Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando says the Los Angeles Galaxy may be the most dangerous team he's faced yet this season. But don't expect that to change the way RSL plays come Saturday evening.
"I think we're both maybe stubborn teams that like to play our style of soccer," Nick Rimando said. "They don't match up against us to benefit them and we don't match up against them. We go out there and play our diamond shape. They play their shape and it's really whose soccer is better that day."
The Galaxy are coming off back-to-back MLS Cups and sit tied with RSL in second place in the Western Conference. Kreis called the Galaxy "the cream of the crop in our league" and Major League Soccer's "measuring stick."
But RSL has matched up well with LA, going 9-9-6 all time against the Galaxy.
"I just think it's two good teams that want to play the game," Kreis said. "I don't think either team is going to sit back and muddle things up or be ultra-defensive. That typically lends itself to good matches, and we can play. When we have a team that comes out and plays against us, a lot of times it leads to success on our part."
Score early, or just often?
Both RSL and L.A. will be looking to get an early goal on Saturday.
Last year, however, the team that scored first lost each of the three meetings.
"It was strange," said captain Kyle Beckerman, who should be back in the starting lineup after missing last week with a rib injury. "But ultimately I'd like to take the lead against them for sure. It gets them out of their defensive shell. They're going to have to come out and play a little bit more."
Asked what RSL had to do to stop a Galaxy midfield featuring Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho, Kreis minced no words.
"We outplay them," he said. "I think my midfield is better than theirs. I'll just say it that way."
While Beckerman said he's not sure RSL fans like many other teams, he admitted their desire to see wins over Los Angeles is even greater. The midfielder said he thought that had some carry over from basketball.
"Our fans really like to beat L.A. teams," he said. " We might take a little extra of that on the field Saturday to help out with what happened with the Jazz."
Health and happiness
RSL midfielder Cole Grossman will again be left out of Saturday selection as he recovers from a concussion. The team's only other injury concern is defender Chris Wingert, who is dealing with a quad strain.
"It's getting really difficult now," Kreis said. "We've got 29 out of 30 players healthy and available. That makes things really difficult. And it can make things emotionally trying for the players as well."
Los Angeles, meanwhile, has said veterans Robbie Keane (ankle) and Landon Donovan (leg) could be held out Saturday. Kreis, however, said he was skeptical.
"This is Bruce Arena we're talking about," he said with a laugh when asked if he gave much prudence he gave to the injury reports. "No. None."