BRADENTON, Fla. The wins keep piling up for Real Salt Lake. The expansion MLS franchise notched another preseason victory Thursday, 3-2 over Kansas City, bringing RSL's record to 3-1-1.
RSL's "A" team, behind goals from Jason Kreis and Matt Behncke, led Salt Lake to a 2-0 halftime lead. In the second half, Salt Lake's reserves held off Kansas City thanks to a goal by rookie Luke Kreamalmeyer.
"We played very well in the first half, and our starting lineup was very impressive," said coach John Ellinger, whose team enjoyed a 2-0 lead at halftime. "We're just very happy that we're making progress, and today's game demonstrated exactly that."
Salt Lake goalie D.J. Countess didn't have to make a save in the first half thanks to the outstanding play of defensive starters Behncke, Brian Dunseth, Eddie Pope and Nelson Akwari.
RSL entered the game with high energy after winning two games on Sunday against the San Jose Earthquakes (1-0) and the Columbus Crew (2-0), while Kansas City rolled out a lineup that included 10 of the 11 players who represented the Wizards in MLS Cup 2004.
Real Salt Lake's first goal came off a corner kick in the 25th minute, when Behncke connected on a cross from Kreis, heading the ball into the goal.
Ten minutes later, Kreis tallied his third preseason goal in the last two games on an assist from Botswanan international Dipsy Selolwane.
"We showed good defensive organization throughout the game, which is very encouraging to me," Kreis said. "Offensively we're doing pretty well, considering it takes time to develop, and we're progressing. I can't wait to see where we are in another 45 days before our opener in New York."
In the second half, Kreamalmeyer scored his second goal of the preseason on an assist from Sergio Flores. Even though Kansas City replaced most of its starters at the half, the Wizards kept their central defense intact the full 90 minutes, which included standouts Nick Garcia and Jimmy Conrad.
Salt Lake will have a light training session Friday to prepare for its final preseason game Saturday against a U.S. amateur team. After that, Ellinger and his coaching staff will trim Salt Lake's squad to the necessary 28. The team will then have a few days off before reconvening in Portugal for three more weeks of training.