NEW YORK – There's no one greater than Bruce Arena as far as MLS managers go and he has the silverware to back it up.
MLS announced on Monday that Arena was voted the 2011 MLS Coach of the Year, giving him the honor of being the first person to win the award three times (1997, 2009, 2011) with his first one coming 14 years ago. Seattle Sounders manager Sigi Schmid finished second while Sporting Kansas City’s Peter Vermes came in third.
In his third full season as LA head coach, Arena led the Galaxy to one of the best regular seasons in MLS history, capturing the Supporter’s Shield for the second-consecutive season and recording the second-best point total (67, 19-5-10) since the league’s inaugural year in 1996. As importantly, the Galaxy will also appear in MLS Cup 2011 against the Houston Dynamo on November 20 at the Home Depot Center (9 p.m. ET, ESPN, Galavision, TSN2), where LA has yet to lose this season.
The Galaxy ran away with the Supporter’s Shield behind the consistent and stingy play of MLS’ best defense. Arena’s men had 17 shutouts in 34 games, tying the all-time record set by Kansas City in 2000, and allowed the fewest goals in the league (28). They had the best goal differential in MLS (+20), while also registering the third-best goals against average (0.82) in league history.
In addition to dominating the regular season, Arena guided his team to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League, where they will face Toronto FC in a home-and-home series in March. Since LA hired Arena in August 2008 following a two-year stint with the New York Red Bulls, the Galaxy have compiled a 51-23-30 record in 104 regular season games with two Supporters' Shields and two MLS Cup final appearances.
Voting was conducted among MLS club management, media, and players based on regular season performance. Arena collected the majority of the vote in each category to succeed FC Dallas’ Schellas Hyndman, who won the award in 2010.