Expansion clubs do battle in L.A.
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But Jason Kreis scored his first two goals for Real Salt Lake -- just 13 minutes apart -- as the home side took the lead. Kreis first converted from the penalty spot as Eddie Robinson bundled over Brian Dunseth from behind while challenging for a cross, San Jose 'keeper Pat Onstad going the right way but just unable to push the shot outside of the post (21).
Kreis then scored on the end of a quick counterattack, launched by a rampaging run right down the center of the park by Clint Mathis. Mathis slipped a pass to Kreis steaming on his left, and the all-time MLS goal scorer added to his record by hammering a low shot through Onstad's legs.
But after having seen late goals cost them points on three occasions this season, this time it was the Earthquakes who provided a late decider. Brian Mullan served up a looping cross from the right flank to the far post where substitute Alejandro Moreno neatly headed home to give the visitors a share of the spoils.
"Absolutely, there's no question we're going to be disappointed with that," Kreis told the Salt Lake Tribune. "To have played such good soccer in the first half and then to let ourselves down like we did in the second half is obviously not what we're looking to do."
Real head coach John Ellinger made four changes to the team that lost 3-0 to FC Dallas the previous weekend. Matt Behncke came into central defense for the suspended Eddie Pope, while Nelson Akwari came into the side for Marlon Rojas. Brian Kamler also came back into the team, replacing Luke Kreamalmeyer in midfield, while Andy Williams also returned after suffering a groin injury on April 9, Dipsy Selolwane returning to the substitutes bench.
Here's Ellinger's team (4-3-2-1): D.J. Countess - Rusty Pierce, Matt Behncke, Brian Dunseth, Nelson Akwari - Brian Kamler - Chris Brown (Evan Whitfield 80), Clint Mathis, Andy Williams (Leighton O'Brien 66), Leslie Fitzpatrick - Jason Kreis
Ellinger changed his formation to allow the return of Andy Williams to the lineup, while keeping Clint Mathis and Jason Kreis in the team. That's the way RSL started the season (until Williams went down with a groin injury in the second week, but presented a different look against San Jose.
"Coach Ellinger changed our tactics a little bit, putting me up front by myself and Andy (Williams) and Clint (Mathis) behind me to get things started," Kreis said. "We're obviously better with both of those players on the field."
In one match with the new tactical scheme, Real Salt Lake doubled their goal output for the season. But RSL are still at the bottom of the league with four goals from five games. "It just seemed to work pretty good for us," Ellinger said. "It just kind of plays to our strength."
Ellinger will again have center back Eddie Pope in the team against Chivas, after serving his one-match suspension following his sending off against FC Dallas. Matt Behncke is almost certain of returning to the substitutes bench to give way for Pope. But the Real boss said he isn't yet sure if Nelson Akwari will return at left back, or if Marlon Rojas will come back into the team.
Goalkeeper D.J. Countess has faced more shots than any goalkeeper in the league - including a remarkable 15 from the Earthquakes last week - and Ellinger and teammates have been pleased with the effort of the young 'keeper. "He's been playing great," defender Eddie Pope told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We just need to protect him more, as a team. Make it so he's facing fewer shots. He has hung in there and he's saved us, there's no doubt about it."