Photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports
By CARL SETTERLUND
The spat between LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena and Major League Soccer headquarters has reached new heights.
According to a report by SI.com, MLS commissioner Don Garber intends to hand down “a major fine” to Arena over comments he made in August regarding the MLS single-entity structure.
“Bruce has the opportunity to be our Tom Landry, our Pat Riley, and he continually puts himself in a position where he acts unprofessionally and he emotionally misstates the facts,” Garber told SI.com.
The four-time MLS Cup champion Arena is one of the most recognizable coaches in the league and has the outspoken personality to match. He expressed displeasure in a Washington Post interview in late August after Arena felt the LA Galaxy’s attempt to acquire Sacha Kljestan was blocked.
“They are children and there have to be adults in the process, and we didn’t have enough of them,” Arena said in August. “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.”
The Galaxy had traded defender Kofi Opare — admittedly, not a franchise-altering move — to D.C. United in order to move up in the allocation order to acquire Kljestan.
“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,” Arena said. “I won’t go into detail and just say forces within the league worked real hard to make sure that didn’t happen.”
In the same interview, Arena expressed that ownership is as culpable as the league offices for the current player acquisition rules, or lack thereof. He also said “there are still a lot of clouds there” in reference to the blind draw that decided the destination of Jermaine Jones.
Garber has been equally candid in response.
“In the case of Sacha Kljestan, he wanted to come to MLS and play for six months and live in Los Angeles so that he could then go back to Anderlecht,” Garber said to SI.com. “We are not going to sign a six-month contract with any player, whether Bruce Arena wants us to or not. His comments were false and inappropriate and will be dealt with … It will be a major fine.”
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