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Real Salt Lake arrives in Kansas City, prepped for MLS Cup

Published December 5, 2013 9:50 pm

Kreis acknowledges team exceeded his expectations this year.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Kansas City, Mo. • Jason Kreis arrived to Thursday evening's final MLS Cup news conference in downtown Kansas City in camouflage pants, flanked by his captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

So the question was posed: What's with the pants?

Kreis said the dress code for postseason road trips are set by Beckerman and Rimando, which led to the choosing of a mix of a camouflage-denim combination for Portland after the disaster that was denim-on-denim team-wide when RSL went to L.A. and lost in Leg 1 of the Western Conference semifinal.

"That didn't work, so we switched it up," Beckerman said, smiling.

More serious questions were presented for the RSL trio, which jetted to the Three Points Club in downtown Kansas City after their flight was a bit delayed, pushing back the news conference a few minutes.

Kreis reiterated to the media that, entering this season, he would have predicted RSL would finish maybe .500 due to the several offseason shifts on the roster.

"This [season] has been absolutely fantastic," he said. "It seems like a dream come true. I know and consider myself to be a leader of [the team]; I feel being a part of this group has been incredibly special."

RSL, SKC deserving

Prior to RSL taking the podium Thursday, Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes, goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen and midfielder Graham Zusi answered inquiries, but Vermes, a former MLS player in Kansas City, said he believes the two most-deserving teams in the league are in the final.

"No disrespect to any other teams in Major League Soccer, but I truly believe that two of the better teams are in the MLS Cup," he said.

Vermes said he's seen both RSL and Sporting Kansas City, two small-market teams who had to endure growing pains in the last decade, mature through that time period to becoming the clubs they've become. He said Sporting Park will be showcasing its 36th consecutive sellout Saturday afternoon.

Injury update

Kreis said he believes defender Chris Wingert, who was recovering from a broken rib suffered Nov. 10, is "fully fit and ready" ahead of Saturday's MLS Cup, adding he's trained fully for the last 12 days and he's in full contention for the 18 and starting lineup.

Kreis added forward Alvaro Saborio is fit and in contention for Saturday's starting lineup, while rookie forward Devon Sandoval picked up an injury Wednesday and is "very touch-and-go" ahead of the cup final.