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MLS: Orlando City tabs former Real Salt Lake boss Jason Kreis as next head coach

July 19, 2016 GMT

Jason Kreis has landed. This time, the former Real Salt Lake coach will be donning a very specific shade of purple.

On Tuesday, Kreis was announced as the new head coach of Orlando City SC eight months after he was fired by New York City FC. The 43-year-old left RSL in Dec. 2013 after guiding the club to four major tournament finals in seven years prior to joining expansion side New York City FC.

“We are very excited that we have got our man,” Orlando City SC president Phil Rawlins said in a news release. “Jason is a progressive-thinking and highly ambitious coach, who is very familiar with success in MLS. Jason’s playing philosophy is the same attack-minded, possession-oriented style of soccer that we have built our club around. He is a winner who checks all the boxes for us.”

Orlando City owner Flavio Augusto da Silva said in a release Tuesday that Kreis recently flew to Portugal where the two spoke “for several hours.” Joining Kreis in Orlando are former RSL assistant coaches Miles Joseph and C.J. Brown.

“I feel very strongly that he can bring us to the next level of development as a club, a higher level,” da Silva said.

Two years on the job in the Bronx was it for Kreis, who was let go by NYCFC last November. NYCFC went 10-17-7 under Kreis in its first season in Major League Soccer. Ironically, Kreis now takes over for the other 2015 MLS expansion side, Orlando City, who fired coach Adrian Heath on July 6. RSL defender Chris Wingert, who spent last year in New York with Kreis, said in June that he wouldn’t be surprised to see several MLS clubs chasing the former RSL boss.

“I think there’s going to be a ton of teams this next foreseeable future that are dying to have Jason take over their club,” Wingert said. “I’m sure if that’s what he wants to do, then he’ll land somewhere and do a great job at whatever club he ends up at.”

Former Orlando Sentinel beat writer Paul Tenorio, now with FourFourTwo.com, first reported that Kreis and Orlando City were in advanced talks on Sunday. On Tuesday, Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep was first to report the hiring. The biggest fish on the market was landed by Orlando City despite its tumultuous start in MLS. The club currently does not have a general manager after former GM Paul McDonough left the club last December. Soon after, chief soccer executive Armando Carneiro parted ways with the club.

Managerial openings across the league reached beyond central Florida. Incoming MLS expansion franchises Atlanta United FC (2017) and Los Angeles Football Club (2018) are on the prowl for its first-ever head coaches. Kreis had also long been rumored as a candidate to replace MLS coaching legend Sigi Schmid in Seattle, where former RSL GM Garth Lagerwey now heads the Sounders’ front office.

Kreis now jumps in midseason with Orlando City, which sits eighth in the Eastern Conference at 4-5-10 and 22 points. The Lions feature Brazilian star Kaká and arguably the best young forward in MLS in Canadian striker Cyle Larin, who has 26 goals in 45 career appearances.

During his nine years at RSL — seven of which were as head coach — the team went 111-87-69 across all competitions. The club won the MLS Cup final in 2009 and made final runs to the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League final, the 2013 U.S. Open Cup final and the 2013 MLS Cup final.

ckamrani@sltrib.com

Twitter: @chriskamrani