On this day in LA Galaxy history just six years ago, Bruce Arena was hired to be the Galaxy's head coach and general manager, forever changing the club's history.
The now 62-year-old Arena was hired amid a tumultuous 2008 campaign for the manager and his current team as the Galaxy as the team limped out of the gate with a 6-8-6 record under Ruud Guillit and interim head coach Cobi Jones before the former U.S national team head coach took the reins. Immediately after taking the helm, Arena's Galaxy went 8-13-9 to finish second to last in the Western Conference, but the club reached the Superliga final before falling to Mexican side Pachuca in penalties.
By the 2009 campaign, Arena had reshaped the Galaxy by drafting Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza and acquiring goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts who all helped lead the team to the MLS Cup final where they fell in penalties to Real Salt Lake. For Arena's role in reshaping the Galaxy from laughingstock to MLS Cup contender, the LA boss was awarded the MLS Coach of the Year Award.
Since that 2009 season, the Galaxy have won two MLS Cups, two Supporters' Shields and reached the Western Conference Final each year except two with Arena at the helm. During his time with the Galaxy, Arena has gone 91-51-51 in regular season play and 13-4-2 in the postseason as well as 2-1 in MLS Cup matches.
Arena's success with the Galaxy has helped bolster the legacy of a head coach that is already widely considered the best American coach ever. Overall, Arena has a 60 percent winning percentage in 331 games coached which is the highest winning percentage among coaches with 50 or more games coached. The Galaxy boss' 72.5 percent winning percentage in the postseason is also a league record.
In terms of total regular season wins, Arena is second in MLS history with 168 victories which is behind only Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. But despite being second in regular season victories, Arena is first all-time in playoff victories which 27 which is four better than Schmid's mark.
Interesting side note, Arena is fourth in all-time career winning percentage among MLS head coaches to have ever coached in the league. Tied for first is former Galaxy assistant Ralph Perez who won his only game as a head coach when Los Angeles defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 in June 1999.
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters following his team's 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake.
Check it out below.
(On the result...)
ARENA: “I think we played a fairly solid 90 minutes tonight. Had chances to get a second goal on a few occasions in the second half. We could have made the game a little easier. It’s good for us to win a game like this. It’s what I would call a good ugly game against a good team. We did a job good on the defensive end of the field. That was encouraging. Any time you get a shut out speaks volumes for the whole team. I think for the most part we played well and deserved to get the three points tonight. We know we need to get a little bit better. That’s certainly not a perfect performance.”
(On the goal by Gyasi Zardes...)
ARENA: “Good goal. If I remember correctly, Marcelo [Sarvas], on the right side, cut a ball in and I think Landon [Donovan] dummied it to Gyasi [Zardes]. And, obviously a pretty good finish off the two posts.”
(On the play of Robbie Rogers...)
ARENA: “He’s getting a lot of experience in that position. He’s been very good defensively and does a good job going forward. We are very pleased with his performance.”
(On Zardes, Donovan and Keane...)
ARENA: “They did alright. We could be better. We were playing against three good players in [Kyle] Beckerman, [Nat] Borchers and [Chris] Schuler. It was a good battle for 90 minutes, but I think they did well.”
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was all-smiles following his team's 2-1 defeat of FC Dallas on Wednesday.
Below are Arena's comments to the media.
(On the team’s general performance…)
ARENA: “I think [we scored] two good goals. Obviously, Keane’s was a spectacular finish and Gyasi (Zardes) is in a good spot to put away that good. We’re pleased with that. Probably, we had a few opportunities to get a second one. I think it was a good night for us. Obviously, the three points were important. I think we were a little bit sloppy. I give Dallas credit. They pushed really hard to get the equalizer at the end and did a good job. We were probably a little sloppy over the last 15 minutes and could have been better. It was a little unfortunate that the linesman missed the offside, which resulted in the Dallas goal, but that’s all part of it. I give our backline credit. They did what they are supposed to do on a play like that. It’s unfortunate that the linesman missed it and we had to scramble over the last 15 minutes.”
(On the play of Kenny Walker and Gyasi Zardes…)
ARENA: It was very good. We brought two new players in the lineup and both played very well. I am very pleased with Kenny Walker. He did an outstanding job. He’s passing was excellent. And, Gyasi scored the winning goal, so I can’t complain.
(On Juninho’s performance…)
ARENA: Juninho had a really good game. He’s arguable our best player the first nine games of the season. He’s been very consistent and had another good night tonight.
(On Raul Mendiola’s appearance…)
ARENA: Obviously, a young player that each minute is important for him. He showed some confidence and ability. He’s still a little bit young and maybe the last few minutes could have done better on a couple of plays. We think he’s an exciting young player and hopefully, we can move him along.
(On Tommy Meyer and Kofi Opare playing together for the second game…)
ARENA: I thought they did well. Good job. Kofi had a few lapses in the first half and responded well in the second and, did a real good job.
LA Galaxy II boss Curt Onalfo ready to face Preki's Sacramento Republic in a battle of former MLS coaches
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy II and Sacramento Republic FC may be new clubs, but head coaches Curt Onalfo and Preki are quite familiar with one another.
The two former MLS managers have faced one another seven times while Onalfo led the Kansas City Wizards and then D.C. United while Preki served as the head coach at Chivas USA before moving to lead Toronto FC. During that span from 2007 to 2010, the pair split their meetings with both men holding a 3-3-1 record in matches against one another.
As MLS bosses the coaching styles could not have been different with Onalfo serving as the attack-minded counterweight to the blunt defensive style of Preki’s teams.
“His teams always play good soccer, they’re always well-organized and they reflect his deep competitive spirit,” Onalfo told LA Galaxy Insider. “The teams are always a reflection of the coach and I’m sure that you can see those qualities in Sacramento.”
To aid in his effort to lead Sacramento through their own inaugural year, Preki enlisted a number of former MLS players including former Chivas USA stalwart Justin Braun as well as several players from the Portland Timbers including goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and Homegrown prodigy Bryan Gallego.
While the Preki-led Sacramento Republic will present a major challenge for Los Dos, the Galaxy II players are confident that they can overcome and earn the team’s second-ever victory.
“They’re going to be a good team. A lot better than what we've seen so far,” said forward Charlie Rugg. “They like to foul in the middle of the field and they’re going to be more physical, but with the way we play, if we move the ball quickly then we can’t really get fouled and they can’t harm us.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy know that a shutout of Club Tijuana will send them through to the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals for a second straight year. But don’t expect them to hang back for 90 plus minutes.
With the Galaxy holding a 1-0 aggregate advantage after their one goal victory over Tijuana in the first leg, the Xolos must attack from the outset as they look to erase their deficit. While Tijuana’s attacking mindset might lead to the temptation to bunker in, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena believes LA must get a goal if they’re to assure themselves a spot in the semifinals.
“We have an advantage [by not conceding an away goal], but it’s only halfway through in the competition and a goal tomorrow will go a long way in helping us advance,” said Arena at a press conference on Monday at the Estadio Caliente. “We don’t anticipate being defensive for 90 minutes, we need to get a goal.”
Where the Galaxy may have have the most success is with the counter attack as Tijuana will look to send waves of attackers forward, which may open chances for LA to exploit the spaces left in the back. But according to Galaxy captain Robbie Keane, that won’t be all that LA will be relying on against the Xolos.
“We’re certainly very used to doing that and confident in our counter attack, but we’re not coming here to sit back and let them keep the ball for 90 minutes, attacking us for the whole game,” said Keane who has scored once in two CONCACAF Champions League matches in Mexico. “We have quality on this team that is quite capable of playing against any team. With them pressing so much that they have to score, the first 15-20 minutes will be important to not concede any goals and from there, we’re quite capable of scoring ourselves.”
CARSON, Calif. – With just two days remaining before the LA Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg match against Club Tijuana, LA head coach Bruce Arena spoke to the media.
As a little update, myself and the rest of the LAGalaxy.com team will be traveling down to Tijuana tomorrow and we’ll have plenty of coverage ahead of Tuesday’s match.
Arena’s comments are below.
(On what he expects to be the keys to the game…)
ARENA: “Certainly not conceding a goal in the game. We don’t concede a goal and we go through in the competition. Defending in the early minutes is going to be important because we know that Club Tijuana will come hard at the start.”
(On Club Tijuana resting their starters for the league match against Club Tijuana...)
ARENA: “We anticipated that. They’ll have their full team and we’ll have our full team. It’ll be a good game.”
(On what the Galaxy’s mood is heading into the second leg down in Tijuana…)
ARENA: “We’re really optimistic that we can get through this game and then prepare for the semifinals.”
(On the struggles of MLS teams down in Mexico…)
ARENA: “One thing that is a bit of a relief is that we’re not playing at altitude. However, the artificial field will certainly be an advantage for Tijuana, but we’ve played on [turf] enough. We’ll be ready.”
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s comments from the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
(On his general thoughts from the game…)
ARENA: “Obviously a disappointing result, but I thought that it was a good game between two good teams. They made the most of their opportunities but we had a couple of good chances as well. I think Rimando was outstanding and certainly saving the penalty in extra time was outstanding and the play of the game. We could have got a goal or two tonight, but I think that both teams played pretty well.”
ARENA: “Samuel had a good night, I thought. His first game in the league and I thought that he worked really hard. I was surprised that he went as long as he did and was as strong as he was on the evening. I’m encouraged by his effort.”
(On James Riley’s play…)
ARENA: “James played well. He’s a good player; we discovered that early in camp. He’s going to be a valuable member of our team this year.”
(On whether the team wasted chances like they did in 2013…)
ARENA: “It was a 1-0 game. They had some good chances, but we did as well. We didn’t finish any of our chances and with the penalty at the end of the game, what more can you say? Those are wasted chances. We should have gotten at least a point out of this game.”
(On Penedo’s play…)
ARENA: “Jaime played well. The two goalkeepers were outstanding tonight.”
(On what the Galaxy did well…)
ARENA: “For the most part, we defended pretty well. At times, our passing was quick and sharp but at other times, it was not. In the first half… there were good chances and there was good ball movement and for the most part, the play was pretty solid. You could see at the end of the game that a couple of our players hit the wall and that we needed to have more energy.”
The Bruce is Back: LA Galaxy club President Chris Klein states Bruce Arena extension for three years
CARSON, Calif. – Bruce Arena will be with the LA Galaxy for three more years according to club President Chris Klein.
On Wednesday, the LA Galaxy announced that they had signed the team’s head coach and general manager to a multi-year deal, but in an interview with LAGalaxy.com, Klein revealed the length of Arena’s contract extension.
“Look at what he’s done since he came here in 2008. And we wanted to make sure he could continue to do that, for another three years,” Klein told LAGalaxy.com. “He’s the best coach our game has seen in this country, and we’re thankful he’s a part of the Galaxy.”
Klein was not the only person who was in high spirits after Arena's extension as midfielder Landon Donovan stated that he was pleased with the Galaxy's decision to keep their head coach around.
“It's well deserved," said Donovan. "We’re very happy for him. He has much as any coach in this league deserves to be taken care of. As we’ve seen over the years, this is a club that takes care of people. We’re all happy for him.”
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena addressed the media for the first time on Tuesday.
During the scrum, Arena touched on LA’s new emphasis on experience in 2014 as well as the addition of his son Kenny Arena as assistant coach.
Arena’s comments are below…
(On the changes that team has made this offseason…)
ARENA: “There have been changes, I don’t think a considerable amount, but we have additions that are important for our team. I’m going to include Jaime Penedo as an addition since he came in so late. The combination of those players gives us both quality and experience in a lot of positions. A big part of this team this year is that we’re going to have good depth and experienced players that can play a lot of roles throughout the season. … We’re hopeful that our team is a little bit better and a little bit more consistent because if there as a weakness last year, it’s that we were inconsistent. We were one of the top teams in league in terms of scoring goals and believe it or not, one of the top teams defending. Yet, I don’t think the results were consistent. I’m hoping that we have a little bit more quality and a little bit experience this year that will allow us to play more consistently.”
(On why the team decided to emphasize experience this offseason…)
ARENA: “It’s important. We had young players playing a lot of minutes last year, which was good experience for them, but we still need more quality and more experience on the field at times.”
(On how important the year is for Robbie Rogers…)
ARENA: “I think it’s an important year for him. I think it’s an important year for a lot of players, not just Robbie. Robbie’s had an outstanding preseason to date, four good days. I feel good about that.”
(On bringing his son Kenny Arena as an assistant coach…)
ARENA: “That might have been one mistake that we made this offseason, but you can’t be perfect. He’s a good coach and has a lot of experience. He’s been around a head coach for about 33 years now and he knows [the profession] inside and out. He’s was hired on merit not on bloodline.”
PHILADELPHIA - The LA Galaxy got a little deeper at center back on Thursday by drafting New Mexico defender Kyle Venter with the 23rd overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft.
I spoke to Venter and Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena for about the defender's Galaxy connections for LAGalaxy.com. In addition, I spoke to both about where the New Mexico defender fits into LA's system.
Check it out below.