- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 23, 2008

A NEW ARENA

After 10 months away from coaching, Bruce Arena returned to the sideline Thursday as the new coach and general manager of the Los Angeles Galaxy. Arena will be charged with developing a strong supporting cast for stars David Beckham and Landon Donovan to turn the club into a winner. While Arena has had some great club coaching success with D.C. United, recent history shows his best coaching days may be behind him. Drew Hansen takes a look at Arena’s career.

University of Virginia (1978-1995) - Arena took over as full-time soccer coach in 1985 after splitting his time as a lacrosse assistant for the Cavaliers. He led Virginia to five national titles and 295 victories, developing some of the finest American players of all-time in Claudio Reyna, Jeff Agoos and John Harkes.

D.C. United (1996-98) - Arena became the first United coach upon the creation of MLS in 1996. The club claimed the first American cup double that year by winning the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup. Arena guided United to another MLS title the following year and, in 1998, United became the first American club to claim the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup. In his time in the District, Arena relied on a nucleus of former Virginia players in Harkes, Agoos and Ben Olsen along with Bolivian talents Marco Etcheverry and Jaime Moreno.

U.S. men’s national team (1998-2006) - After a disastrous 1998 World Cup for the Americans, Arena stepped in and made the United States a tough international squad that even reached No. 4 in the FIFA rankings. The U.S. team reached the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup with a 2-0 win over Mexico in a match in which Arena shrewdly switched his team’s formation. In the 2006 World Cup, however, Arena failed to get the United States into the second round and drew criticism for deploying players out of position and for refusing to use aggressive formations in must-win situations. Arena’s contract was not renewed following a 0-1-2 showing in the Cup.



New York Red Bulls (2006-07) - With a solid pair of forwards in Juan Pablo Angel and Jozy Altidore and an aging, injured Reyna in the midfield, the Red Bulls struggled to a 16-16-10 record under Arena. Much like his current Galaxy squad, the team didn’t have much of a back line and the offense couldn’t keep up with all the goals the defense conceded. Arena and the club mutually parted ways at the end of the 2007 season.

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK

Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor vs. Manchester City

The 21-year-old English forward recorded a hat trick during a seven-minute stretch in Villa’s 4-2 season-opening win over Manchester City in the Premier League opener for both teams. Showing off his exceptional pace and versatility, Agbonlahor scored with his right foot, left foot and with his head to take hold of the early league scoring lead.

MATCHES TO WATCH

Sunderland at Tottenham Saturday, 10 a.m., FSC

Both clubs made many changes in the offseason and the Black Cats continue to do so by bringing in strikers David Healy and Djibril Cisse this week. Both squads look to rebound from opening-week losses.

New England at Toronto FC Saturday, 7:30 p.m., FSC

Life without Maurice Edu begins for spiraling Toronto, which hosts the league-leading Revolution at BMO Field. Michael Parkhurst and Marvell Wynne of New England and Toronto, respectively, make their returns from U.S. Olympic duty.

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