Sandy • A day after Sports Illustrated reported Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis had flown to England to meet about the possibility of becoming the first manager of the expansion New York City FC, Kreis did not deny the report but said his focus remains with his team in Utah.
“I want to be clear and say that nothing for me has changed,” he said. “My focus is completely on the team. My focus is on doing everything I can to win the Open Cup, challenge for a Supporters’ Shield and hopefully get us in a position to win an MLS Cup. Just because somebody came out with an article yesterday doesn’t change my position. That’s exactly where I have been and that’s where I will continue to be until the end of the season.”
According to SI.com, Kreis met with Manchester City officials — part of NYCFC’s ownership — and was made an offer to coach the club, which is slated to begin play in 2015.
Kreis’ contract is up at the end of the season and the coach said he will not make a decision about his future until RSL is done for the year.
In NYCFC, Kreis would almost certainly be privy to greater spending power thanks to multibillionaire owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Salt Lake, meanwhile, is one of the smallest markets in the league.
Still, Kreis may have more power when it comes to picking personnel in Utah. The team’s general manager, Garth Lagerwey, played with Kreis at Duke and as professionals. The two friends also work closely with RSL president Bill Manning when it comes time to make decisions.
Green with envy?
Luis Gil has put together solid performances for the United States.
The Real Salt Lake midfielder’s play helped the U.S. Under-20 team qualify for this summer’s World Cup, where Gil shined at times (specifically this terrific goal in an otherwise dismal match against Spain).
Now could the 19-year-old join Mexico?
Twitter was buzzing this week with rumors of that possibility. Andrew Wiebe, an editor for MLSSoccer.com, cited a “source close to the situation” in writing that Mexico has been “seriously inquiring” about Gil’s services. Brian Sciaretta reported the same on Yanks Abroad. Gil is not cap-tied to the U.S. men’s national team and he is eligible to play for Mexico through his father, who was born there. The midfielder could make a one-time switch and join El Tri.
But Gil told reporters Friday that he has not personally heard from Mexico or the United States.
“I know there are things out there talking about it, but I don’t know anything about it,” he said.
Asked if he would be interested in suiting up for El Tri, Gil said: “Not really.”
Speaking of Gil, the 19-year-old was named the second best player on Major League Soccer’s list of 24 players under the age of 24.
“Only Number 2?” Kreis asked reporters. “Who is Number 1?”
The answer: Portland’s Darlington Nagbe, a 23-year-old attacker who has 8 goals and three assists this year for the Timbers.
“Ah,” Kreis said. “Good player, too.”
Gil, meanwhile, said he was unaware of the distinction, however welcomed it may be. Instead, the young midfielder was focused on getting back to full health after spending some time in the emergency room this week dealing with an illness.
“He did get a full day of meals in [Thursday] and kept them all down,” Kreis said.
With speculation still swirling about Kreis’ future, RSL fans had to breathe some relief Friday as Toronto FC announced that its new general manager’s name was not Garth Lagerwey.
Lagerwey was linked to the job opening and, according to the Toronto Sun, may have been the team’s first choice. Instead, Toronto revealed the hiring of Tim Bezbatchenko, a 31-year-old attorney who has spent the last three seasons as the senior director of player relations and competition with MLS.
Lagerwey is under contract with Salt Lake through 2014.
— Aaron Falk