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Kreis gets Orlando back on track in return to Salt Lake

Published July 1, 2017 12:40 pm

In focus • No added specialness, he says, in beating former club.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sandy • Jason Kreis walked toward the center of the pitch as boos, mixed with scattered cheers, rained down on him from a crowd of 19,218 in Rio Tinto Stadium after the final whistle sounded Friday.

The former RSL coach and player didn't pay them any mind as he shook hands and collected a 1-0 victory for Orlando City.

"For me there's no more added emotion or added specialness about winning here," Kreis said. "It's just three points that we critically needed.

"We've been in a pretty big down spell for a while and haven't won too many games lately, so to get this game under our belt should be a boost for us."

It's been over three years since the beloved former RSL coach and player left the team and took the helm at New York City FC in the club's inaugural season.

The last and only other time Kreis paced the visiting coach's box at Rio Tinto, in May 2015, NYCFC fell 2-0 to RSL.

In his second return, he donned a purple button-down and directed an 8-6-5 Orlando City team to its first win in the month of June.

Orlando midfielder Will Johnson, who played for RSL from 2008 to 2012, punched in the only goal of the match.

He struck a similar tone when asked about claiming a win against his former club: The three points on the road were much more important.

"There's just so few people that are left from when I was here," he said, "so when I come into the stadium it doesn't feel the same way. I see faces and I don't know the people, so it just feels like another club.

"So that's all I mean by that. I don't mean any disrespect to Salt Lake or this stadium or these fans. It's just the nature of sports. Teams turn over. That's just the reality. Guys get traded, guys move on, franchises go their own way, and that's just how it goes."

Kreis settled into his seat in the second half as the clock ticked toward the end of the game and Orlando maintained the lead it had acquired on Johnson's 17th minute goal.

Under this Kreis' name, which looms large on the interior of the stadium, Orlando City claimed just its second road win of the season.

"Obviously Jason Kreis is a legend here at RSL," Salt Lake forward Brooks Lennon said. "But I think we needed the win tonight, and we were just focusing on that and putting our the best performance as we could. Unlucky we couldn't find the back of the net and get a win."






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