SALT LAKE CITY - Real Salt Lake, Major League Soccer's 12th team, notched another preseason victory today with a 3-2 win over the Kansas City Wizards in Bradenton, Fla., bringing RSL's preseason record to 3-1-1. Goals from FW Jason Kreis, DF Matt Behncke and MF Luke Kreamalmeyer provided the scoring.
"We played very well in the first half and our starting lineup was very impressive," said Head 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."
Thursday's RSL lineup was as follows:
GK - Countess (Nolly 46); DF - Behncke (Jackson 46), Dunseth (Lookingland 46), Pope (Knowles 46), Akwari (Halilovic 46); MF - Kamler (Ara 46), Mathis (O'Brien 46), Brenes (Kreamalmeyer 46), Whitfield (Novak 46); FW - Kreis (Flores 46), Selolwane (Watson 46)
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.
KC Head Coach Bob Gansler started the following:
GK - Oshoniyi (Will Hesmer); DF - Zotinca (Roberts 46), Conrad (Graham 80), Garcia, Burciaga; MF - Klein, Zavagnin, Gutierrez (Walsh 76), Minagawa-Webster (Alberts 46); FW - Arnaud, Wolff (Preki)
Real Salt Lake's first goal came off a corner kick in the 25th minute, when DF Matt Behncke connected on a cross from Kreis, heading the ball into the goal. Behncke beat the Wizards defense with a near-post run, heading the ball home from just outside the six-yard box.
Just 10 minutes later, Kreis tallied his third preseason goal in the last two games. MF Clint Mathis started the play with a chip to Kreis, who then made a deft one-touch pass to FW Dipsy Selolwane. The Botswanan international, who assisted on both Kreis goals in Sunday night's 2-0 win over Columbus, dribbled through several Wizards players before distributing the ball back to Kreis, who launched a first-time shot that sailed into the net.
"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 develop and we're progressing. I can't wait to see where we are in another 45 days before our opener in New York."
The Wizards narrowed the RSL lead to 2-1 on a Josh Wolff penalty kick in the 60th minute. Senad Halilovic went in on a strong tackle against Davy Arnaud and was whistled for the foul, which resulted in the Wolff penalty kick. Just 15 minutes later, RSL regained the two-goal margin when Smithfield, UT native Sergio Flores made a breaking run down the right side before finding 2005 MLS Combine MVP Kreamalmeyer in the box, with the Bradley University product slamming the ball home for the 3-1 lead.
"The last three or four games, the team has been playing really well together," Kreamalmeyer said. "Kansas City had most of their first team out in the second half and it was pretty even with our second team playing very aggressive soccer."
The game's final margin came when Kansas City MF Chris Klein scored following a Diego Walsh assist. Walsh entered the game for MF Diego Gutierrez following a late second half injury.