Los Angeles Galaxy v Seattle Sounders

Frustrated Bruce Arena laments costly lack of experience


Only Bruce Arena could say if there was a little something more behind his frustrated comments late last minutes to long after after watching his team unravel in 10 awful minutes against a Monterrey side that was there for the taking.

The Galaxy led by a goal but conceded twice in the final 10 minutes, and now find themselves dragging a heavy weight, a 2-1 deficit they will carry into Mexico for next week’s second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series.

What Arena said:

A little bit more experience, a little bit more quality, we win this game by a couple goals. But we end up losing.

“There are clear lessons for our team: the kind of concentration you need, the experience, the tactical understanding. So what if we don’t get the second goal? You win the game 1-0. That’s so obvious, and we didn’t do the job we needed to do. If we don’t concede, we walk away with a win tonight and position ourselves better to go into Monterrey. Now going into Monterrey is obviously going to be very difficult.”

You wonder if Arena was frustrated just because. Or …

Was he frustrated because the team is still essentially missing  two of its money men? The team has yet to replace David Beckham on the roster, whether that is Frank Lampard or someone else? This was always the danger as the club elected to wait until the summer transfer window (when there will surely be more movement and therefore greater options) to identify a willing third DP.

And then there’s Landon Donovan.

Donovan did come in after 63 minutes Tuesday. But he wasn’t around when the Galaxy had its first chances to go up 2-0.

Donovan admitted that Arena wasn’t exactly thrilled by his choice to go on four-month sabbatical. No sabbatical, and Donovan surely would have started and been far more a factor Tuesday.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.