Are Bruce Arena's best days behind him? That's what Goal.com's Pat Walsh thinks in assessing Arena's first full season in charge of the New York Red Bulls. During Arena's tenure with the U.S. national team, Walsh says you could seldom see the kind of frustration visible on his face as the Red Bulls battled fruitlessly to a 0-0 draw with the New England Revs at Giants Stadium on Saturday. Arena cut a calm, if smug-looking figure with the national team; nowadays, the attitude remains, but his on-field yelling and gesticulating indicate the calmness is gone.
Though the U.S.
under-performed at the 2006 World Cup, Arena's national team spell was still the most successful in U.S. history. Similar expectations were heaped on his shoulders when Arena arrived in New York;
after all, this is a man who won titles wherever he coached domestically.
Which means that after stomaching a barely .500 regular-season record featuring poor defending, questionable
player transactions, and the use of a DP slot on Claudio Reyna, Red Bulls management demands a decent run in the playoffs -- i.e. getting past the first round, at least. Saturday's 0-0 home draw
puts his team at a disadvantage going into Game 2 at Foxborough this weekend -- and you can see it on Arena's face.