COMMERCE CITY, Colo. Last week Jason Kreis was suspended and had no choice but to watch Real Salt Lake's match with FC Dallas from the press box. Against the Rapids he had a choice, but opted to take the game in from the press box again anyway.
Kreis joined general manager Garth Lagerwey throughout the first half in one of the radio booth's at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Kreis is obviously intrigued by the elevated view he gets from watching the game from the press box.
"I really like being up there to see the shape and to see what adjustments need to be made," said Kreis.
Assistant coaches Rob Fraser, Jeff Cassar and Brian Johnson ran things from the team bench with Kreis in constant contact with Johnson via a radio. Kreis returned to field level for the second half.Watching the game from above provides advantages on set pieces and formation according to Lagerwey.
UPHILL BATTLE: Real Salt Lake is definitely at a competitive disadvantage this year in reference to the Rocky Mountain Cup, and the scenario just got tougher with Thursday's loss.
In years past the Rapids and Real have always played each other four times, two at home and two away. With more teams in the league that's no longer feasible, and this year the rivals are only slated to play three times. Two of those matches are in Colorado, and by winning the first the Rapids are in great shape to win the Rocky Mountain Cup back in 2008.
The teams next hook up in Salt Lake City on Aug. 29 before wrapping up the season series in the regular season in finale on Oct. 25 in Colorado.Last season RSL won at Colorado on the final day of the season to win the Cup for the first time in its brief franchise history.
BACK TO THE 4-4-2: A week after opening things up with a 3-5-2 formation for the first time this year, RSL reverted to its base 4-4-2 formation against the Rapids.
Conversely the Rapids came out in a 3-5-2 for the first time this year, which drew mixed reactions from the players and coaches.
"Maybe the 3-5-2 caught us off guard, it's not really Xs and Os on defense, there's a lot of grey area in there and it kind of confuses for some reason. There's that extra guy in the midfield and we don't really know how to deal with it right now.
Kreis didn't quite see it that way."I know some of the players felt confused about what was going on, but from where I was sitting they didn't give us a whole lot of problems," said Kreis.
AROUND THE STADIUM: Among the 11,414 fans at Dick's Sports Goods Park Thursday were 10 rowdy RSL supporters who stood up, waved flags and chanted the entire match ... There was always section of fans sitting behind a Borchers' Brew Crew banner. RSL's Nat Borchers grew up in Colorado and there were a lot of family and friends on hand to cheer for him in his homecoming ... Former RSL midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy entered the game as an 88th minute sub for Colorado.
E-mail: [email protected]