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Arena tears into MLS hierarchy in must-read Washington Post interview

Aug 25, 2014, 8:32 PM EDT

Manchester United v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

Washington Post writer Steven Goff got blood and guts from Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena in an interview published Monday.

Those wondering how Arena felt about losing out on a deal to acquire Anderlecht playmaker Sacha Kljestan will have no doubts following his vitriol-laced reply to Goff’s questions.

[ MORE: US star Geoff Cameron highly-sought by Premier League, Serie A clubs ]

Enough from us, though, here’s Bruce.

From The Washington Post’s Soccer Insider blog:

What happened with the possible Kljestan deal from Anderlecht? You seemed all set to sign him.

“We had a trade in place. We had budget room and space to be able to do it. We had all of our ducks in a row. We were positioned to sign a player. I won’t go into detail and just say forces within the league worked real hard to make sure that didn’t happen.”


“Because they are children and there have to be adults in the process, and we didn’t have enough of them. I think we are back into the old days in the league when the rules are somewhat arbitrary. Hopefully we will get that straightened out in the offseason.”

You traded defender Kofi Opare to D.C. for a high position in the allocation order with the intent to sign Kljestan, right?

“We were going to add a player.”

And boom goes the dynamite.

Arena is angry, and it makes sense. The league’s rules have been a little, well, difficult to understand. Some would say they play loose with them. And if you want to read Arena’s thoughts on Jermaine Jones ending up in New England instead of his reportedly-preferred destination of Chicago, you should definitely head inside.

  1. nottinghamforest13 - Aug 25, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    As long as bizarre rules like these exist, thr MLS cannot be taken seriously as a league.

  2. rphillish - Aug 25, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    As much as I respect Arena, and agree with what he said in the interview, it’s worth pointing out that the league has bent over backwards several times for LA over the last 20 years. I think everyone excepted playing fast and loose with the rules in the past because it was being done for the good of the league, but now that the league is safe the act of bending rules itself is hurting the league. Maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the league to sit down, hammer out some set protocols, and follow them going forward.

    • mlsconvert88888 - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      And be transparent about what those protocols are!

  3. vdstrading - Aug 25, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    I love the way Bruce correctly continues to hammer Klinsmann (“I thought our team in 2002 played pretty well…”). Most of the press and fans who don’t know any better are enamored with JK…fact is, the guy is a politician, a narcissist, and an extremely average coach. He loves to hear himself talk, but at the end of the day, he didn’t bring the most experienced US player (LD, who clearly had something left) and didn’t bring a replacement for Jozy, which made 3 different players play out of position over the final 3 1/2 games. He also only started the same back 4 together in 2 games prior to the WC and played multiple guys out of position (Geoff Cameron, DeMarcus Beasely). His personal grudges, indecisiveness, and lack of a contingency plan cost the US dearly. And when the chips were down, JK reverted back to the “pack-it-in” philosophy against Germany and Belgium that he railed on and swore he would never use. Complete dbag, who makes the team and the quality of our players look worse than they actually are.

    • lyleoross - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      Wow! If only we had known that JK was a dbag. We could have replaced him with Arena who would have brought LD and we’d have won the whole thing! Well, maybe in Russia; LD will only be, well, older and more petulant than he currently is.

      • dws110 - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        If being a D-bag disqualifies you, then Arena is out.

      • lyleoross - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        Correct. BTW – for a D-bag, JK has been remarkably professional about LD. While LD was undermining JK and hoping the MNT lost, JK was speaking politely about LD.

  4. rjbailey - Aug 26, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    Reblogged this on Locating Frankenstein's Brain.

  5. jweathermanjr - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    This is such sour grapes. If LA had the top allocation slot and were blocked from adding Kljestan, that would be one thing. Fact is, Columbus had every right to take Sasha ahead of LA due to having a better allocation order slot. Just because he doesn’t want to play in Columbus isn’t the league’s fault.

    If Bruce should be mad at anyone, it should be Diskerud’s father, who supposedly blew up Mix going to the Crew and caused this situation.

  6. christophershearin - Aug 26, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    allocation is the dumbest thing in the world, there should be no MLS draft. Players should be signed at any time, and traded / sold on the open market. If we continue down this path, we are going to lose out on a lot of big names would would like to ply their trade in the US

    • talgrath - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      The restrictions are in place because the league (and many teams) are still in the red. If we open it to the open market then the league basically becomes LA, NY (maybe), Seattle and then everyone else and that’s even assuming that such an idea doesn’t completely sink the league. Better, more transparent systems should be in place, but let’s not blow it all up.

  7. schmutzdeck - Aug 26, 2014 at 12:04 PM


    “swore he would never use.” Care to show us the quote on that?

    I saw the 2002 team play, a great team, and I would say that Arena’s comments are more than a little self-serving.

    I’m not so sure the 2002 team would have done as well against the kind of opposition the 2014 team faced.

    This is a man who expected to get a job in Europe after the 2002 success and got zilch, so forgive me if it seems like Arena always has an axe to grind.

  8. mazblast - Aug 28, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    Poor Brucie. The league magically lets LA have everything its way for years, then when it starts interpreting the rules in a way other than “Whatever the Galaxy want, the Galaxy gets”, he gets all bent out of shape.

    I agree that the league interprets its rules in a capricious and arbitrary manner. However, when you’ve been on the good end of those rulings, don’t start whining when it turns the other way. Be a man about it.

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