This Ain’t Salt Lake: Kreis losing sleep over NYCFC woes

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

New York City FC boss Jason Kreis is losing sleep. And with good reason.

The expansion side, who entered the season with so much hype and promise, have fallen well short of expectations, earning a single victory on the year while riding an unsightly seven game winless streak — emphasized by a crushing defeat against the Seattle Sounders at Yankee Stadium.

“I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights to think of ways to get this team to improve, to stay positive, because I do think there are a lot of positive things to look to, and to have some patience, and that’s probably my biggest downfall in my character is that I have very little patience,” Kreis said after the match.

“I guess I didn’t realize it would be this difficult. Maybe I forgot how very hard it is to build a team in this league and have success on a continuous basis, a consistent basis.”

That is a surprising statement, especially when one examines the roots of coach Kreis.

When former Real Salt Lake owner Dave Checketts bestowed the reigns of his franchise to then-team striker Jason Kreis, Major League Soccer fans and pundits took notice — and derided his decision. After all, RSL was a floundering franchise whom, to that point, earned an unsightly 15-35-14 record through two seasons, and the trend continued into 2007.

However, the former MLS All-Time Goalscoring Leader managed to right the ship, inheriting a club with an 0-2-2 record in 2007 and guiding them to a 6-13-7 run the rest of the way.

Shortly there after, Kreis became the focal point of Salt Lake’s emergence. Through his personal scouting and investment, RSL became a league power in short time. They made the playoffs in 2008, falling runner-up to the New York Red Bulls for the Western Conference title — a breathe away from an MLS Cup appearance. By 2009, they beat the LA Galaxy for the MLS Cup – the first of two cup wins under the Kreis era. The turnaround was complete by 2013, with the club qualifying for every postseason since his inaugural year.

New York City, of course, adds a different dimension of difficulty. Whereas Salt Lake were a small market club with no expectations for success, NYCFC come with two of the most successful ownership groups at the helm of the franchise, building a club in the media capital of the world.

With the added glare comes added scrutiny. Yes, NYCFC have suffered injuries — and more than their share of bad luck along the way. However, in a town that seldom looks past the standings, Kreis finds himself in a hopeless spiral, trying to find success for an expansion club that, on notoriety alone, garners more attention than some past MLS Cup winners throughout the country.

That monumental task will not get any easier this weekend. The Hudson Derby, their first match against the New York Red Bulls, comes this Sunday at Red Bull Arena. The original New York franchise enjoyed some time away from the limelight, surprising everyone with a two month unbeaten run under the guidance of head coach Jesse Marsch.

Even after a loss, the Red Bulls are white hot heading into the Blue and Red battle, while Kreis will once again be forced to retool his lineup just to stay competitive.

That is the pressure that comes with the job — and the environment Kreis will be expected to overcome.

“I think we certainly will look to improve, but I think it’s one of the things that really keeps me up at night, because I think these fans deserve a little bit more and a little bit better, and I’d like to be able to give that to them right now,” he said. “Hopefully they will stay patient as I will try to, and we’ll look to continue to improve.”

  • paul

    watch NYC steal a W in Harrison against all expectations!

    • Resguard

      I really doubt that, but miracles have happened.

    • This is MLS. Totally doable.

  • Anonymous

    Of all the despicable things associated with Mansour’s club,
    losing a couple of games is what keeps Kreis from sleeping?

  • Ali is my man

    NYCFC management have screwed up big time. No Lampard, no 3rd DP to cover, and a team right now that has no chance of making the playoffs. What a missed opportunity to make a big splash in the Big Apple and MLS.

  • I can’t see Villa sticking this out in the end. Team just sucks and Lamps ain’t enough. More low level play in the ever expanding world of MLS mediocrity. Feel bad for Kreisler because this project is going to take a longggg time

  • sureshot

    Glad this team is failing. Hope the Man City money pulls out and takes their Bronx, Yonkers and Westchester plastics with them. Still haven’t met or seen a single ‘supporter’ who actually lives below 125th.

  • Chris

    Hi, I’m Chris. I’m a NYCFC supporter. I live in Brooklyn – does that qualify as below 125th street? So now you met one, at least on the internet. If you’d like to meet in person, I’m sure something can be arranged, I’ve got nothing to hide. Oh, and I grew up in NYC, Throgs Neck, Bronx born and raised, so you cannot give me the ol’ ‘of course, Brooklyn, transplant from another state’ treatment. If you want to call me a borough transplant, well, you got me there.

    • Guy Blades

      You guys should arrange to meet. This could be a love connection.

  • Chris

    I am happily married, so no love connection in that way, but a beer connection? Sure. Time and place sureshot, time and place.