Brad Friedel

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As he plans to rebuild Revs, Arena ‘proud’ of second USMNT stint

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Bruce Arena has accepted the challenge of rebuilding the New England Revolution, though the legendary American coach is still being quizzed about his last gig.

Speaking Thursday after his appointment as Revs boss, Arena was asked about rebounding from the United States men’s national team’s terrible failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

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It was always going to happen, and his quotes were always going to grab headlines. Arena, for his part, did not disappoint.

“I was actually proud of the job I did in 2017,” Arena said. “We had a great group of players and they worked real hard and we fell short. That’s life, unfortunately. Sometimes people don’t understand that. We played 18 games and lost two of them in 2017. Overall, I think it was a positive experience.”

The Yanks lost two of their final four games in the Hex, gaining just four points. The first loss was at home to Costa Rica and the second was to already-eliminated Trinidad and Tobago’s B Team.

“Certainly, I’m as disappointed as anybody in that failure. I don’t define that as my legacy, personally. I know others do. I’m working and trying to be as good as I can be. I’m 67 years old in a country where the president is in his 70s. His likely competition in the next election is 70-something, so I’m the young kid on the block. Did I have to do this? No. But I love coaching, I love the sport, I love the challenge in building the game in this country; it’s something I’ve done for 40 years and it’s not easy to walk away from. It’s something that’s very important for me and that’s why I’m here today.”

So anyway…

New England fired Brad Friedel last week with the club five points outside the playoff picture, and Arena says the team’s goal is to get back into the postseason discussion.

The Revs have allowed the most goals in Major League Soccer this season, and missed the playoffs by nine points last season. Arena will bring league nous to New England, and he does have weapons in the form of Carles Gil and Juan Agudelo, but success will take time and added talent.

He’s Back: Revs hire Bruce Arena as head coach, sporting director

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One of the most decorated coaches in MLS history is back in the league.

The New England Revolution announced that it had hired legendary coach Bruce Arena as its new head coach and sporting director. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Arena is starting as coach with immediate effect. The news of Arena’s appointment came one day after the Revolution announced it was parting ways with general manager Michael Burns, and less than a week since former coach Brad Friedel was let go with a record of 12-21-13.

[READ: PST Writers’ PL Best XI]

Friedel was appointed ahead of the 2018 season with the hopes of turning around a Revolution side that made a deep run in the MLS playoffs in 2014, but had struggled in the years since. However, with a 3-8-2 record this season, Arena will have his hands full in trying to get this squad to improve through the next five months of the season.

“Bruce is one of the most successful coaches in American soccer history, and we feel his commitment to excellence, track record of winning championships in Major League Soccer, as well as his success at the international level, makes him the best person to bring the Revolution back to MLS Cup contention,” Revolution and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “We have known Bruce dating back to the advent of MLS, and we have full confidence that he will raise the level of our club to the standard we all expect and demand.”

As most of the world moves to an American sports model, with separate sporting directors/general managers and head coaches working in tandem, it is interesting to see Arena still with the influence and reputational strength to occupy both positions. In the past, Arena and the LA Galaxy’s ownership group with AEG worked in tandem to sign big stars and MLS standouts, and it’s possible that Arena sees that type of relationship happening again.

The move from the Krafts to fire both Burns and Friedel could be a changing of the tides. The Revs, still playing in the cavernous Gillette Stadium, still feel like an MLS 1.0 team, while Atlanta United, the Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Sporting KC, to use a few examples, all feel like they’re living in the 2019 version of the league. To this point, the Revs have just one Designated Player signed, former Aston Villa midfielder Carles Gil, and the team relies quite a bit on once-promising prospects that haven’t really panned out as stars; Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo and Scott Caldwell all come to mind.

Is the appointment of Arena a sign that the Kraft family is as ambitious as Arthur Blank or Merrit Paulson? That the Revs will start to spend big to keep up with the giants of MLS? Or is it a big signing in name only, with Arena not receiving the funds and support he was likely promised to take a rebuilding job like this. Only time will tell.

NE Revs fire Friedel after dreadful 46-game spell

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Brad Friedel is out as head coach of the New England Revolution after just 46 games (one full season, plus one-third of another), a spell in which the club’s record was 12W-13D-21L in MLS play.

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The Revs have won just two of their first 12 games this season (2W-2D-8L) and currently sit bottom of the Eastern Conference. Assistant coach Mike Lapper will take over as interim head coach while a search is conducted to appoint Friedel’s permanent successor.

Friedel, a U.S. men’s national team star from 1992 to 2005, had never been in charge of a club team prior to his appointment in November 2017. Whether or not Friedel is or isn’t a good coach perhaps still remains to be seen, but would be fair to say that the players at his disposal are not of the quality of the coaches with whom he was expected to compete. It would also be fair to say that the gap between the Revs’ roster and even the league’s middling teams is widening.

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For that reason, a growing number of fans in Boston don’t believe the rot stops by simply removing Friedel. They would like to see the person who hired Friedel and built the current roster, general manager Mike Burns, held accountable for failing to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs three years running as well as the dreadful start to 2019.

MLS early roundup: DC’s Rooney smashes free kick; NYCFC, Montreal win

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Three of five Wednesday matches in Major League Soccer are in the books, headlined by another fine goal from the Black-and-Red’s former Manchester United star.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 0-2 Man City ]


Columbus Crew 0-1 DC United

Wayne Rooney‘s zipped free kick was enough to give DC United a win in Columbus, which loses its third-straight match and fails to move ahead of its Wednesday visitors.

First place DC has a four-point edge on Toronto in the Eastern Conference, though the Black-and-Red have played three more matches.

The English forward hammered a waist-high shot past the outside of the wall despite Federico Higuain’s best efforts to get in the way, and it beat Zack Steffen inside the post.

Rooney now has five goals and two assists in eight matches this season.

New England Revolution 0-3 Montreal Impact

New England manager Brad Friedel would’ve been very happy with his goalkeeper and not much else, and then he would’ve changed his thoughts on Cody Cropper as well. Cropper was very busy against the Quebecois side well before 2017 Generation Adidas draft pick Shamit Shome scored his first MLS goal off a Cropper error.

Anthony Jackson-Hamel added an 85th minute goal to put the result to bed, and stroked a second in stoppage time to complete the score line.

New York City FC 1-0 Chicago Fire

A game with eight yellow cards saw just one goal, including a caution for goal scorer Valentin Castellanos. The Argentine midfielder slid onto a doorstep pass to complete a NYCFC counter attack in the win.

MLS early wrap: Sporting KC throttles Montreal; Revs, Fire win

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An early slate of Saturday matches which started with a one-goal snoozer ramped up to include an absolute onslaught of goals as Major League Soccer continued its match week following Friday’s Pozuelo show in Ontario.

[ MORE: What did we learn in the PL? ]


Sporting KC 7-1 Montreal Impact

Krisztian Nemeth scored a hat trick as Sporting KC completely dominated visiting Montreal at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday.

Johnny Russell scored two goals and added an assist, Felipe Gutierrez posted a goal and an assist, and Gerso Fernandes had a pair of assists in a win which puts the team at 2-1-1 on the young season.

Sixteen-year-old Gianluca Busio used the club’s sixth marker to record his second career MLS goal and first of the season. Saphir Taider struck in the 89th minute for Montreal’s only goal.

It was just… too… good from Peter Vermes’ men. The energy was enough even when the passes were a bit off, as Gerso showed this frightening burst of speed before putting the ball in the path of a sliding Nemeth for the game’s second goal.

New England Revolution 2-1 Minnesota United

Brad Friedel‘s Revs finally have a win, and it came after the ex-Blackburn goalkeeper called out his men for a lackluster performance in its third-straight loss last week.

Carles Gil, to no one’s surprise, was at the heart of the victory. Gil now has three goals and an assist through five MLS appearances after setting up Jalil Anibaba for the opener.

Brandon Bye scored New England’s other goal, while Darwin Quintero converted a penalty kick for the Loons’ marker.

Chicago Fire 1-0 New York Red Bulls

Chicago put just one shot on target in its first win of the season, and it wasn’t its goal; Tim Parker’s own goal was the only marker of a poor match in Bridgeview.