By Glenn Crooks
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Jason Kreis was a very good soccer player.READ MORE: FBI Says Body Found In Grand Teton National Park Believed To Be Gabby Petito
He was the first player in Major League Soccer to reach 100 goals with the Dallas Burn and then Real Salt Lake.
From 1996-2000, he made 14 appearances with the United States men’s national team.
However, there had always been a regret that lingered with Kreis. He did not take the risk and pursue a playing stint in Europe.
Consequently, when Kreis was given the opportunity to launch an expansion team in New York City, supported by two of the colossal sports franchises in the world, he repelled the safe choice.
On December 11, 2013, Kreis became the first head coach of New York City Football Club under the auspices of the Manchester City Football Club and the New York Yankees.
From 2005-13, Kreis lived in Park City, a glorious haven for those who prefer the outdoors to video games. There is skiing on some of the finest slopes in the winter — it’s the former site of the Winter Olympics — and fly fishing, hiking and mountain biking is the trend in the spring, summer and fall.
Kreis would frequently hop on his bike and traverse the landscape behind his house, all the while building a serial playoff franchise with Real Salt Lake. He won the MLS Cup in 2009 and lost the 2013 final on penalties.
Kreis had comfort and success, The safe option would have been to remain in this topographical utopia where he had re-constructed a team that the faithful at Rio Tinto could adore.
Instead, Kreis and his wife, Kimberly, made the bold decision to leave a secure environment for a project that presented a decisive challenge: build a program from scratch with the power brokers, City Football Group, observing from afar.
Kreis moved his wife and two boys to Manchester, England for six months. This phase of New York City’s development permitted the head coach to be integrated into the Manchester City system.
Patrick Vieira, the manager of the Elite Development Academy squad at Manchester City, was one of the figures who connected with Kreis.
NYCFC had failed to qualify for the playoffs, joining a horde of expansion sides that have fallen short of the postseason. Orlando City fell short this year, and Seattle and Chicago remain the only first-year teams to ever qualify for the MLS postseason. (Chicago miraculously won it all in 1998.)
A portion of Monday’s separation announcement from the club read: “Prior to the start of the season, it was agreed with the coaching team that securing of a playoff place was an appropriate target for this year.”
To illustrate the lack of connection between New York City FC and its head coach, here is a quote that Kreis uttered during our normal pregame chat before the final NYCFC broadcast on WFAN.
“We never really had a set plan for what those expectations were,’’ Kreis said prior to coaching his final match for NYCFC versus New England. “As a coaching staff and as a team we thought we could be a playoff team and a team that could contest for (the) MLS Cup in year one. Truthfully, I think that was a little far-fetched.”
Ironically, it is Vieira whose name has surfaced as a replacement for the man he helped acclimate to the Manchester City philosophy.
Another name to emerge from overseas is one of the most highly respected managers in the game, Fabio Capello.
Capello has won a European Championship and four Serie A titles with AC Milan. He was La Liga champion twice with Real Madrid, most recently in 2007. Capello was also the national team coach for both England and Russia, but was dismissed by Russia in July of this year.READ MORE: Public School 79 In East Harlem To Remain Closed Due To COVID-19 Cluster; Remote Learning In Place Until Sept. 28
In Andrea Pirlo’s book, “I Think Therefore I Play,” he tells the story of how Capello tried to convince Pirlo to leave Milan for Real Madrid.
“Only one of the most successful coaches in the history of the sport,” remarks Pirlo while recounting the call from Capello.
Multiple sources have indicated that Pirlo, Frank Lampard and David Villa played a role in the removal of Kreis, a triumvirate of experienced internationals who did not foresee a positive future for NYCFC with a coach who only had domestic credentials.
Bearing that in mind, one would assume that New York City FC hierarchy would consult their DP’s about a replacement. Like Pirlo, Lampard has high regard for Capello from his England international experience while the Italian was in charge of The Three Lions.
– The New York Red Bulls host the second leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal against D.C. United this Sunday at 3 p.m. RBNY in in search of its first MLS Cup.
The Supporters’ Shield holders recorded a crucial road goal on Dax McCarty’s set-piece header for a 1-0 win in their opener at RFK Stadium last Sunday.
D.C. United had one shot on frame the entire match – at home.
“We’re going to play this game exactly the same way we did in the first game,” said D.C.’s leading scorer, Chris Rolfe.
“Please do,” would be the response from Red Bull supporters.
In addition to the paltry efforts on goal, D.C. completed only 55 percent of its passes, the third-lowest total since 2010.
The 2014 Eastern Conference Champions held possession for only 40 percent of the match. They committed a whopping 24 fouls and enter the RBA cauldron where the Red Bulls are 2-0 against their rivals, outscoring D.C. 5-0 in the two matches.
D.C. United has just one road win in its last nine matches – a 1-0 victory at Saputo Stadium when the Montreal Impact, without Didier Drogba, outshot D.C. United, 25-1.
– Both RBNY center backs, Matt Miazga and Ronald Zubar, are on cautions. If there’s another booking for either, they would be suspended for the next playoff match.
“We’ll have to be slightly cautious,” warned Coach of the Year nominee Jesse Marsch. “But not so cautious that it costs us.”
It would behoove the D.C.’s attacking group to run at the New York center backs at every opportunity since Marsch suggested that in-game management might necessitate an adjustment.
“If either of them (Miazga or Zubar) get a yellow, we may have to sub the other one out of there,” said the former Princeton assistant.
In that event, Karl Ouimette — who learned today that he is on the Canadian roster for Would Cup Qualification — would be the first choice, followed by Roy Miller, who is more comfortable as a fullback.
– Miazga was rewarded by USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann for his performances both with the U-23s and Red Bulls. Miazga was selected for two upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, beginning with St. Vincent and the Grenadines on November 13.MORE NEWS: NYC Restaurant Owners Sound Off On Vaccine Mandate
– As of November 1, 16-year-old Tyler Adams is a full-time player for the Red Bulls. He is not eligible for the postseason but will be with the first team when the preseason opens in 2016.