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.
A.J. DeLaGarza insists that staying on the road could benefit the LA Galaxy as they look to overcome Crew loss
COLUMBUS, Ohio— Typically after a road match, the LA Galaxy immediately return to Southern California, but this time around the script has been flipped.
The Galaxy fell 4-1 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday in their worst defeat of the 2014 regular season. LA suffered their biggest margin of defeat, but rather than fly cross-country to return home, the club will remain in Columbus for two days before heading to Colorado for Wednesday’s clash with the Rapids.
Following the team’s crushing defeat, there was understandable concern that the loss may put a damper on the Galaxy’s week-long road trip, but defender A.J. DeLaGarza insists that the opposite is true.
“We can’t let this loss linger. We have a game in a couple of days and it might be good for us all to be together. We get to all go through this together and not just head home [separately],” he said. “We’re going to go have dinner together and do whatever we can to get the morale back up so that we don’t let this game affect us for the rest of the season.”
Galaxy captain Robbie Keane agreed that LA will need to put the loss behind them quickly ahead of Wednesday’s match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“The good thing about the season is that there is always a game around the corner,” Keane said. “We have a game on Wednesday and have to pick ourselves up fairly quickly…let’s see what we’re made of [against the Rapids].”
LA Galaxy II player-assistant coach Laurent Courtois is retiring from professional soccer.
Courtois, 35, confirmed to LA Galaxy Insider on Friday that he has retired from soccer in order to focus on a career in coaching. The player-coach announced via Instagram earlier in the week, that he'll be returning to France as he seeks to earn his coaching credentials from the French Football Federation.
In 2014, Courtois made 11 appearances for Los Dos while tallying two goals for the Galaxy's USL PRO affiliate.
"It has been an honor to play for a great club like the LA Galaxy over the past year," Courtois told LA Galaxy Insider on Friday.
Courtois hangs up his boots after an 16-year career that included stops in the top leagues in England, Spain, France and the United States. During his time as a professional, the Lyon Academy product played for such clubs as Ajaccio, Tolouse, West Ham United, Levante, and the LA Galaxy.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's "By the Numbers," we look at the Galaxy's clash with the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
Check it out below.
The LA Galaxy will face the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Crew Stadium in Ohio.
In the latest LAGalaxy.com video piece, Robbie Rogers, Alan Gordon and Bruce Arena speak about LA's clash with the Crew.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will be up against an old friend and an unfamiliar foe when they take on the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Crew Stadium.
LA will be facing a Crew team that currently finds itself in the thick of the postseason chance with 27 points which is good enough for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Leading the Crew is former Galaxy center back and assistant coach Gregg Berhalter, who took the top job with Columbus in the offseason.
“They started off pretty strong, but they hit a little bit of a lull and have come back as of late and have played better,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “They’re a certainly a team that goes forward and attacks. As you look at them, you can see that their attacking scheme is built around [Fredrico Higuian] and rightfully so because he’s a terrific player and a great play maker.”
While Arena focused on the specific strengths that Columbus boast, Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan made a broader claim about the difficulties of facing Eastern Conference competition.
“The east games present a different challenge [because] stylistically [because the team’s play is different and we have to make sure that we are well prepared which we will be for Saturday,” said Donovan. “I think inn the west, teams put more emphasis on possession while the teams in the east are more direct.
“When I watch the [Eastern Conference] games, there’s not the same flow to the games as there is in the Western Conference games, it’s different, but we have to adjust.”
LA must use the match against Columbus as a chance to adapt to a different style of play as the club will play five of their last 14 games of the season against Eastern Conference opponents. As Arena’s side seeks to challenge for the Supporters’ Shield, the Galaxy boss believes that taking full points from their Eastern Conference is vital.
“It’s important that we take advantage of those kinds of games,” said Arena. “Because it’s likely that most of our opponents in the west are not getting three points. That’s just probability.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy bolstered their attack on Monday by acquiring veteran forward Alan Gordon.
LA acquired the forward from the San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for allocation money, the club announced on Monday. Gordon has 180 appearances and 39 goals as well as 26 assists in his 11 years in MLS.
“Alan is a proven MLS player who adds another scoring threat to our roster going forward,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena in a statement. “We are pleased to welcome him back as a member of the Galaxy.”
Gordon joins a Galaxy strike force that includes Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes, Rob Friend and Chandler Hoffman.
CARSON, Calif. — Omar Gonzalez found the back of the net for the first time in 2014 during Friday’s 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, but the LA Galaxy center back was smiling after the result.
Despite a comprehensive performance against their archrivals, the Galaxy were forced to battle back from a pair of deficits after a pair of quick transition goals by San Jose. During both San Jose tallies, Gonzalez—and the rest of the Galaxy defense— were caught out of position as the Earthquakes notched a pair of counterattack goals.
“[It was] not one of his better games,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena of Gonzalez’s performance after the draw. “I think he could’ve defended a little bit better on the two goals, but they obviously weren’t too dangerous going forward and somehow we managed to concede two goals. That’s the story line.”
Gonzalez redeemed himself in the 49th minute when he broke free of Atiba Harris on a corner kick and placed a Stefan Ishizaki effort off the pitch and into the bottom corner of the Earthquakes net. Set piece finishes have become a specialty of Gonzalez, who has drawn considerable pressure from opposing defenses since his memorable tally in the 2012 MLS Cup final.
“I finally got my goal,” said Gonzalez. “When players don’t hold on to me [on set pieces], I can find the ball, so I’m happy that I could get open, and get my head on the ball.”
Even though he broke free against San Jose, Gonzalez doesn’t expect to be as open in the future.
“I definitely expect the [defenders] to be holding me. That’s the way it is,” said Gonzalez. “My job is to make the run, and it’s up to the referee to see that. I will just keep on doing that, and I’m sure I will keep getting held.”
Landon Donovan proved to be the hero of MLS yet again on Wednesday evening.
In a brief cameo, Donovan scored the game-winning goal in the 70th minute as the MLS All-Stars defeated the reigning German champions FC Bayern Munich 2-1 at Providence Park in Portland. For his strike, Donovan was awarded the MLS All-Star Game MVP award. Bradley Wright-Phillips added the first goal for the All-Stars while Robert Lewandowski scored the lone goal for the Germans.
With the score tied at one goal apiece, Donovan broke the deadlock in the 70th minute with stellar finish past Germany World Cup champion goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the game-winning strike after a pass from Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri. After scoring the eventual game winner, Donovan was promptly pulled from the match after his brief 26 minute appearance.
Omar Gonzalez was not available for the match, but the Galaxy defender was present for the match as he was honored after the game along with the rest of the MLS and Bayern Munich members of the U.S. World Cup squad.
CARSON, Calif. -- Jose Villarreal is back and the LA Galaxy Homegrown Player believes that he has plenty to prove returning to Southern California.
In my latest piece for LAGalaxy.com, Villarreal talks about his frustrations with his stint with Cruz Azul and his eagerness to shine for Galaxy II. Villarreal failed to register a single appearance for the Cruz Azul first team, but scored in his first appearance for Los Dos last weekend in their loss to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds
More of Jose Villarreal's thoughts on coming back are below.
(On whether he regrets his transfer to Mexico…)
VILLARREAL: “I wouldn’t say regret, but it was a challenge. But it was a challenge that I learned a lot from. It wasn’t really a failure or a little disappointment. It was something like I went to Mexico with a mentality to do well, and it didn’t go my way. I came back with the same mentality, and I will try to do the same thing that I’ve been doing here.”
(On whether he was disappointed in the way it ended…)
VILLARREAL: “Maybe if I had gotten few more games, then my decision would have been a lot tougher. So it is what it is, and I’m happy with that.”
(On the main lesson that he learned in Mexico…)
VILLARREAL: “Lifestyle is different obviously, but the society isn’t as wealthy as it is here. So, you can see the difference of the way players live versus the way that the people live. So that was the learning off the field. And on the field, it was a different kind of soccer, and got to learn it the first two years that I was here, so from the five months that I was there, I will try to bring what I learned over there and mix it up with the style over here.”
(On whether the biggest regret at Mexico was not getting enough minutes…)
VILLARREAL: “I think that was what it was. I was coming from being on the bench and getting few minutes with the Galaxy here and there, and few starts, and Champions League. So, I went down there and I couldn’t play the Champions League because of the rule, and those games were good, and we ended up winning the Champions League, so it would have been good to get into those games, but as you said not being able to get minutes. Maybe I could have waited, but I didn’t so, we’ll see what happens from now. Most of the minutes that I was getting were with the U-20s. I think I played 10 minutes with the Hidalgo team, so it was a bit frustrating but it was just some bumps on the road and I just got to keep going.”
(On the differences between top players in Mexico and in the USA…)
VILLARREAL: “From the top players like top players like Robbie Keane, who is from oversea, 90% chance is a goal. So he is the guy that you want on your team. You could see the difference. For example, Gyasi has been great this season. Last season, he had a lot of opportunities and he was working on it. Now you give this player minutes there is confidence when he steps on the field. Just keep going and the result is going well so I’m happy for him.”
(On any first team aspirations that he holds…)
VILLARREAL: “I haven’t really talked about that. I’m focused, right now, and I’m looking to make a full commitment with [Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo] and the second team. I am happy to be with Curt. I’ve been working with him for a while and he is a good coach.”