New L.A. Galaxy head coach and GM Bruce Arena took over at the New York Red Bulls two years ago and almost turned the team's season around, taking them into the playoffs where they narrowly lost to D.C. United. In the short term, can Arena repeat that feat with L.A., asks Nick Green?
The team has six wins all season, and has ten games left to cement a spot in the postseason. "In this league," said Arena, "there's not a big gap from top to bottom and I think a team that can get a couple of consecutive wins under their belts becomes a team with momentum and things change." The task ahead with the Galaxy will be, if anything, easier than at New York, said the coach, because "probably this roster is in a little better shape. When you have Landon Donovan and David Beckham, you're not that bad off."
But a playoff place will not be as important as long term developments at the club. Green says that as the fourth Galaxy coach in the last two years, Arena "will ask for what none of his predecessors were given -- time to establish a coaching philosophy and perhaps most importantly, end the revolving door that has seen players picked up and discarded at an astounding rate." For Arena it's clear the league's most successful teams, such as New England and Houston, "have been built meticulously rather than emphasizing unrealistic expectations over the short term."
Arena stressed that "we're going to have to be a little bit patient and do the right things every day to build this team where we want it to be. We can turn this thing around. [AEG] realizes it's not going to happen overnight." Said veteran midfielder Chris Klein: "The thing that he brings is stability, and knowing him, he brings a winning mentality -- two things we need right now. Our objective right now is not to be the super club and take over the world. Our objective right now is to play a good game on Thursday and to build."