Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis said a week ago that his team was on the right track and finally returning to its former self. But now he has some new concerns he’s hoping smooth over in the team’s matchup against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday (4 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“I felt like we’ve been playing good — we’ve been improving in every match, and I felt very confident and positive about that,” Kreis told ESPN700 sports radio in Salt Lake City after the 2-0 Open Cup loss to Dallas on Tuesday. “Now I’m a little concerned, of course, with last night’s result — not just last night’s result, but the way that the match was played. It left me a little bit concerned, and I think the answer will come on Saturday.”
The primary concern is that of his Designated Player, Álvaro Saborío. The Costa Rican striker went off the field in the 88th minute of last Saturday’s match against FC Dallas and expressed his displeasure at being substituted off the pitch. As a reaction, the RSL staff chose to leave him behind in Salt Lake City for Tuesday’s Open Cup match.
However, the team expects him to participate against the Whitecaps this weekend.
“I think everybody saw what the reaction was from Álvaro as he went off the field and truthfully and honestly, that’s not the way we’ve built this franchise,” Kreis told ESPN700. “And part of our club motto is that ‘The Team is the Star,’ and the team is always the most important thing. And so we felt like this was something that we needed to address in-house. Because of that he was left home for the Dallas game.”
The other concern revolves around reigning Defender of the Year Jámison Olave, who has seen several plays go against him recently that have led, either directly or indirectly, to goals.
“Still disappointed that the referees seem to be so keen to call fouls on Olave right now, just because he’s a big man, and he’s a bit stronger than most of the players that he’s facing,” Kreis told ESPN700. “We do need to sit down with Jámison and see if there’s better ways to be playing against attackers so he’s not getting so many critical fouls called against him.
"If you go back and look at the New England game, two of their three goals were off of fouls called against Jámison. So we need to try to sort that situation out.”