Kreis, the unexpected record holder
not even for a moment -- when the 5-foot-10 striker has been considered the most dangerous goal-scorer in MLS. There's always been a Lassiter, a Moreno, a Preki, a Stern John, a Taylor Twellman or a Carlos Ruiz ahead of him in the pecking order. Not being successful with the U.S. national team (one goal in 14 appearances from 1996-2000) hasn't helped his Q Rating, either.
Let's face it, though, Kreis and his national team career is a tired story. Scoring 100 goals in MLS has nothing to do with that, either.
When it comes to the mark he set Saturday in a 4-2 loss to Kansas City, it'd be nice and easy if we could properly compare it with benchmark statistical numbers in other sports. Saying that 100 goals is like winning 300 games for a pitcher, or catching 100 touchdowns as a receiver just doesn't cut it.
For starters, MLS isn't old enough as a league to really put into perspective what 100 goals means. Secondly, Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NFL do not have the possibility of having many of their best players leave the league for one in another country after they've achieved greatness.
If every top player in MLS signed a deal tomorrow guaranteeing they'd be here in the U.S. until they retire from the game, there'd be a lot of goal-scorers that would ultimately reach 100 goals. Twellman already has 57 strikes, and he's only in his fourth season. Current scoring leader Jeff Cunningham has 73 goals despite only being 28 years-old. If Donovan (39 goals) resists the temptation to try his luck overseas again and stays in MLS for several more years, he'll cruise into triple figures before he is even close to hitting the Big Three Oh. The same goes for Ruiz, who has an even 60 goals in just under four seasons of work. Moreno and Ante Razov will eventually get there, too.
None of that should take away from Kreis' accomplishment, though. The 32-year-old has accomplished this feat without ever playing for the top team in the league and without having someone like a Marco Etcheverry, a Carlos Valderrama or a Donovan laying off balls to him on a consistent basis. The fact that he only has one career hat trick seemingly shows that he wasn't someone who compiled bundles of goals by bullying the weaker teams in blowout victories. In fact, Kreis was often on teams that other scorers did that to.
What might be most impressive is his other MLS record of 30 game-winning goals. Having 30 percent of your goals decide a game is the type of meaningful statistic coaches look for when scouting for strikers. To have three of 10 goals serve as game-winners is one thing, but 30 out of 100? That type of production in crunch time can't be ignored.
When it comes right down to it, Kreis has to be considered as one of the Top 10 players ever to play in MLS. When you combine his longevity, his consistency, and his numbers, it's impossible to leave him off such a list. It also needs to be said that there might not have been a better free-kick taker over the last 10 years than Kreis. It would have been more apropos if his 99th goal was his 100th, as his strike around a New England Revolution wall and past Matt Reis last Wednesday was classic Jason Kreis.
The Real Salt Lake standout says he wants to keep playing for at least another five years and try to reach 150 goals. He just might do that, too. However, if he doesn't come close to accomplishing that feat and instead watches four or five players zoom on by him on the scoring charts after notching 100 goals, Kreis' place in history is already safe.
Whether he's first or 25th on the all-time goal-scoring list come MLS Season 20, Kreis is worthy of a Hall of Fame induction.