LEHI, Utah — After Real Salt Lake’s 3-2 loss at Houston off of stoppage-time goal last weekend, head coach Jason Kreis issued a bit of an ultimatum to his squad.
“There have been a lot of players that have gotten a whole ton of opportunities, and a lot of them quite frankly aren’t getting the job done,” Kreis said following the loss, RSL’s third in the past four games. “Unless we get this turned around here and start heading in a positive direction for the playoffs, there’s going to be a lot of difficult decisions to make this offseason.”
And while those comments came in the emotional moments after the final whistle, the RSL chief stood by them on Wednesday.
“I think it was a little bit heat of the moment, but it’s also the bare bones truth,” he said after a practice session.
Captain Kyle Beckerman didn’t seem fazed by the coach's comments.
“That just comes with bad results, I think,” Beckerman said. “He’s an emotional guy, and that was tough to take, losing like we did at the last second.”
Beckerman did admit, however, that barring a change to the trajectory of RSL’s season, changes are likely inevitable.
“As of now, there probably will be [changes], but there’s still quite a bit of season left,” he said. “We can still do some good things for the season, and so hopefully that’s the way that it will work and we won’t have to change a lot. But who knows — maybe it will have to happen.”
Teammate Will Johnson put it a bit more bluntly.
“This is a results business,” he said. “They’ll get rid of you and find somebody else. That’s what happened when Jason came here. He got rid of a bunch of players and brought in guys that got results. And now, if this group proves that they can’t get results and get things back on track, then they’ll bring in new guys.
“Some of the younger guys here don’t quite understand that yet,” Johnson continued. “They need a wake-up call. I think we’ve got enough veteran guys where we understand you’re only as good as your last game. It’s as simple as that.”
Kreis does feel confident that his squad has what it takes to stem the recent losing tide and avoid wholesale changes in the offseason. They face Chivas USA on the road on Saturday.
“Anybody that’s part of our club that feels like it’s a helpless situation should leave, because we’re not helpless at all,” Kreis said. “We have the ability. We know what to do. We have the right mentality. We have the right experience. We have everything we need to bring ourselves out of this hole. And if we continue to believe and to fight, we will.”