SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake’s most recent victory over the New York Red Bulls was apparently vindication of an internal dialogue between head coach Jason Kreis and his players.
"There’s a methodology about who we are, and there are very clear definitions about when we want to win the ball and where we want to win the ball,” said Kreis after the 3-0 win. “I felt like we got away from that in the last two games and got very loose with our discipline, and so tonight, it was really rewarding to see the guys take that message on board and come through big time."
Although he didn’t explain the full context of this observation, Kreis admitted that having Kyle Beckerman extremely involved on the ball was a crucial aspect of what he wants to see.
"He is the guy for us that needs to be on the ball probably the most often of any guy on the field,” explained Kreis. “We want to walk off after the game, watch the video, and do our analysis and we want to find out that he did touch the ball more than any guy on the field, completed more passes than anybody on the field. And I think tonight he probably did that."
Beckerman assisted on two of the three goals in the match and was very active out of the back, finding space to make numerous runs forward.
After losing two straight matches by 2-0 margins, it appears that Kreis felt that clarifying his expectations for the team was important.
"I was really pleased again to clean up for some of the guys and say, ‘This X, Y and Z is what is expected of you. X, Y and Z are the reasons why you are so fantastic in our system, and why our system is so fantastic. If you do X, Y and Z, then we don’t have to worry about results.’"
While Kreis’ comments are somewhat opaque, it’s clear that RSL are still trying to sort out some of the deficiencies created in the absence of Javier Morales. At least in this match it appears that a message was delivered, and was well-received.