Tristan Bowen and Michael Stephens scored their first career MLS goals in last Saturday's 2-0 victory over the Columbus Crew, but those weren't the only noteworthy accomplishments to come out of the unbeaten LA Galaxy's latest win.
Head coach Bruce Arena also earned his 100th career MLS victory. He became the fourth coach in MLS to reach that number along with Sigi Schmid (128 wins), Bob Bradley (124) and Steve Nicol (100). Arena, staying true to his nature, downplayed the significance of the achievement.
In fact, he even good-naturedly disputed it.
"I don't know if that's accurate, to be honest with you," he said with a sly grin Wednesday. "I don't think that's correct. I haven't sat around and put a pencil to the paper, but I don't think that's right.
"I need to see that myself."
From 1996-98 with D.C. United -- remember, there were no ties during MLS in those seasons -- Arena was 61-35. With the New York Red Bulls in 2006 and 2007, his record was 16-16-10. Since taking over the Galaxy in August, 2008, Arena is 23-11-17. His career won-loss record is 100-62-27.
Arena may not believe the numbers are accurate, but his players admire the job he has done.
"It's a great accomplishment," said Dema Kovalenko, who played for Arena in New York before rejoining him with the Galaxy last season. "Everywhere he went he went for a reason ... he wants to win. That's the sign of a great coach, a guy that doesn't accept anything else except winning games and championships.
"Good teams find a way, and he finds a way to put the right people on the field all the time. This year, a lot of guys are missing, but he finds a way. You can't teach that."
Mike Magee, who also was with Arena in New York but was limited to just 24 games in two seasons because of a knee injury, called Arena an "amazing" coach.
"The things he's done with this team are shocking," Magee said about the Galaxy, who went 12-6-12 in Arena's first full season with the club in 2009 and reached the MLS Cup final, where it lost to Real Salt Lake on penalties. "I don't think anyone would have predicted our team would be anything like the way we are now. He had to get a completely new roster, a new staff, a completely new environment and he did it a matter of months."
Arena's 2010 Galaxy are the only unbeaten team in MLS at 9-0-2 and have not lost a regular-season game since a 2-0 defeat at Columbus on Sept. 26, 2009. The Galaxy are one victory shy of the club record 15-game unbeaten streak set from February, 1997 to May, 1998 and are one game shy of the MLS record of consecutive games without a loss to open a season. That mark was set by the Galaxy in 1996, Major League Soccer’s inaugural season.
The Galaxy also have conceded only two goals in 2010 and have gone 456 minutes without allowing a goal since the 84th minute of a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union.
Veteran defender Todd Dunivant said Arena has restored most, if not all, of the Galaxy's past glory.
"He's really turned this organization around and gotten us back to where it belonged," he said. "He's without a doubt one of the best coaches this league has ever had."