SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis is very accomplished in "coach speak."
He always holds his cards close to the vest and carefully chooses how he talks about an opponent. So it comes as no surprise to hear him talk about the importance of his club's final four MLS regular season games and if they need three points from all of them or if any have more value than another.
"The next one [is most important]," he said of the team's game against Chivas Saturday night at the Home Depot Center (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). "I don't know that we need three from all of them, but we need to stay focused on one at a time, so the only one I'm talking about and thinking about is Chivas."
There is another reason why the Chivas game has a little extra meaning for Kreis and many of the RSL players as well: the Goats are coached by former Real assistant coach Robin Fraser.
Before taking the Chivas job in January 2011, Fraser spent four seasons on Kreis' staff. He was primarily in charge of the defense – earning plenty of success as the club won the MLS Cup in 2009 and broke records in many defensive categories in 2010. Kreis and Fraser grew close during that time, and they still maintain a friendship.
"[We don't talk] as often as I would like, but we text message quite a bit," said Kreis. "I don't think either one of us finds the time to match up to talk to one another on the phone, but we have texted quite a bit."
It isn't a secret that Chivas (7-15-7) have struggled this season, and particularly of late, having lost their last five and picked up just two points from their last nine games. So when the two coaches talk, does Kreis offer any advice?
"Not so much," said Kreis on if the conversations turn to soccer or coaching. "I think just as a general sense of respect that you should give other coaches, you don't want to offer your opinion when it's not asked for.
"I know it's difficult times there. I've been through difficult times myself, so more just stuff about support – keep your chin up, keep going, if you believe if you keep doing the right things that things will turn around."
From afar, Kreis isn't sure what is the cause of Fraser's team's struggles, but he did revert back to normal when describing the upcoming game.
"I don't know what they have had to deal with, but I still think they are a team that has some very quality, dangerous players. If we don't give them our full respect and attention, they'll beat us," he said.
Even if Fraser weren't his friend, Kreis still wouldn't have a bad thing to say about the club.
"That is one thing that I try to never indulge in," said Kreis of possibly trash talking with his friend. "Every time when I was player and even still as a coach, every time I began to and begin to feel overconfident and maybe say something stupid, it always comes back to haunt me and always has."
Saborío likely to return
Álvaro Saborío injured his right shoulder against Tauro FC in a CONCACAF Champions League game on September 18 and was originally diagnosed with a second degree AC joint sprain, meaning he'd be out 2-4 weeks, but the Costa Rican striker returned to training only two days later and is almost certain to play against Chivas.
"Yeah he’s in contention, it’s just a question of if we think he can be effective in a starting role or a substitute role," said Kreis of his team's leading scorer.