The Bruce Arena Report

Discussion in 'LA Galaxy' started by TequilaJoal, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. TequilaJoal

    TequilaJoal Red Card

    Mar 3, 2002
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    Bruce Arena the first (250) days on the job:

    Combined record in all competitions (4) Wins -- (7) Loses -- (9) Ties

    Key Additions - Dema Kovalenko, Donovan Ricketts, Greg Berhalter, Tony Sanneh, Eddie Lewis, Jovan Kirovski, Todd Dunivant, Mike Magee.

    Key Subtractions - Carlos Ruiz, Pete Vagenas, Brandon McDonald, Mike Randolph, Eduardo Dominguez, Ely Allen, Joey Franchino, Ante Jazic.

    (Detail) The (8) key addition have a combined age of 32 years and 8 months. While the (8) key subtractions have a combined age of 27 years and 3 months. Also a salary difference between 520 to 550k per year total.

    (Sidenote) All but Ricketts & Dema have been in a Bruce Arena lead USA mens national team camp at one time in their lives.. and than includes current roster players Chris Klein, Edson Buddle, and Landon Donovan.


    Historical overview

    Bruce Arena's most significant MLS experience was from 1996 thru 1998 where he compiled his best numbers and won several MLS cups with then D.C. United. He then went on to US Soccer as the National team Head Coach/Manager where he had a great run in 2002 and the run up to 2006... showing his inadquacies in the final few games preparing for the 2006 World Cup and finally a last place finish in it. Almost immediately after Arena was not re-signed on as US National team head coach.

    late 2006 Bruce would then land with NYRB where he made a couple of significant signings with Jozy Altidore and Juan Pablo Angel, but those will always be overshadowed by his greatest failure to date... signing often injured, then 33 year old Claudio Reyna to a 2 year 1.3 million dollar contract. Arena would amass a respectable 16-16-10 record in his 1.5 years and even making the playoffs but was fired anyway. His overly defensive tactics and inability to coach offensive players again would come to play.

    Arena would lay dormant for 9 months til the Galaxy called with not only the head coaching job but General Manager also in August of 2008.

    (LA Galaxy 2008 Finish)

    With Arena hired we all expected that "new" coach bounce like most teams do when they not only bring in the new coach but in the case of Bruce Arena bring in arguably the biggest name American coach in history. We ended with a lackluster finish and out of the playoffs once again.

    (LA Galaxy 2009)

    Bruce overhauls the team of over 12 players. As is his M.O. brings in only players he recognizes or has coached in his past. and like his move in New York brings in several ex-U.S. national team members who are on the plus side of 30 years old. He makes several moves to overhaul the defense now and to date has paid off... kinda.


    (Final Conclusion)

    Bruce Arena hasn't lifted a trophy over his head since the 2005 Gold Cup with the USA Mens National Team and before that the 2002 Gold Cup. Basically Bruce doesn't know how to coach club soccer anymore, and it shows in his team design. Bruce will always pick a player based on past resume over performance or potential. Bruce instinctively will choose defensive minded players because of his goalkeeping and defensive soocer approach. Bruce like his New York experiment went for the immediate glory building a team that was built to win now. As with Los Angeles he has brought in several experienced players to the squad at the expense of future potential.

    Some believe Bruce is only living on past success and that the failure of the 2006 WC team. and the 06-07 Red Bulls teams were a hint that this man has lost the skill to not only build a franchise for the future, but to even create a winning team in the right now.

    The post Steve Sampson option is finally available again in (Klinsman). And the timing is working out perfectly... when all else fails and the win at all cost option isn't "winning" at all costs. Do you look over at the coach you let slip away 3 years ago... slip away again? because you might make the playoffs this year... with this team... and this coach?
     
  2. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    I'm half with you, but seriously, Klinsman?

    What I agree with:

    1) Arena has a reluctance to look at foreign players.

    2) He favors old players who he knows rather than younger players who he doesn't.

    I think (2) will matter less over time as he builds up more of his own players at the Galaxy. How big (1) is remains to be seen, and the summer transfer window should tell us a lot.

    Is Arena overly defensive? It's actually hard to tell. We only have two good attacking players - Donovan and Buddle - and Buddle has been out. Whether you want Alan Gordon also to start is an interesting question, but I'm not going to judge a coach on where he comes down on that question.


    And as an aside. I thought Arena did fine in 2006. Did you really expect for us to advance out of a group with Italy and the Check Republic.
     
  3. dashiel

    dashiel Member+

    Jul 15, 2000
    orange county
    spot on.

    i put sigi and bruce as the last of the "old guard" coaches, i know sigi didn't join the league until '99, but he's of the same school, imo with one big difference - he seems to have adapted to the way the league has changed while bruce has not. it's probably why sigi is still coaching and why bruce probably won't be again after his stint here ends.

    also interesting, i don't believe we have yet had the "new coach" bounce from any of your new coaches. just from memory i think it took sampson 4 or 5 matches to get a win; yallop was 3 or 4; gullit i'm not sure counts as a new coach bounce candidate, but it took him one game.
     
  4. Geneva

    Geneva LA for Life

    Feb 5, 2003
    Southern Cal
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    You should factor in key additions Omar Gonzales and AJ DeLaGarza. Otherwise you're picking data points.

    Fascinating about the fact that most of those guys played for Bruce on the national team - I hadn't thought about it that way before.
     
  5. propeller74

    propeller74 Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    LA
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Country:
    United States
    I am no Arena apologist, but I don't know what people expected. Last years team sucked. No two ways about it. I think we were all hopeful for this "bounce" when he came on, but the players could not change who they were; the team was just simply not a good one. Look at the difference at the defense from last year until now. The difference is remarkable.

    Th white elephant in the room which you fail to point out is the Beckham Saga which really hamstrung Arena's ability to add quality players until the start of the season. This was a huge shackle for him to deal with and continues to be so. You can argue that he could have done better than Magee, Migz or Kiro, but probably not much (except keeping MacDonald!). We also know that it was Bruce who was interested in bringing in Chavez for the back line. I guess don't see a reluctance to sign foreign players as much.

    Coming into any "sinking ship" situation such as this one, good people surround themselves with people they know and are comfortable with to turn the situation around. LA GALAXY were a mess the last 3 seasons. You can't just come in a wave a magic wand and hope that the losing and apathetic culture which was starting to take hold within the organization will just go away. Certain coaches are not going to immediately take risks on unknown players, because their job is on the line. Besides, he has done a great job of bringing in Gonzo and AJ.

    All in all, BA is the coach now and he needs to see this through. Bringing in a Klinsmann at this time makes no sense at all. The Galaxy need structure and need some continuity or it's going to be the same old crappy song again and again.

    This team is really starting to really come together now. They trust each other more and clearly have a ton of heart. Do they need to win? Of course. That is the ultimate barometer, but I think that given the limit of talent on the squad, Bruce is getting the most out of his players and we will taste our first victory of the season against NYRB now that we have threat up top in Buddle.

    It's a long season and I will be curious to see what BA does with the summer transfer window. I could easily see a few players hit the road and give him an opportunity to make very positive addtions, not to mention Becks.
     
  6. Soccer Obsession

    Jun 13, 2007
    Pasadena
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States

    Hmmm.. My predictions:

    CUT/RELEASE/TRADE: Sean Franklin, AJ Delagarza, Tristan Bowen, Josh Tudela

    IN/ACQUIRE: Claudio Reyna, Jeff Agoos, Eddie Pope, Tony Sanneh (...oh wait)
     
  7. dashiel

    dashiel Member+

    Jul 15, 2000
    orange county
    expected? pretty much what we got. though i was half-expecting reyna to come on board in some capacity.

    hoped for? not a repeat performance of the failed policies of the last 4 coaches. the biggest difference between last year and this is we're built to play 1-0 games instead of 5-4.
     
  8. greenarrow1134

    greenarrow1134 New Member

    May 30, 2007
    626
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    Since when is it a bad thing to have guys with National Team experience on your squad?

    Yeah they may be old, but they have been holding down the fort (4 ties could have easily been 4 losses) Plus several of the goals given up have been because of AJ or Omar. Rookies making rookie mistakes, which is going to happen. The team just needs to find a stride. Were not in panic mode (yet). They are staying positive. Ricketts makes this team a playoff contender, now with Buddle back hopefully he can start up front with Jordan.

    The whole Alan Gordan thing has finally lost its humor. Seriously. Enough.

    If we can't win at home against NYRB then off with Bruces's head. Especially after there epic meltdown last week at home against DCU.
     
  9. L.A. SOCCER NATION

    L.A. SOCCER NATION ONLY IN L.A.

    Jun 17, 2005
    LOS ANGELES
    NOT FUNNY!!:mad: The reason why is that it could really happen!:eek:
     
  10. Venturadoc

    Venturadoc Member

    Aug 14, 2007
    Ventura, CA
     
  11. juniorLA

    juniorLA Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    El Lay
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    what they ^ said. also, while it is true that we may have been hamstrung in what players we could have picked up, BA still made choices and still chose to pick up all of these 30+yr old players when perhaps younger options were available, likely because he already knew them instead of because they were the best way to build the club for the future. all i gotta say is: osvaldo alonso. the kid is an amazing Dmid. no MLS teams had picked him up earlier. it's not like he was plying his trade in Honduras or Argentina, he was in fricking Charleston, SC. are our scouts too lazy to even drop by USL clubs??? it smacks of laziness or arrogance, neither of which any MLS coach can afford.
     
  12. propeller74

    propeller74 Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    LA
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Country:
    United States
    As stated before, I think that Bruce brought in all of these guys to plug the hole in this leaky team. He is righting the ship; then he can go after some serious talent. If he doesn't? Then we can get all over them. This takes time. You can't just take as some one pointed out "The worst roster in MLS" and make it a playoff team overnight. It will happen. I think we have to see where we are after the summer window. I would be more than thrilled to see some stability on the team and then pull in the components that we need for a stretch run. Trimming the fat; Kiro, Klein, maybe even Sanneh & Magee, and replacing them with younger more talented players would be great.

    I feel that the stability is coming. Again, the fact that Becks is coming back kind of screws any serious solutions for this season until he is officially off the roster. It's a huge amount against the cap which is hard to negotiate or ignore.
     
  13. Vios

    Vios Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Country:
    United States
    I think Arena did a good job cleaning house and getting rid of overpriced average players. With Dunivant and Berhalter (and AJ and Omar learning the ropes) all anchored by a tough D-Mid (Dema) and Ricketts the defense is just starting to gel. I see some shut-outs in the coming weeks. That is a huge change for the positive.

    Migs, Kirovski, Sanneh and Magee (I forget the others..) were all reasonable and affordable gambles. Which ones move on - who knows right now.

    If this were a project timeline, you would see some weeding that got pushed way back because:

    A) Not enough challenging competition in the preseaosn

    and

    B) The Beckham saga

    I am hoping it all gets sorted out and we see some roster changes soon.

    But on "A" above - what the heck happened? That just seemed to be poor planning. Someone made a good post on that topic - I forget who.
     
  14. dashiel

    dashiel Member+

    Jul 15, 2000
    orange county
    with regards to the "beckham saga" - it's a total bs excuse.

    1) bruce claimed from the very beginning that he had plans in place for beckham not being here.

    2) we didn't use - or didn't use wisely - the salary cap relief we got until july

    3) beckham showing up or not does not preclude us from picking an attacking midfielder of some sort. i'm not picky anymore - young motivated rookie prone to mistakes; aging foreign veteran who lazily strolls up and down the pitch; unsettled stud/bench player from another mls team. seriously i don't care as long as they give us some forward momentum.

    the black-hole in the middle of the hdc might well be apropos of the team moniker but it makes for dreadful soccer.
     
  15. juniorLA

    juniorLA Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    El Lay
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    yes, but arena could have chosen to plug the holes with other players that would have provided a good foundation for growth in the future instead of all of these overage players, who aren't showing particularly well.

    look at kirovski, just as an example--impressed? so many of these guys are at or near the end of their careers that they have at most a couple seasons left, at which point we'll need new players. IMO better to put in a younger player of similar ability to kirovski (shouldn't be tough) that can grow with the team, provide stability and team understanding and cohesiveness over time. why might arena have gone with kirovski?--i've got to think it was on the fact that he played for arena before and that arena has not looked at how he has played recently, or i don't know how you'd decide to select him. and if that is how he assembled the team, that is really, really lazy and poor work. another example, brandon macdonald. i personally don't think that either miglioranzi nor kovalenko is an improvement over brandon. why? neither migs nor kovalenko is showing much on the offensive side of the ball. their possession has been shite, they don't contribute much, if anything, to a possession game. they also are not playmakers and don't provide much in the way of quality forward service. moreover, who is impressed with their skills? purportedly BA's big beef with macdonald was that he wasn't tidy enough with the ball...but could you describe migs as tidy? hell no. macdonald has the potential to grow into a much better player.

    this kind of thing disturbs me. we shouldn't have to trim the very fat that arena put there in the first place. i thought at the very least, given BA's reputed ego, BA would have the balls to do the right thing.

    i think that our defense is starting to look somewhat better than last year, markedly moreso with dunivant and berhalter., but i think that what has really kept us in the last couple games is ricketts. i think if we had cronin in the nets, the last 2 games are losses and 0 points and not ties with 2 points. look at the prior game with sanneh instead of berhalter and how disorganized they looked--if one player can make that much difference, that seems like it is coming down to the quality of the player and not the system--i.e., not the coaching.

    look, i think it's too early to come to any conclusions about BA, but his time here has been anything but impressive. we can make all the excuses in the world to justify his slow start, but i have to say that i'm not liking his imprimatur on the team in the form of his personnel selection or his tactics. i wish that if we were building for the future, AEG would have come up with a more inspired choice for a coach, perhaps someone who played in MLS, a jason kreis type.

    i'm hoping that we continue to improve as we continue to gel, that we will be much more potent with buddle in the game, that we make some smart moves in the summer transfer window and that we move away from the current boom-ball tactics.
     
  16. bedmstr

    bedmstr New Member

    May 7, 2008
    I actually like the defensive approach that Bruce is working on. It is a start for solid performances to come because defense wins championships. This year may not be great but next year is very promising if we can eliminate maggee, klein, shanneh, kirovsky and get better talents.

    During the off-season, Bruce should have gone oversea to look for talent but I guess he is not specialized in this area because he keeps getting only those he already knows so he should get an assistant in this matter.

    For those who dream of Klinsman for LA, this would be a huge mistake. A coach like Klinsman will not deal with cap situations well. There are two types of great coaches. One who can capitalize from crappy parts such as Preki and one who can capitalize from a great pool of talented players. Alex ferguson wouldn't know what to do with a team like galaxy. In addition, Klinsman to LA would not pass the reality check, nobody goes from Bayern to LA. Remember, this guy turned down manchester city which offered him great terms.

    From all the games this season, galaxy showed heart but lack of confidence. This will get worse when landon is away. Sometimes I wonder, if last year team has this year defense, Ruud might have gotten better results. Ruud came in with all the players already acquired and he could not fix the defense. Neither could Bruce until this year signing. So, besides creating a bad locker room, Ruud was probably not so bad. At least it was very entertaining when we had those few victories in the first half of the season.
     
  17. jmaestro

    jmaestro Member+

    Mar 27, 2008
    Bakersfield
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    I'm not a huge fan of pulling players out of the old-folks home to start for us, but we should also keep in mind that as Arena tries to fix the team, he will naturally go with players that he knows well, that know his system, and can plug in quickly. This has worked well so far with Berhalter, and not so well with Kirovski, but it applies to all the guys he's worked with on the USMNT. I understand that--if you're going to plug in a temporary solution, then you might as well have one that already comes from a common knowledge base and experience.

    On the other hand, you really can't say that Bruce isn't giving the youngsters a chance. AJ, Franklin, Gonzalez, Jordan, even Patterson--they've all been playing. He is apparently fine with youth as long as he's happy with the direction the player is going. It's the middle zone that we're weak in.

    And I don't care what anyone says about "backup plans," etc.---ownership screwed Bruce over by letting the Beckham thing turn into such a fiasco, and if we had a solid performer in the midfield right now, playing instead of Migs, we might be looking at this team at lot differently.

    This isn't a total defense of Il Bruce, because I don't think he hasn't done much to help the offense, but I can see what he's trying to do, and hopefully it'll work as the season progresses.
     
  18. juniorLA

    juniorLA Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    El Lay
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    agree, very much so. i've been continually impressed with preki's ability to get so much out of his players, and to play decently attractive football in the process.
     
  19. primality

    primality New Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    The Rose Bowl
    The L.A. Sol women's team plays more attractive football than us.

    Arena's offensive acquisitions and roster selections have been extremely sub-par. Miglioranzi, Kirovski, Magee, Patterson, and Boateng were non-impact acquisitions. Bringing in Lewis was a necessity, but he is more of a role player to set up others at this point in his career. Arena has also failed to evaluate the ineffectiveness of existing players like Gordon, Klein, and Jordan. Arena seems to be absolutely lost when it comes to evaluating offensive talent.

    This where a guy like Klinsmann could really help us at this point.
     
  20. primality

    primality New Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    The Rose Bowl
    It won't work until he gets some better talent on offense. I don't think Arena is the right guy to evaluate offensive acquisitions even if he finally does make a move or two. Simply waiting for Beckham to save us is not going to work. We will be too far in the hole at that point. Arena should have considered this before the season started. Our place in the standings and our turnout at the stadium would have benefitted from a quality offensive move in pre-season.

    Even as GM, an offensive football mind like Klinsmann could drastically help us out.
     
  21. primality

    primality New Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    The Rose Bowl
    He has also failed to develop offensive talent. Bowen should be further along by now. Is Sesay even still with the team? Couldn't we have used the pace of a guy like Boateng? Have Gordon and Jordan improved at all since last year? Is Magee playing as well as he did last year?
     
  22. Poling

    Poling Member

    May 14, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    I have to say I am a little disappointed that Bruce didn't do anything with his $200K that he got from Beckham coming back.

    I will say that he got this a little late to do anything; but the telling part will be what he does with it this summer. If he makes a couple cuts and picks up an attacking mid and Becks comes back we could make a pretty good push in the 2nd half of the year
     
  23. propeller74

    propeller74 Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    LA
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Country:
    United States
    Are you kidding me? The guy has been on the job for 250 days and you expect him to create marked improvement from a 17 year old kid? Really?

    We don't have a Reserve League and the young guys aren't getting chances to play on a regular basis. It was a horrible decision by the league to eliminate this as it will stunt the growth of players like Bowen who need to be playing competitively every week. This is not BA's fault. That is an unrealistic statement.

    I swear, people just seem to expect that the Galaxy should be the best team in the league and that it should be simple to throw together a world beater team. It's just not that easy! This team has been run into the ground for years now and perhaps we have finally reached the bottom and can begin to expect steady growth. You can't just take a bunch of unproven young players, throw them on the field and hope for the future. It would put a garbage product on the field and you'd all be bitching about how there was no leadership on the field. No veteran savvy.

    I am going to give BA through the summer transfer window to resolve some of the now glaring midfield holes on our team. Just think of the players which we off-loaded in during the winter: Allen, Roberts, Cronin, Wicks, Franchino, Pires, Randolph, Vagenas, etc.

    That is a pitiful collection of talent. Are any of them in MLS still? Pete is never in the squad for Seattle. Wicks was a joke. Looking at that list, how can anyone complain about Kovalenko? Let's give it some time guys!

    <Granted WINNING will solve everything!!>

    Forza G's! Crush Red Bull!
     
  24. Geneva

    Geneva LA for Life

    Feb 5, 2003
    Southern Cal
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    Don't disagree with your overall point, but Vagenas is injured.
     
  25. mbar

    mbar Member+

    Apr 30, 1999
    Los Angeles, CA
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    As far as I'm concerned, Bruce has the entire season in charge.

    The last thing we need is to replace coaches again. I don't care if Alex Ferguson was available for a salary of 10 BWHD's a week, I wouldn't want to make another change.

    I've been generally satisfied with Arena in every way EXCEPT in his ability to bring in talent from outside the league/US soccer community. It's an area in which the Galaxy have been woeful for many many years. The last truely effective import we can claim is Ruiz back in the day.

    I'd love for Arena to continue doing what he's doing. He's building a solid foundation but what's needed to take us over the top is a couple of killer foriegn (preferably central or south american) aquisitions that have pace, desire, heart and an ability to possess the ball in the midfield.

    I know it's hard to find such players but I don't even feel that the Galaxy is trying. We just look for MLS/US Soccer retreads and that has been the case for several years now. Arena is particularly fond of these types of players. I don't think a strong side can be built this way alone. I'm a firm believer in a solid mix of styles and personalities and would like to see us use the the summer transfer window to get at least one legit player and maybe take a flyer on one.
     

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