Sunday's 3-0 loss that ended the Lions’ six-game unbeaten streak to begin life in their new stadium simply came down to the visitors being the better team on the night, and reversing the trend of two earlier defeats this year in head-to-head meetings behind the two 2015 expansion rivals.
But Kreis definitely bristled at pregame suggestions from opposing coach Patrick Vieira that New York “were the better team” in those two Orlando victories. And he had a very firm response to the idea that the visitors “dominated” Sunday night.
New York edged the possession battle 51.7 percent to 48.3, and the home team were only out-shot by Vieira’s men by a 12-10 margin. And that put Kreis on the defensive.
“I’m not quite sure if you looked at the possession statistics that they controlled the game,” the Lions coach said. “I think it was darn near 50-50. In my opinion, I think that we as coaches need to do a better job in respecting our opponents after performances.”
Kreis also insisted that the margin of victory turned on the two penalties – the one given against Kaká for a handball that David Villa converted for the 14th-minute opener, and the one Cyle Larin slammed against the post with Orlando trailing 2-0 in the second half.
“At the beginning of the game I really felt like things were going to go in a positive direction but then the [Kaká] penalty decision was made," he said. "I think that took some air out of us. And then I thought we were doing OK and the second goal comes and we take some more air out of us. So it was one of those games where I feel like, as stupid as this is to say, goals for me change games. It's very cliche-ish, but I really felt like that was where we were at tonight.
"And then we had an opportunity to score our goal, which I think could have changed the game in our direction, and we didn't take it. All in all it wasn't our night and I'm not going to stand here and say anything crass and disrespectful, as if we were the better team, because we weren't. New York City was very good tonight and deserved to win."