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A tip of the Easter cap to LA Galaxy’s Bruce Arena

Mar 31, 2013, 2:45 PM EDT

Los Angeles Galaxy v Seattle Sounders FC Getty Images

We really should tip an Easter cap to Bruce Arena. The Galaxy manager has his team in a good place at the moment, against the odds, it must be said.

The Galaxy was down three DPs to start yesterday’s contest in Canada, one that finished in a useful 2-2 draw with improving Toronto FC.

Robbie Keane is injured. David Beckham has yet to be replaced. (His midfield-ing or his modeling, I suppose.) And Landon Donovan got on the field for the final 30 minutes, but this was hardly the slashing, dashing, swashbuckling Donovan with which we are all so familiar. He’ll surely get there, but Donovan was quite tame in Toronto.

Past Omar Gonzalez there just are not a bunch of Galaxy starters out there that MLS coaches would come to blows over. Don’t misunderstand; there are a lot of good MLS starters, guys like Todd Dunivant, Juninho and Mike Magee. (What about that Mike Magee, anyway? A.k.a. Major League Soccer’s leading scorer with five goals this young season.) But these are not a bunch of league A-listers for which other teams would happily swap valuable assets.

(MORE: Thoughts and highlights on the Galaxy win in Canada)

The Galaxy are picking up points and progressing through CONCACAF Champions League through good choices with the ball, tight organization, hard work all over the field and opportunism near goal. (Did you see young Jose Villarreal’s stoppage-time equalizer? Boom!)

That’s not just about Arena’s daily training sessions, it is also about stacking the locker room with the right characters, about building the kind of roster that can weather a few storms.

Speaking of CONCACAF Champions League, it would have been so ridiculously easy for Arena’s men to be distracted yesterday at BMO Field. They meet Monterrey at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday, the first of the clubs’ Champions League semifinal series. Monterrey hosts the return leg a week later in Mexico.

But that was no distracted team Saturday. (Well, perhaps on one ridiculous moment, where the Galaxy gave away a first-half goal.) Otherwise, Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho generally overwhelmed the home team’s central midfield. Further up the field, the Galaxy outshot their hosts, 14-7.

No MLS manager has experienced as much success as Arena, who has four MLS Cup crowns (two with D.C. United back in the day, two with the Galaxy). And so far in 2013, no MLS manager has done more to be proud of, all things considered.

(MORE: Landon Donovan back on the field for LA Galaxy)

  1. billobrienschindimple - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    My apologies in advance, but this comment has nothing to do with the article.

    Where did the article in regards to the weekend review of the EPL? I glanced quickly at my NBC Talk app as I was driving cross state this morning and saw the article. Being a responsible adult I waited until I reached my destination to read it. Alas it has gone and a few other articles have popped up. What gives?

    Happy Easter

    • Steve Davis - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      First, you ARE a good and responsible adult … someone at which I will never need to honk and wave a shame finger and otherwise make a damn fool of myself while driving down the road. Thank you.

      Let’s call that a technical glitch … it was a Saturday post that needed to be updated rather than picked up and moved into Sunday by the naughty little tech gremlins. I’m gonna blame that bunch of cyber bullies now reigning havoc on our beloved internets out of Europe. It’s not true … but that’s who I’m blaming.

      • billobrienschindimple - Mar 31, 2013 at 5:27 PM

        Then I shall blame them as well. Thanks for the response. And you are kinder than I am to those who drive and text or read or watch movies.

  2. soccerkickin - Apr 1, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Bruce Arena has largely flown under the radar but he has arguably done as good a job coaching the Galaxy as has any coach in any sport these past few years. He has become the top coach in American soccer, probably history, and looking at the abundance of talented young Galaxy players coming up through the ranks they are poised to be a big factor for years to come – helped along in no small part by Bruce and his adept handling of the youngsters which has enabled them to step in and produce when called upon. Great team chemistry too starts with him and trickles down.

    • mvktr2 - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:58 PM

      If only MLS rules will evolve to allow more top talent to be retained (Gonzo) and more homegrown talent to ‘stay off the books’ as it were for say 6 years before they count toward the salary cap thus further incentivizing focus on development and rewarding those whom pursue it. MLS player development is the future of US Soccer in general.

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