KANSAS CITY, Kan. — MLS Cup 2013 is done and dusted. So now what for Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis?
After seven seasons in charge, Kreis is out of contract and has a big decision to make: Take up RSL's reportedly lucrative offer to remain at the club or take up a new adventure somewhere else, most notably 2015 expansion franchise New York City FC?
Kreis steered all questions about his future aside during the walk-up to MLS Cup, but admitted after RSL’s dramatic penalty-shootout loss to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday that the biggest challenge is still to come.
"It’s interesting that the last couple of weeks have been so hectic with all the details to consider and all the preparations for the match and families coming to the Cup and hotel rooms and tickets and everything else," Kreis said in his postgame press conference. "But all of that was pretty easy. What happens over the next couple of days is real hard."
Earlier this week, Kreis told media that after MLS Cup he would "go into hiding for three days and try and make a decision,” following the match, his second appearance in the league title game in seven years at the helm of RSL.
For anyone looking for clues on Kreis’ future, his players say he didn't offer any.
"No. We’re not even thinking about that right now," RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando responded when asked about whether Kreis addressed his future.
"Just ‘Thank you, hold your heads up high,’" Rimando said about Kreis' message to the team after the match. "We’ve already won in his opinion … That he loves us and just to thank everybody who was involved this year because it really was a special year."
But if this were Kreis' final hurrah with Real Salt Lake, would he be satisfied to leave this way? With a penalty-kick loss in an MLS Cup final?
"I’m really, really pleased, over the moon with what this group did this year," Kreis said. "Surprised. I think they’ve overachieved. I think they proved me wrong and the way I thought. I think it’s been an incredible, incredible, incredible year.”