With a few minutes remaining in last night’s 2-1 Real Salt Lake victory over Seattle Sounders, Coach Jason Kreis walked defiantly off the pitch, abandoning his post on the RSL bench. Moments before Kreis appeared to throw a cup of water after what he viewed as an exasperating no call on behalf of the lead official. And then Ned Grabavoy appeared to be fouled, but there was again no whistle on the play. That appeared to be the last straw for Kreis, as he quickly turned and walked down the tunnel.
However, there may be a bit more to this story. Kreis was seen gesturing to the fourth official frequently during this match when referee Matt Geiger failed to make a call that the RSL coach felt should be made. That fourth official, Allen Chapman, is one that has held the ire of Kreis in the past. Last season, Chapman was the center referee in a match at San Jose that ended up in a 5-0 rout by the Quakes over RSL. In that match there was a melee which resulted in Kyle Beckerman being ejected. Kreis seemed displeased with that ruling, and showed his displeasure in two subsequent matches in which Chapman was the fourth official. He showed this displeasure by sitting at the opposite end of the bench – away from the location of the fourth official. According to the Deseret News, he also refused to shake the hand of Chapman.
Chapman is a local referee from American Fork in his third season working with the league. Like another local referee, Tyler Ploeger, he is often used as a fourth official in matches at Rio Tinto Stadium.
One has to wonder if Chapman’s presence fueled the frustration of Kreis and led to him walking off the pitch despite his team holding a 2-1 lead at the time.
Kreis had only this to say, “I had too much coffee tonight at halftime. I needed to go to the bathroom.” Of course, this comment was accompanied by a grin, and a chuckle from the media.