Bruce Arena handed long-term contract extension by LA Galaxy

Leave a comment

On Thursday the LA Galaxy announced that they’ve extended Bruce Arena’s stay as Head Coach and General Manager, as one of the top coaches in U.S. history will continue to be a fixture in Major League Soccer for many years to come.

Arena, 62, has signed a “multi-year contract extension” after enjoying several seasons of success since joining LA in 2008. Since then the Galaxy have made three MLS Cup finals, winning back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012, while also winning the Western Conference title in three of the last five seasons and capturing the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2010 and 2010.

Since 2008, Arena has a 82-46-44 regular season record, as the Californian outfit have become the most recognizable brand in U.S. soccer.

Speaking about Arena’s decision to extend his current deal Dan Beckerman, President and CEO of AEG which owns the Galaxy, shared his delight.

“We are very pleased to sign Bruce Arena to a multi-year contract extension,” Beckerman said in a club statement. “Bruce is one of the finest coaches in the history of soccer in the United States. His commitment to the LA Galaxy, the club’s winning tradition and continued excellence on and off the field is unrivaled. We look forward to the team’s continued success under Bruce’s management.”

A brash character who does things his own way, Arena is a man who often divides opinion across the U.S. soccer spectrum. But you just can’t argue with his record over a long and glittering career as a coach in MLS.

Arena recently became the first coach in MLS history to win four MLS Cup titles and has been named MLS Coach of the Year three times. Coaching D.C. United, the U.S. national team and now the LA Galaxy, Arena has become an institution on the U.S. soccer scene spanning over two decades. As coach of the USMNT, Arena led the Nats to the FIFA World Cup twice, including an historic quarterfinal berth in 2002 in Japan/Korea and during his time in charge of the national team he compiled a 71-30-29 all-time record.

“I’m honored to remain in this role with the preeminent soccer club in the United States,” Arena said. “I appreciate the continued support and confidence from Mr. Anschutz, Mr. Beckerman, Chris Klein and my staff and players as we head into the 2014 season.”

With Arena on board for the foreseeable future, what does this mean for the LA club? More success, more domination and likely more trophies.

Arena’s stranglehold as MLS most-respected and driven coach is unlikely to diminish during the twilight of his coaching career. if anything we’ve seen a more outspoken and heated Arena in the past few MLS seasons, but his ability to find the best young talent and manage star names, like DPs Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and David Beckham, will hold him in good stead with the Galaxy.

A talented crop of youngsters, Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean, Zardes and Omar Gonzalez have broken into the team under Arena’s tutelage and despite Villarreal on loan to Cruz Azul during the 2014 MLS season, expect Arena’s emphasis to still be on blending youth with experience as the Galaxy look to add another MLS Cup to the trophy cabinet.

Arena’s new deal means more of the same for LA. Success.

Pressure builds on Borussia Dortmund manager Peter Bosz

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Borussia Dortmund has fallen to fifth in the Bundesliga table thanks to a trio of consecutive losses in league play, and suddenly there is loads of pressure on manager Peter Bosz.

The Dutchman came to Westfalenstadion after upper management pushed Thomas Tuchel out over the summer, and while he won seven of his first eight league matches in charge by a total goal differential of 21-2, things have come crashing down. The black & yellow have lost three in a row Bundesliga matches and four of their last five across all competitions, with their only win in that span coming over third-tier Magdenburg.

With fans feeling helpless over the departure of the wildly successful Tuchel that came as a result of a falling out between the German and his superiors, Bosz would always be on a short leash. He inherited a flawed squad, yet one that had achieved much under his predecessor, and immediate failures would naturally be lumped on the new man.

The most recent defeat, a 2-1 falter at Stuttgart, was a microcosm of Dortmund’s recent failures. The team conceded a comically poor goal five minutes into the match, worked hard to equalize just before the halftime break, and conceded again just after returning to the pitch. They controlled much of the match, but largely failed to capitalize.

The head man summed it up pretty well. “The defeat really hurts,” Bosz proclaimed after the final whistle. “We came here to win, so we’re very disappointed. When you see the goals we conceded, it borders on the ridiculous. It hurts because we actually put in a relatively good performance in the first half. The team performed well after conceding the early goal, only the final ball was lacking. The second half wasn’t as good. We need to keep going, we won’t give up.”

So what do the Dortmund executives do? Does Bosz get the benefit of the doubt based on performances? Or does he get blamed for the sudden dropoff in results? There is plenty of pressure given the team sits not only nine points back of Borussia Dortmund in league play, but is also third in a brutal Champions League group with almost no hope of recovery, and even threatens to miss out on a drop to Europa League play if they slip behind Cypriot club Apoel Nicosia, whom they find themselves level on points with.

Even if the club sticks with the Dutchman for now, his room for error has almost completely evaporated and it’s only mid-November. The next two matches will likely tell the tale, and it’s an uphill battle. Tottenham comes to Westfalenstadion on the backs of a disappointing defeat to North London foes Arsenal, followed by the home end of the Rivierderby against a Schalke side that sits second in the Bundesliga table, three points above Bosz and Dortmund.

Antonio Conte calls Tony Pulis a “really good manager”

Getty Images
Leave a comment

West Brom, after four straight defeats, sits 17th in the Premier League table, most recently suffering a 4-0 dismantling at the hands of Chelsea.

Yet Blues boss Antonio Conte has offered his counterpart an olive branch, supporting his fellow Premier League manager at a time of panic.

With reports that Pulis could be fired this coming week – some say as early as Monday – the Baggies boss is under heaps of pressure, but Conte doesn’t believe he should be. “I must be honest, I think Tony Pulis is a really good manager,” Conte said, hoping those in charge don’t make decisions based on Sunday’s result.

“He has great experience and it’s always very difficult to play against his team. This game became easy because we started very strong, with great concentration and desire to win. We showed from the start our will to win this game. But I repeat: Last season we struggled a lot against them.”

West Brom has lost four in a row in league play, and they haven’t picked up a win since August, and as The Guardian points out, they have the lowest average possession in the Premier League and have the second-lowest shots on target thus far. They registered just two shots on target against Chelsea, and held 39% possession, which is actually slightly above their average for the season.

Sergio Ramos suffers broken nose in Atletico Madrid draw

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Real Madrid trails Barcelona by 10 points in the La Liga title race just 12 matches in, and now they will have to play catch-up without their best defender.

Club captain Sergio Ramos suffered a broken nose after being accidentally kicked in the face by teammate Lucas Hernandez during the first half of Madrid’s 0-0 draw with cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid. He received treatment and remained on the field, but he was withdrawn at halftime.

Manager Zinedine Zidane was unable to give a timetable for Ramos’s return.

Ramos said via Twitter, alongside some graphic images of his bloody nose, “I would bleed a thousand times for this badge and this shirt. Thanks for your support. I’ll be back in no time.”

Up next for Madrid is Champions League group match against Cypriot club Apoel midweek before a league game against Malaga at home. Athletic Bilbao and Borussia Dortmund are also on the horizon. A masked Sergio Ramos could be in our midst soon.

Real Madrid has not lost a league match without Ramos since March of 2015, but they drew their only game this season with Ramos suspended, a 2-2 home split with Valencia.

Moyes roasts West Ham players after loss to Watford

Getty Images
1 Comment

After his first game in charge of West Ham, David Moyes thought he had a better squad. Apparently he was mistaken.

A 2-0 loss to Watford gave Moyes a rude awakening as he looks to replace Slaven Bilic and pull the Hammers out of the relegation zone. He was not pleased with his players.

“Overall, that level of performance will not be good enough,” Moyes told reporters after the match.

He wasn’t done.

“I thought this was a big job, but there were some players with big reputations who disappointed me. There were some who I thought would show me more, and why they play for the team regularly. They need to show me, ‘If that’s your reputation, show me why you’ve got it.'”

He backtracked slightly, agreeing that the players are in a difficult position changing managers, but ultimately that excuse wasn’t enough for him. “It’s tough for the players – I could sense that – but I didn’t enjoy our performance in the end. I didn’t enjoy us giving the ball away too cheaply, too many times and I expected us to do better.”

Moyes even called out striker Andy Carroll, saying he removed the England international because he feared Carroll would pick up a second yellow card. Carroll could have been carded seven seconds into the match, leaving Marvin Zeegelaar with a bloody nose after an elbow to the face, something Carroll has been sent off for earlier this season. He was eventually given one in the 28th minute.

“I thought we defended OK,” Moyes said, “but then we gave away cheap goals by getting bundled off the ball and we didn’t really deal with it. We didn’t do well enough in all departments at different times.”

That’s about as ruthless as you’ll ever hear the mild-mannered David Moyes, and all West Ham players should beware that their places in the team are in jeopardy.