With Bruce Arena suspended, LA Galaxy turn to Dave Sarachan to steer the ship
CARSON, Calif. – Bruce Arena is going to have to watch this weekend's SuperClasico from a luxury suite after he was slapped Friday with a suspension, and the LA Galaxy are going to miss him. Sort of.
Associate head coach Dave Sarachan will be in charge Sunday afternoon when the Galaxy face Chivas USA at StubHub Center (5 pm ET; UniMas), but they're adamant it shouldn't make a difference on the field.
“We ideally would like to have our leader on the sideline,” Landon Donovan said after Friday morning's training session at StubHub. “In a perfect world, he's there, but people have reasons for making those decisions. It's the way it goes, so we've got to deal with it.”
Arena received a one-game ban from the MLS Disciplinary Committee for leaving the technical area and stepping onto the field while arguing with the officials after Robbie Keane's apparent tying goal last weekend at Portland was waved off by an offside flag. He didn't really want to discuss it.
“I really have no comments on that,” Arena said. “I'm gonna save that for my book. And if you guys want to take any orders now, it's cash only. ... Really, best thing is to say, 'No comment,' at this point. You guys should probably look at it yourselves and make your own decisions.”
Keane, who had headed home a Donovan free kick but was, video replays confirmed, offside on the goal, says he didn't know there was an issue with Arena's behavior, not that he should have.
“Some of the decisions are crazy sometimes,” Keane said. “I don't even get involved. I don't even look at them because I get frustrated and annoyed sometimes. You're better off not even worrying about them.”
Arena said there would be “a time and place for me to discuss that with the right people. My view [is] these things are never personal, they shouldn't be. Just a matter of talking – listen, to the letter of the law, who can argue? I'll leave it at that.”
The Galaxy didn't agree with the sanction, but they weren't going to fret about it.
“It's in the eye of the beholder where the red line is in terms of these kinds of calls from the league,” Arena said. “Obviously, they saw something that we didn't think was too egregious, but I guess they felt a little differently. You accept it and move on. There's no changing it.”
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Arena, who won't be allowed on the sidelines nor in the locker room before and during the game, last missed an MLS game in August 2010, after he contracted dengue fever during a CONCACAF Champions League trip to Puerto Rico. LA won, 1-0, at New York with Sarachan running the team.
Sarachan, who was the Chicago Fire's head coach for four-and-a-half years through mid-2007, a tenure during which he won a US Open Cup and a Supporters’ Shield, says it doesn't matter who's in charge.
“The work's been done this week,” he said. “I think we make too big a deal out of this stuff sometimes, with who's on the sidelines. It's not like in basketball, where plays are being called out every three minutes, two minutes, one minute. It's a whole different animal. ... Our guys, you could have anybody standing on the sidelines.”