Alonso missed out on the Galaxy’s 1-0 first leg win in Southern California last week with a hamstring injury, but has trained with Seattle throughout the week including their session at StarFire Sports Complex on Saturday.
The Galaxy boss was asked about Seattle’s optimism about their star midfielder’s status on Sunday and was quick to provide a terse response on Alonso’s availability.
“I wouldn't think so, but if he does [play] then good for him,” Arena quipped.
LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena not surprised by snow covered pitch in final training session at CenturyLink Field
SEATTLE -- When the LA Galaxy arrived at CenturyLink Field for their final training session ahead of their Western Conference Championship second leg match against Seattle Sounders FC, the pristine practice surface that they were expecting was covered in a dusting of snow that blanketed large swatches of the pitch.
The snow which was the remnants of a light snow fall that descended on Seattle in the early morning hours was soon made playable by the grounds crew, but the fact the Sounders might have provided LA with a little gamesmanship did not surprise Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
Rather, Arena insisted, “we always see gamesmanship. It doesn’t change.”
"I don't know the protocol [for the field being cleared],” Arena said in the team’s downtown hotel ahead of Sunday’s conference final deciding leg. “We ran a little bit so it was fine. We don't expect to get any favors when we visit here anyway.”
But when the game kicks off on Sunday, Arena doesn’t expect that the same types of conditions that they faced in training.
“We will adjust and play however. We don’t know what the conditions will be like, but they’ll probably be better than they were at training,” said Arena. “It’s going to be sunny tomorrow so you would anticipate that the ice would melt off the field.
“They weren’t able to clear the field and I know that it was a major blizzard last night so we dealt with those conditions today, but hopefully the sun will allow for the ice to disappear.”
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) November 29, 2014
Everyone knows about Landon Donovan's famous habit of kissing his wrists before each penalty, but there is another ritual that the LA Galaxy and U.S. National Team star is infamous for that takes place before each and every game.
Since joining the Galaxy, Donovan has preformed the ritual -- which he claims isn't necessary, but has been performed in every game since 2005 -- which involves him taking a drink of water from a Gatorade bottle before spraying both head athletic trainer Ivan Pierra and assistant athletic trainer Kurt Andrews in the face.
"It kind of gets the training staff a little bit fired up and prepared for the game and hopefully makes them feel a little bit part of what's going on," Donovan told the Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter. "They're a part of what we do, and we want to make them feel involved."
Added Andrews, " "It's a bond, We as a staff spend a lot of time with him. I could see it as an honor, for sure."
The complete story on Landon Donovan's pregame ritual can be found here on the Los Angeles Times website.
SANDY, Utah— LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena spoke to the media after the club’s scoreless draw in their Western Conference Semifinal first leg against Real Salt Lake.
(On the physical play…)
ARENA: An ugly game. Lopsided in calls as the fouls were called two to one in our favor. I’m sure not if that is good or bad, but it made for one crappy game, that’s for sure.
(On the officiating…)
ARENA: It is what it is. It’s been like that all year and it’s not going to change for the playoffs.
(On Jaime Penedo and his overall thoughts on the game…)
ARENA: Jaime did well, but it was a sloppy game with the altitude, the wind and the field conditions made for a difficult game. To get out of here scoreless means that we have to lay it on the line next week at home.
(On if he’s pleased to head back to StubHub Center needing a win…)
ARENA: We have to win the game. We’ll have to find out Sunday night [if it is a good position or not]. We’ll see.
(On if the Galaxy have to adjust next week in the second leg…)
ARENA: It was a bad game with the conditions and maybe too many fouls were called. It was just a sloppy game. I think next week the game will look a lot different.
SEATTLE -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters following the team's 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC.
On the game:
"I thought it was a good game. We were a little unlucky and we at least should have come out with a point."
On Robbie Keane:
"He had a few nagging injuries and we thought it was best to keep him out so he would be ready for playoffs. We also have to be careful with players on this field. This field is not perfect for a player that's not 100%."
On the amount of fouls called:
"The referee called more fouls this week than last week. He could have called 40 fouls last week on Seattle. The referee lost it a bit at the end. I would say the foul was on Marcelo Sarvas because he didn't notice that they didn't set the ball properly."
On having more possession:
"Yes, we controlled the game but we needed to be more dangerous in the last third of the field. They kept a lot of players back with us and played it pretty safe. We weren't able to create enough chances."
On Landon Donovan:
"Landon played better today than he did last week. He drew an important free kick in the beginning of the second half and had a few more chances. I think he could have been more aggressive looking for his shot. "
On the midfield:
"I thought Gyasi Zardes was a bit of a threat most of the game. I thought Stefan Ishizaki did well. Our whole midfield played well. Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas were also very good."
On the defense:
"The backline was excellent today. Did Seattle even get a chance in the game besides the mess at the end? We played pretty well."
On the final goal:
“Jaime Penedo needs to be quicker getting the ball out. Maybe he was fouled. The referee I think lost it a little bit at the end of the game. He must have been tired, too."
On preference of opponent next match:
"It doesn't matter who we play. We don't play those little games of payback. We play to try and win a championship."
LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena's tenure with the U.S. National Team was profiled by FIFA TV in an exclusive interview with the Galaxy boss.
During the five minute interview, Arena talks about the USMNT's 2002 FIFA World Cup [even saying that "Mexico wasn't going to beat us" on what was an "easy afternoon" for the Americans], the 2006 World Cup, the future of the U.S. National Team and his tenure with the Galaxy.
Check it out above.
CARSON, Calif. – MLS Commissioner Don Garber fined LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena $20,000 for his comments to Washington Post’s Steve Goff about LA’s reported links to U.S. international Sacha Kljestan.
Garber told Sports Illustrated earlier in the week that Arena was in line to receive a “major fine” for his comments to the Washington Post and after the league’s announcement of their new logo on Thursday, the MLS commissioner revealed the amount to the Associated Press.
After training on Thursday, Arena told reporters that he had no comment on Garber’s comments or the fine amount.
“I’ve got no thoughts on what he has to say,” Arena said. “I stand on everything that we did as completely accurate and completely ethical. It was the way that you do things --the right way. We did everything the right way and we’ll leave it at that. We stand by everything that we did and I’m very proud of our organization with the way that we go about doing our business.”
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addresses the Galaxy's 3-0 victory over Chivas USA.
(On Gyasi Zardes’ performance...)
ARENA: “He obviously played really well. The first goal was a big goal in this game. Chivas USA played very well in the first half. They were tough to break down. Kennedy was difficult to beat. To get that goal at the end of the half was a big advantage, not only on the scoreboard but psychologically as well.”
(His assessment on Keane and Donovan as a pair...)
ARENA: “It’s a good combination. I think the whole group has played well together. This has been a difficult couple of weeks for us. I don’t know how many games they’ve been in the past couple of weeks but it has been challenging and demanding for the team physically and mentally. They’ve been held up and did well. In a game like today, bringing Robbie [Keane] in with 30 minutes left, they are chasing the game because they need a goal, and it opens up a little bit. Certainly, it became advantageous to our team.”
(On missing Penedo and Keane in the following fixtures...)
ARENA: “You make slight adjustments to your team. We’ve been preparing for this. Robbie [Keane] didn’t play in the D.C United game on Wednesday, he missed 60 minutes tonight, so we’ve played without him. We have some good options in the goal. This is all part of it. When the league plays on the international fixture dates, there are going to be occasions where you lose some players, and others have to step up. That will be the case [next week].”
(On Nigel Reo-Coker’s performance...)
ARENA: “Reo-Coker is a really good player. You could see his experience. I was surprised that he could play 90 minutes given the fact that he did not play whole a lot of minutes this year for Vancouver. It was a pretty impressive performance. He is obviously a very good player, and they are fortunate enough to have him.”
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach addressed reporters following LA's 4-1 victory over D.C. United.
Check it out below.
(On the play of Landon Donovan tonight and the last few games...)
"Landon is obviously committed to completing his career in the right manor, his leadership and quality tonight was terrific, what more can you say. He has been a great one, his attitude has been terrific over the last two or three weeks after his announcement. We are really happy for him, and certainly he has been an important part of our success over the last couple months."
(On Alan Gordon rejoining the Galaxy...)
ARENA: "He is an improved player from the last time we saw him at the Los Angeles Galaxy, his experiences in San Jose were good, he is a good player. I thought he and (Gyasi) Zardes worked very well together tonight, for the first time, they had never played with each other, I think that was a real positive. I think Alan has two goals in the last three games, that is all good stuff."
(On the first half tonight...)
ARENA: "We played well, I thought DC United came out real hard, put a lot of pressure on us in the middle third of the field, it was a little difficult in the early going, but once we got the ball moving a little bit better we were able to create some chances. Obviously the first goal is big again and then the goal right before half was critical. I am at fault for telling them to take their foot of the gas a little bit in the second half because we wanted to avoid any injuries, and that wasn't easy. A couple guys got clipped and it could have set them back, but we wanted to make sure we didn't exert to much energy so we can have enough gas left in the tank to play Sunday, and I think that was accomplished, our guys will be ready to go."
(On the play of Leonardo and if he's a liability...)
ARENA: "There couldn't be a more inaccurate statement than to say that he's a liability. He's a center back in statistically the best defense in the league. He's been pretty good."
(On the defense only allowing three shots on goal tonight...)
ARENA: "We played well, and were fortunate, I think they created some good chances, but you know we played well. Our back line has played very well. Eddie Johnson was a handful tonight, he is a good player. DC United had some of the same issues we had coming into this game, they have an important game on Sunday, they need to travel back across country. We tweaked the lineup a little bit, we gave (Dan) Gargan a rest tonight, but our line has played well all year, it has been a really good year to date for them. Omar is playing well, I think this was Todd's first 90 minute game, since, maybe, March, so it has been a long time, it is good to get him back in. It was a combination of these things, but our entire group of players have been involved in the back line, and our midfield effort we are getting out of Juninho and Marcelo defensively has been outstanding job there, so it is a collective effort by our guys."
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.