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Bruce Arena

Bruce Arena was the right choice for LA Galaxy

I’ve read with some amusement the last few days the opinions of people I respect questioning the apparent decision by the LA Galaxy to hire Bruce Arena. From my vantage point after drifting along as simply a marketing entity and not a serious footballing side since the death of Doug Hamilton, no move can equal the potential hiring of Arena in signaling that the Galaxy are serious about competiting again in MLS. The Galaxy have become irrelevent from a footballing standpoint in MLS. No amount of David Beckham hype, ticket sales, or hubris from AEG can change that reality.

Bruce Arena understands MLS and the American player as well as anybody around. His tenures with Virginia, DC United and the US National Team speak for themselves. The weakness Arena had in his time leading US was his lack of interest in player development and the youth academy setup, but seeing that MLS has become a league less committed to developing its own talent and more interested in getting second tier players from abroad and recycling older American players, Arena’s unique understanding of the American game will make him the ideal choice. Whether it’s acquiring players within MLS, a weakness of former GM Alexi Lalas or motivating the current group of Galaxy players, Arena knows what he’s doing: He’s done it better than anyone in the history of football in the US. Arena has a better sense for American talent: who will pan out and who won’t than any manager in the history of the game here in the US. This is directly the opposite of Alexi Lalas who had some strange ideas as to the quality of certain players and seemed to be more of a marketing man despite his remarkable success as a player for the US National Team.

Arena’s time at Red Bull New York has many questioning his pedigree: They ought not to. In Los Angeles, unlike in New York Arena will find a back office staff and a management team who understand MLS and football not simply the marketing of energy drinks, and he will have the resources of AEG to back his vision for the club. Arena’s hiring will also signal that after allowing the Beckham/Lalas circus to run roughshod over footballing considerations for almost two years AEG and the Galaxy are getting back to basics.

The choice of Bruce Arena should be a no brainer for AEG. The hiring of a manager of Bruce Arena’s quality can also prevent a mass exodus of players from the Galaxy in the near future. Arena’s tactics are simple but will suit both David Beckham and Landon Donovan’s quality as well as being stronger at the back then what we have seen from the Galaxy recently. The quicker AEG closes the deal the sooner the Galaxy can return to the heights they enjoyed in the first decade of MLS’ existence.

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  1. Brian

    August 18, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    No worries, we know the history, and we know the present and the present is very, very good.

  2. Armand

    August 18, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I love how Houston fans act like they know this league in and out when they’ve had a team for just three years. Go read your history books about Bruce Arena and the success of the Galaxy before you guys even knew what MLS was.

  3. Brian

    August 17, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I like Berlin . . .

    Viva El Naranja!

  4. Berlin

    August 17, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    LA is the Paris Hilton of the MLS, a walking spectacle. I know they’ll keep getting play b/c they’re LA and Becks, but there’s actually some pretty good soccer being played right now too. Thank God AEG is semi-competent enough to leave their smarter, hotter orange headed stepchildren alone so we can keep winning championships. I’ll be glad to see the Galaxy eat crow at the bottom of the table for yet another season. Enjoy the lime-light while you can b/c you’re teams going to fly apart when Donovan and Beckham have had enough of the traveling circus.

  5. Ric

    August 17, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Let’s remember that Arena had full control over the soccer-side of Red Bull New York, and was given full support to hire any coaches he wanted, as well as being consulted about the plans for the training facility.

    And as for “Whether it’s acquiring players within MLS…or motivating the current group of Galaxy players, Arena knows what he’s doing”, let’s remember that he was the guy who sent Wynne to Toronto for a draft pick, sent Dunivant (who at the time was cracking the NT and was one of the best left backs in the league) AND cash to Toronto for Goldtwaite, allowed Peguero to be sold when that meant our forward roster consisted of Wolyniec, Buddle, a forever-injured Youri Djorkaeff, and an untested Jozy Altidore (who only got his chance to play because Buddle and Djorkaeff were both injured and we needed someone!), traded Buddle for Tim Regan, cut half his defenders (including Regan) and then needed to rely on Stammler, Kovalenko, and Van den Bergh to play defense because of how thin the backline was; and brought back an overpriced Reyna only to have their relationship deteriorate to the point that they weren’t speaking when Arena was let go. Rumor also was that his assistant coaches (Harkes and Williams) weren’t speaking by the end of the year. And throughout it all, Arena seemed disinterested.

    This isn’t to say he didn’t do a few good things while as manager of the Red Bulls (bringing back Kovalenko, obtaining Angel and stealing Freeman from Colorado among them), but the negatives outweigh the positives and suggest that maybe the league has passed Arena by.

    It’ll be interesting, therefore, to see what happens when he takes over a team in worse shape.

  6. Brian

    August 17, 2008 at 10:42 am

    I’m tired of coach recycling in the MLS, I’m more curious to see how Cobi does in the top coaching spot.

  7. Armand

    August 17, 2008 at 1:44 am

    Agreed Phillip and Kartik.

    I like the choice of Arena but they are dead ducks until next year a t the earliest. Even Jose M. would not turn them around so quickly they are so messed up.

  8. Phillip

    August 17, 2008 at 1:40 am

    They still won’t make the playoffs this year.

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