LEHI, Utah — Real Salt Lake had an impressive win over San Jose on Saturday with a 4-0 score line, but the turning point in that match came in the 61st minute, when forward Álvaro Saborío went down in the box, earning both a penalty kick and a red card on the Quakes’ defender Bobby Burling.
The replay failed to show any contact and it appeared that Saborío went down without being touched on the play. It raised some criticism of Saborío and Real Salt Lake, who had been the victim of a similar flop by Charlie Davies when D.C. United visited Rio Tinto Stadium a month prior.
At that time, RSL was critical of Davies’ actions.
However, one person who has been consistent in both cases is RSL head coach Jason Kreis. He has publicly decried both incidents. Kreis said immediately after Saturday’s match that once he had a chance to review the play, if he didn't speak to Saborío if he felt that there was some embellishment, then he would be a “hypocrite."
Apparently, he has done just that.
“The truth of the matter is that I think that Sabo embellished it,” Kreis admitted to MLSsoccer.com after a training session on Tuesday. “And as I said at that time, I’m not a fan of that.
“I was very clear in my feelings about Charlie Davies here,” he continued, “so I’ve already talked to Sabo a little bit about it in a little bit of a more unorganized fashion, and I plan to speak with him again because he does know that I was clear in my scathing remarks about Charlie Davies’ play.”
Kreis did point out that he felt midfielder Brad Ring gave Saborío a tug earlier on in the play, and that Burling was clearly attempting to obstruct Saborío. In the end, Kreis felt that there was “a little bit of contact,” but he still holds his player accountable for his response to the situation.
However, Kreis also understands that the goal and mentality of a striker is to find a way — any way — for his team to score a goal. It’s his job, and everything that he’s been conditioned to do as a player.
“Players need to have their team get points so that their coach keeps job stability and so that they can have a little stability,” said Kreis, who was notably less diplomatic on the subject last month. “Let’s face it — we’re professionals and we want to keep our jobs, and we want to be able to buy something for our wife and feed our kids. It’s not clear-cut at all.”
But Kreis feels like it’s the referees that play a crucial role in any cases of simulation.
“As I said of the Davies incident at the time — it’s all well and good to get mad at Charlie Davies about the situation, but you expect the referee to get it right.”
He did offer up one potential solution for the referees in these situations.
“In my eyes, they are always going to make mistakes, but if they have instant replay maybe they change that call,” Kreis explained. “Maybe they change that call and get it right, and then San Jose’s not going crazy and I’m not fighting Jon Busch after the game.”