What an offensive explosion.

Although in the end the 2-2 tie was not the result Real Salt Lake was looking for, the two goals were a welcome sight. Real entered Saturday night's game against San Jose with a measly two goals in four games. The team had equaled that output by halftime.

Jason Kreis, the all-time leading scorer in Major League Soccer history, notched a pair of first-half goals to catapult the team's offensive production.

"We're all very happy for Jason," said Real coach John Ellinger. "It was good to see him get on track. His goal scoring days are not over just because he left Dallas. We knew Jason would score some goals, but he is also there to set things up and create chances for everyone."

One other thing that is not finished with Kreis is his celebratory back-flip. A staple in his earlier days in the league, he broke it back out after his second goal.

"It was good to see he still has his flip," joked Ellinger. "Hopefully we will see a lot more of it."

Kreis scored his first goal in the 21st minute on a penalty kick that was set up when Brian Dunseth was fouled in the box. His second goal came in the 34th minute and was set up by a Clint Mathis pass on a two-on-one break.

"I'm enjoying my time with Clint," said Kreis. "When I saw him making the run I knew I just needed to get myself into space. The quality of his passing is second-to-none, and I knew I just had to hit it off. I would have been very disappointed if I didn't score on that set up."

Mathis again played quite a bit in the midfield, and his creativity and runs were a big part of the new potent offense.

"Clint seems to be playing with some feistiness and is on his was back on track," said Ellinger.

Real entered the game as the league's lowest scoring team — incidentally because of the Metro Stars big offensive night, Real is still the lowest-scoring team even with its two goals. It's a statistic that Kreis attributes partly to poor finishing, and some to style of play.

"We changed up some of our tactics a bit," he said. "We tried to play a little bit more of a passing attack and get rid of some of the long balls. It was a little different having me up front all alone some of the time, but I thought we put some good stuff together."

The dangerous duo of Mathis and Kreis appears to have synched up, and it could not be happening at a better time. Real will travel to face Chivas USA next week, its expansion partner this season. The Chivas defense could be a perfect opportunity for Real to build on its goal scoring. In only five games, its defense has given up 12 goals.

While the four goals RSL has scored is still not what the team is expecting long-term, they're looking at a two-goal night as a step in a positive direction.


E-mail: mblack@desnews.com