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Real Salt Lake notebook: GM Garth Lagerwey defends retiring Jason Kreis' jersey

Published: Friday, March 25 2011 9:18 p.m. MDT

SANDY — Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey is in touch with social media. So when word broke on Thursday about RSL retiring Jason Kreis' No. 9 jersey, like thousands of others, Lagerwey went to Twitter to read the chatter about the topic.

Real Salt Lake GM Lagerwey defends retiring Kreis' jersey

He was frustrated with a lot of what he read, and on Friday he made his feelings known while talking with reporters. He doesn't see why soccer fans believe MLS needs to do everything like European teams.

"We live in America. We play in an American soccer league. We have playoffs, we don't have relegation, we retire numbers. I can't imagine anything less controversial. America is a great place, I like living in the United States, I don't need to live in Europe. I'm not envious of the Europeans. I don't need to work in Europe. And by the way, if you do. That's cool. Emigrate," said Lagerwey.

"We live in America. And at least for me, man, I've been taught every day that I'm alive this is the greatest country on earth, so why do we apologize? Why is it bad to be American? This is my whole CONCACAF rant. My goodness if we don't try to win this competition and show we're the best we're never going to be the best. And we're Americans, so we should be the best, or we should at least strive to be the best.

"It drives me crazy these people who say we've got to do everything like Europe. Why? Why don't we try to beat Europe?"

As for Kreis, he admits having his jersey retired seems a bit odd.

"I think it's a little much. That's my honest opinion," he said. "It's a tremendous, tremendous show from Dave, and a great, great thing, but I just don't know that I really deserve something like that."

Kreis scored 17 of his 108 career goals with RSL, while the rest were scored with Dallas.

"I get that Jason may not have played 500 games for RSL wearing the No. 9. But look at his career body of work. His playing career alone speaks for himself. Why our franchise wouldn't want to be associated with Jason as a player would be just baffling to me," said Lagerwey.

RIMANDO QUESTIONABLE: Nick Rimando (ankle) and Jamison Olave (hamstring) are both questionable for tonight's match against Los Angeles.

Rimando has two bone spurs in his right ankle, but prefers to postpone surgery until the end of the season.

"Just knowing it's not going to cause any more damage internally with tendons or anything, and it's more-so a pain-threshold thing, that's good for piece of mind," said Rimando, who is coming off a career season in 2010.

Rimando practiced with the team during its short 40-minute training session at Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday, but admits kicking the ball was painful. He was able to jump and do all of his other movement, however, pain free.

"As of now I'm going the route of no surgery and letting it heal on its own. Every day it's getting better. Hopefully in the next two weeks it will be 100 percent," said Rimando, who made 10 saves in RSL's season-opening win at San Jose last Saturday.

It's all about where the bone settles. Trainers have informed Rimando that there will be good days and there will be bad days.

"As of right now it's in a good spot tucked in somewhere. I hope it stays there," said Rimando.

RSL SIGNS CHIN: When second-year player Conor Chin was released by the New York Red Bulls on March 1, like any player, panic set in.

When Real Salt Lake contacted his agent within a few days expressing interest, the 23-year-old jumped at the chance to go on trial with one of the best teams in MLS.

"That was good news for me because I wanted to shorten the amount of time between playing and not playing," said Chin.

On Thursday, RSL signed Chin to an apprentice contract.

"I felt like I was kind of in limbo for about a month. Now I can settle in and look for a place, and not live out of a suitcase so much," said Chin, who was a third-round draft pick by New York last year.

Kreis believes that at 6-foot, Chin is more in the mold of a striker like Alvaro Saborio.

"I think we're fortunate that Conor became available, and now it's up to him to prove he's capable and prove he's good enough to be able to contribute going forward," said Kreis. "I do think he has a lot to learn, and hopefully we have a lot to offer him in that department. He may move forward very quickly."

email: jedward@desnews.com

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