Sandy • Jason Kreis joked with reporters a week ago saying his sister-in-law, a meteorologist, called for sunny skies and 50-degree temperatures in Kansas City, Kan., for Saturday's MLS Cup final at Sporting Park.
Suffice to say, the weather has changed a bit.
Forecasts for Saturday's final between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City calls for a high of 26 degrees under a sunny sky.
So what concerns the RSL coach heading into the club's second MLS Cup final appearance in five seasons is what certainly will be less-than-ideal conditions. He said he doesn't expect an icy playing surface, adding that he believes there's a decent heating system at Sporting Park.
"For the guys' point of view, it means their extremities are going to be a bit numb," he said. "One of the most important extremities is your foot, so we'll be concerned with that, be mindful of what they're doing."
Both teams are used to the cold weather because they play in climates that feature bitter cold, winter storms and frigid winds.
"Both teams are on the same field," Kreis said, "and both have to deal with it."
RSL stars were shut out of Tuesday's MLS Best XI announcement. The club finished with the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and is one of two qualifying teams for Saturday's MLS Cup final in Kansas City, but Javier Morales, Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman, RSL's top-three Best XI candidates, were not named. Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was named to the Best XI, as were Timber stars Will Johnson and Diego Valeri. Sporting Kansas City's Matt Besler and Graham Zusi also made the team.
Advice for the Blue Devils?
Kreis, a notable fan of the underdog role, was asked if he had any advice for his alma mater, Duke, when the Blue Devils take on No. 1 Florida State in the ACC title game as 29-point underdogs.
Kreis' focus on the task was cemented when he responded, "You just told me something I didn't know."
RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey had a different answer. The former Duke goalkeeper said he's been following his alma mater's run in college football.
"A 10-win Duke football team," he said. "Talk about writing a sentence you'd never thought you'd write in your lifetime."