Jason Kreis' knee is just fine, thank you very much.

After his 89th minute goal salvaged a 1-1 tie for Real Salt Lake Saturday night, he didn't hesitate putting an exclamation point on the goal with his trademark back flip.

"To be honest, I'd like to stop talking about my knee now. I think it's over and done with," said Kreis. "The goal that I took was six months of emotion wrapped up into one goal, and one head shot."

The goal was his first of the season, and 101st of his career. The MLS's all-time leading scorer extended his cushion over D.C. United's Jamie Moreno to five, who was held scoreless on Saturday.

After blowing out his left ACL last September, Kreis always said his goal was to be back on the field on opening day. True to his word, he came on the field for the final 12 minutes of Salt Lake's season-opening loss at Chivas USA on April 2. Last week, his minutes increased to 29.

Even though he played well in those games, Saturday's game and goal was a big step for Kreis in his quest to get back in the starting lineup.

"I can't even begin to tell you happy I am for Jason," said RSL coach John Ellinger. "Mentally, I think getting through 30 minutes on the turf was huge for Jason."

As for whether he might be ready to crack the starting line-up, Ellinger isn't quite sure yet. All along Ellinger has said he wouldn't start Kreis until he was healthy enough to go 90 minutes, and after Saturday's effort, he might be there.

PUTTING IN A FULL 90: When asked about why the team played so effective Saturday, Kreis didn't hesitate to talk about the team's work rate, and particularly that of two key players.

"At the end of that game, we have Douglas Sequeira who's falling over because he's run so much, and we have Andy Williams falling over because he's run so much," said Kreis. "If we have those two players put in that work week in and week out, this is going to be a successful team this year."

GETTING THE CALL: Real Salt Lake 17-year-old defender Nikolas Besagno was named to the Under-20 U.S. National Team's roster for a couple of friendlies in South America later this month.

The U.S. will play three games between April 18-27 against three Argentinean first division youth clubs.

Besagno is primarily used as a holding midfielder with the youth national team, even though Real Salt Lake is using him more as a central defender this year..

KING LEO: Prior to kickoff of Saturday's home opener, Real Salt Lake unveiled its mascot, Leonardo the Lion.

Before deciding on Leonardo, the team debated the following names: Richard S. Lionheart, King Richard, Great Heart, Pelota, Le Grande, Ole, High King Leon, Rey Supremo Leon, Kingsley and Lumumba.

VETERAN CREW: There are 10 players in the league who've played at least one game in all 11 MLS season, and four of them were on the Rice-Eccles Stadium field on Saturday. RSL's Eddie Pope and Kreis and New York's Tony Meola and Chris Henderson have played a combined 1,003 games, with Henderson leading the way with 288.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com