Orlando City’s search for a new head coach could be coming to a close, if a report from FourFourTwo’s Paul Tenoriois to be believed (and it is), with former New York City FC and Real Salt Lake boss Jason Kreis emerging as the front-runner f or the gig.
While nothing has been signed or announced as of yet, it’s a promising sign by the club, which would certainly be making a big splash with its first coaching hire in more than eight years.
With so much negativity surrounding the club over the past eight months, this could signal the light at the end of the tunnel, as hiring Kreis could put Orlando City back on the road toward becoming the title-winning club it so heavily touted itself as heading into MLS.
The Lions have lost their way since making the jump from the USL, but Kreis could be their way back.
An MLS Cup champion with a small-budgeted team in Real Salt Lake in 2009, and nearly again in 2013, Kreis’ tenure in Utah — his first head coaching gig, stepping into the role in 2007 shortly after retiring as a player with RSL — put him on the map as one of the top coaches in the country. He amassed a 102-77-60 record across 239 games.
That, of course, was right up until he decided to leave for the lucrative opportunity awaiting at City Football Group with the arrival of NYCFC in MLS, along with their vast resources and oil money to spend. And who can blame a man for taking on that opportunity? After eight seasons with RSL, maybe a change and a new challenge was what Kreis was looking for.
But a horrible first season in the Bronx saw CFG lose patience, and eventually Kreis lost his job.
There are very few people outside of New York that believe Kreis should not have been given more time to right the ship. Everybody knows of his coaching success, and winning with a first-year side with three DPs all past their prime — and two of them only showing up mid-season — was a task too tall to conquer for even the best of coaches.
In Orlando, Kreis would again be coming in to an ownership group determined to win and willing to spend the money to make that happen. Whether or not he’s given a longer leash than at his former club, or even than the coach he’d be taking over for, can only be told over time, of course.
With a young core centered around Cyle Larin, Tommy Redding, Cristian Higuita, Kevin Molino, and the star DP, Kaká, there will be pressure on Kreis to succeed immediately. But if given time and proper resources to win, he’s a man capable of getting the job done.
Orlando City is at a very difficult time in its short history. The Lions know who they want to be, but they’re struggling to get to that point. In RSL, Kreis helped found and build a winning culture, not by out-spending other clubs, but by finding the right players to fit the right roles that would ultimately make the club successful week in and week out.
Orlando City needs that, and he can bring it to the club.
Jason Kreis is very well known for his past with Real Salt Lake, but he could build a much brighter future for himself with Orlando City.