated.

    However, LA has a better team, even if the Sounder beat them this year.
    And the Mariners are one of the highest revenue teams in baseball. I read that Portland ( Mariners broadcast of course ) was the 10th highest baseball viewing city in the nation during the Mariners good times.

    If you are still mean spirited towards the Seattle masses read this….ortherwise thanks for the conversation. I appreciate the great viewpoints.
    I am calling to get my season tickets renewed, it looks like the Sounders are making a decision on whether to “only” increase the stadium size to 35k or closer to 40k seats, most likely 40k as they are getting renewal rates on season tickets of close to 95% currently, so get used to the arrogance of the Sounder’s fans. Either way it will be most likely sold out for the year before first kick-off.

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