Curt Onalfo

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Bruce Arena builds front office staff as Onalfo joins Revolution

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The New England Revolution announced on Sunday that the club hired Curt Onalfo as technical director, with Richie Williams brought on as assistant coach.

Onalfo, a 49-year-old Sao Paulo, Brazil native, has been a coach in the United States since 2000 when he joined D.C. United as an assistant. Since, he has spent time with Sporting Kansas City, the LA Galaxy and the U.S. Youth National Team, leading both MLS clubs for a time and taking charge of the U.S. U-20 and U-23 sides. He will report directly to Bruce Arena, who was named Sporting Director and Head Coach on May 14.

Arena is familiar with Onalfo from his first stint with the USMNT and more recently with the Galaxy, where Onalfo served as an assistant until Arena left to take the USMNT job in late 2016 and Onalfo was named his successor. Most recently, Onalfo was out in Poland with Tab Ramos and the U-20 side at the World Cup.

“I am very pleased to add Curt to our technical staff as we continue to build the soccer organization in New England,” Arena said in the official club release. “Having worked with Curt for many years, I know his vast knowledge and experience in the game will make him an immediate asset to the club.”

Williams, meanwhile, left his job as head coach of USL club Loudoun United FC to take the position with the Revolution. He has previously been with Arena as an assistant with the USMNT during Arena’s second stint and with the New York Red Bulls before that. During his playing days, Williams made 20 appearances for the USMNT and played for Arena with D.C. United and the national team, and even as far back as in college at Virginia, where Arena spent 27 years as head coach.

“Richie and I have a relationship that dates back nearly 30 years, and I have the utmost confidence that he will bring the same energy, enthusiasm, and expertise of the game to the Revolution that he has throughout each stop of his coaching and playing career,” Arena said in the release.

We’ll always have the video: Van Damme suspension remains after MLS review

AP Photo/Reed Saxon
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Dives from David Guzman and Diego Chara gave us a hilarious video, some heat for the LA Galaxy media team, and Jelle van Damme a red card, but the league repercussions will be minimal for the Timbers pair.

Van Damme’s suspension remains for his pair of yellows against Portland, although Chara has been fined for embellishing before the first offense — given to Van Damme for dissent toward Toledo — and Guzman hurt his ankle doing the same on the second.

[ MORE: Boro, Karanka part ways ]

If you think that doesn’t make much sense, you have company in Galaxy coach Curt Onalfo.

From LAGalaxy.com:

“It was clear that he didn’t make contact with either of them,” Onalfo told reporters. “It’s unfortunate, but he didn’t make contact. It was crystal clear on the replay, but it’s unfortunate.”

The only argument for punishment is to stand with referee Baldomero Toledo’s post-match account that Van Damme’s tackle interfered with the flow of play even if he didn’t make contact with Guzman (an argument that is pretty self-protective from a longtime MLS ref).

We can’t help but look at the photo above and think Toledo had a bit of ire in his mind for Van Damme. Shoulder-shrug emoji, we guess.

ESPN writer says Curt Onalfo no longer a Chivas USA candidate

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ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reported today (via Twitter) that LA Galaxy assistant Curt Onalfo has removed himself from consideration for the vacant Chivas USA post.

One word: smart.

The Goats job is a meat grinder; one of the best coaches in American soccer, Bob Bradley, could do no better than a playoff appearance with Chivas USA, an organization still looking for its first post-season advancement.

Most haven’t been able to do that much.

Onalfo had a failed coaching run at Sporting Kansas City and then had one cut too short at D.C. United (where upper management, certain that the talent they selected could not be the issue, gave him just more than half a season). So, if Onalfo gets another shot at MLS coaching, he absolutely has to get it right.

But there is so very little “right” about Chivas USA. (This is where I always add the apology to the good, sweet, clean Chivas USA supporters; hang tough, guys.)

Before Caleb Porter was official the “next big thing,” he was the emerging “next big thing” while building the Akron legacy. Porter interviewed for the D.C. United position in December of 2009 – but then withdrew his name from consideration.

I wrote at the time what a smart move that was, that Porter would get his chance, and he could do so without getting into the organizational mess at D.C. United. I wrote about how smart that was.

Two weeks later, United hired Onalfo. And we know how that worked out.

U.S. Open Cup preparation: While Portland’s Porter expects a win, Galaxy’s Arena is staying home

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PORTLAND, Ore. — They sound like famous last words, but give Caleb Porter credit: He’s not being ambiguous about his commitment to U.S. Open Cup. He’s practically guaranteeing a win tonight against their third-division guests, saying an upset like those seen on Tuesday will not happen on “our watch.”

At the other end of the spectrum, the LA Galaxy appear to not only be up to their old ways; their actually upping their level of ambivalence toward the competition.

Let’s start in Cary, N.C., where Curt Onalfo, LA’s reserve team coach, will be running the show tonight against the Carolina RailHawks.

You read that right. Bruce Arena elected to stay in Southern California, practically thumbing his nose at a cross-country assignment he was none too pleased about drawing. Associate head coach Dave Sarachan also remained in California as the team prepares for a Sunday match against New England (and seriously: Why do the Galaxy always play on Sunday?).

According to Galaxy reporter Adam Serrano, “the team that will take on RailHawks is much like those Reserve League squads” Onalfo’s used to coaching.

Boy, the Galaxy sure are taking this competition seriously, right?

As we talked about in the previous post, there are legitimate reasons for teams to rotate their squad. Cross-country trip, short turnaround, lower-division opposition – LA’s match has it all. It’s hard to blame them for leaning on a deep and talented group of kids to get them through this round.

At the same time, Bruce Arena couldn’t at least make an appearance? Well, the next time you hear somebody say Arena doesn’t care about these competitions, you can counter Galaxy’s Champions League semifinal appearance with this U.S.O.C. nugget. Then you can backtrack through a history that includes a U.S. Open Cup triumph (1996) along with a somewhat embarrassing Champions League exit in 2012 to a Toronto FC team that went on to set an MLS record for season-starting futility.

Contrast Arena’s approach with Caleb Porter’s, who said a San Jose/Colorado-esque upset tonight at JELD-WEN is “not going to happen on our watch.”

It’s big talk from a man coaching a Portland Timber team that lost to amateur club Cal FC in last year’s Open Cup. Not that anybody’s confusing these Timbers with John Spencer’s lot.

Porter’s still going to rotate his team. He’s said he’ll select starters but mitigated that by saying he has up to 16 starting-caliber players in his squad.

Regardless, the expectation is there in Portland, who face USL PRO’s Wilmington Hammerheads tonight. Porter’s putting himself front-and-center, ready to hold his team accountable.

Bruce Arena? The exact opposite.