Former U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena is set to be named as the Los Angeles Galaxy's new head coach, multiple sources with knowledge of the agreement confirmed to ESPNsoccernet on Friday. The deal comes a week after former Galaxy manager Ruud Gullit resigned and Galaxy president Alexi Lalas was fired.
Arena met with AEG president Tim Leiweke on Thursday to discuss the state of the Galaxy as a club and Leiweke called Arena the best candidate for the job when asked about Arena during the ESPN broadcast of the Galaxy-Chivas USA game.
According to sources, Arena will bring in former Chicago Fire head coach Dave Sarachan to be his lead assistant. Sarachan was Arena's lead assistant at the 2002 World Cup and has been most recently working with U.S. Soccer in the player development field.
Arena's first game as Galaxy head coach is expected to be the team's Aug. 21 home game against the Chicago Fire. He will have the difficult task of straightening out a team that hasn't won a match since a June 14 victory against San Jose, a span of two months. Arena will try to help the Galaxy avoid missing the playoffs for the third straight season (No Arena-coached team has ever missed the MLS playoffs.)
Arena stated his desire to return to coaching back in May, when he revealed that he passed on a coaching opportunity last offseason.
Arena resigned as head coach of the New York Red Bulls last November after the Red Bulls were eliminated from the first round of the MLS playoffs for the second time under his watch. Sources in New York said Arena was forced out by Red Bulls management, which wasn't happy with the club's performance or with the direction of the team under Arena.
Arena enjoyed much more success in his first tenure in MLS, when he led D.C. United to back-to-back MLS titles in 1996 and 1997 before becoming the U.S. national team head coach. He helped lead the United States to a pair of World Cups, guiding the Americans to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals. He was let go after a disappointing showing in the 2006 World Cup and joined the Red Bulls soon after.