Grahame the wag, no, not that kind, spotted evidence of a cut on Bruce Arena's throat when he came over to answer questions from the press. "What happened?" Grahame asked. "Did you realize you had agreed to take over the Galaxy and then tried to cut your throat?"
Bruce smiled. "I had spinal fusion surgery. It took care of a back problem I had for a long time. I'm feeling better than ever now."
Bruce said a lot of the right things to the LA media.
"I'm excited about this opportunity."
"You see that a lot of teams that do well in this league have quality through the middle of the field - New England and Houston are great examples."
"We're going to have to be patient with this team (the Galaxy)."
"The U.S. team improved while I was there."
"I'd like to give back to the game. I have no regrets."
"I enjoyed announcing. It gave me a greater respect for that job." Bruce did mention that he has yet to try sportswriting, but he doesn't think it would be that difficult. Then he went on to add he does have respect for the work the media do.
On the Galaxy bringing in Eddie Lewis: "We need to continue to look at that."
On Becks: "Who wouldn't look forward to working with David Beckham."
"This organization is farther along than New York. It's a good organization. We need the technical side to catch up with the business side."
Flashes of Bruce's ego showed through, though, even while on his best behavior.
"I was the longest-serving national team coach in the world." No, you weren't, Bruce.
Bruce didn't watch all of the U.S. Olympic team's Nigeria match, but he said he went out of his way to check out Orozco's red card, and he was pretty dubious about it. Then he ran through a little history of iffy calls versus the U.S. in international competition. I'm sure our readers can recall the main ones he listed.
Bruce on the U.S. women's team: "I always think the women will win gold."
Bruce on Dave Sarachan: "If I get assassinated, it's important that there's somebody there to continue what we've been working on."
Dave on how to improve the defense: "You change the mentality."
Now we get to see that results Bruce produces with the Galaxy. Bruce may think he has an ace with his good relationship with Landon Donovan, but that won't save him. LD loved Frank Yallop, but that wasn't enough to keep Frank in the job when the team kept losing. Two coaches LD didn't especially care for (Ruud Gullit and Steve Sampson) actually got LD to produce a lot (a double championship and the league lead in goals).
Bruce plans to live in Manhattan Beach (of course) and he said he loves the West Coast. He shook hands with all the reporters and called a few by name.
AEG has handed Bruce a lot of power, yet there's a limited time for Bruce to show that his reputation isn't based on acts more circa 2002 than anything else. Bottom line, when a lot of money and power is handed over, results are also demanded. Being nice to the media is a minor detail if the team doesn't start winning.
"You see that a lot of teams that do well in this league have quality through the middle of the field..."
I would expand that to in any league, and any team, from AYSO to World Cup. And, of course, the Euros which produced play that should make watching at least Spain's games required training on that account.
If the Galaxy had waited a few days, they could have had Dunga.
I think Arena will get more time than many people will realize. Why? Because the Galaxy can't afford to alienate any more high-level coaches; otherwise, the team wouldn't be able to get an AYSO coach here.
Besides, Leiweke gave Arena immense power because Leiweke wants to survive. Leiweke's fate is tied to Arena's. If Arena doesn't work out, Leiweke is gone. Count on it.
Besides, despite the friendly aire, Arena is not the kind of man you screw with. He will chew up and spit out at supersonic speed any incompetent corporate suit who tries to mess with him, the way such magnificant incompetents such as Lalas and Leiweke tried to screw wtih Yallop and Gullit.
Leiweke and AEG know this. They'll give Arena as much time as he needs because he's their last hope. They'll also treat him w/more respect than any coach they previously hired -- because they know the consequences if they don't.
Great stuff, as always AC!
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