LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena talks set pieces, Robbie Keane injury and more

CARSON, Calif. –LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media on Thursday after the club’s penultimate training session ahead of Saturday’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Always one to rattle the media, Arena was in rare form on Thursday, so several of his comments should be taken with a bit of sarcasm.

Arena’s quotes are below…

(On whether the LA Galaxy had an agreement with U.S. Soccer to keep Omar Gonzalez through Saturday’s match…)

ARENA: "We don’t discuss those things. Omar will be here Saturday."

(On whether he was unhappy that Gonzalez will miss next week’s game against Colorado…)

ARENA: “We’re happy right now. It’s a wonderful day. We’re not worried about any of that stuff; we’re getting ready to play a game on Saturday.”

(On his impression of the team’s performance on set pieces…)

ARENA: “Not good…We’re not scoring when we have them and we’re giving up goals when the other team has them.”

(On why the team is not successful at set pieces at the moment…)

ARENA: “Who knows? If I knew that then it wouldn’t be happening right? Actually, we’re planning let goals be scored at the end of the game. We’ve worked really hard at it and we’re doing well. This time around, we’re going to try not to let them score.”

(On what the Galaxy aren’t doing on set pieces in particular…)

ARENA: “They’re not doing their jobs. It’s like if [New York Yankees closer] Marino Rivera gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth, you’d probably say that it is because he put the ball in a good spot for the hitter, but maybe the hitter hit it well. Whoever knows this stuff?”

 (On whether opposing teams are defending Omar Gonzalez on attacking set pieces differently…)

ARENA: “They’re not.”

(On Juninho’s set pieces…)

ARENA: “They can be better.”

(On whether the club’s struggles on set pieces are due to the absence of David Beckham…)

ARENA: “If you think about the fact that, maybe, he’s one of the best players [at set pieces] in the history of the game, you probably don’t replace that quality the next year…I don’t think that can you approximate anything that Beckham does on free kicks.”

(On whether he hopes to approximate Beckham’s success on free kicks with other players…)

ARENA: “I hope that it is Christmas tomorrow, but it won’t be. There’s certain things in life that you need to understand. And one thing is that if the Miami Heat loses LeBron James, of course they’re going to try to approximate him with the next player, but it ain’t gonna happen. Whether you believe that or not, it’s not going to happen. There’s certain things about the quality of [certain] players that is unique and special and it is not going to be automatic that the next guy can do it with the same efficiency. Those are the facts of life.”

(On whether he considers Juninho to be a good set piece taker…)

ARENA: “He’s not bad.”

(On the status of Robbie Keane…)

ARENA: “He didn't train today. We'll take it day by day, we’ll see.”