"The key to being good in MLS is that your best players need to be your best players," Bruce Arena
I've heard this quote before, from Bruce himself. Allow me to let you in on a little secret of mine: I'm a professional ghostwriter. It all started when I watched one of the best television shows ever and I told myself that when I grow up I wanna be a ghostwriter too, but it's a little different than I imagined. I've helped to write a few memoirs of some not-so-influential people over the years, so it should be of no surprise to you, faithful readers, to discover that I was contracted to ghostwrite Bruce Arena's upcoming Memoirs, "Infallible: The Legend of Bruce Arena."
There have been a few phone conversations between myself and Mr. Arena over the past few months (the man doesn't really understand technology much and so emails and texts are out of the question). He knows I'm a Seattle Sounders fan. He treats me pretty coolly. I treat him like a child who's unwilling to learn that the stove is hot.
So both before and after Sunday's match between the Sounders and LA Galaxy, I called Bruce Arena. It was a big match. The Supporter's Shield was on the line. It was the final regular season match for Landon Donovan at the Stub-Hub Center (though not his last Galaxy match there, as he's still going to have at least one home game in the playoffs). It was the Robbie Keane versus Obafemi Martins for MVP show. Again, it was a big match.
Well, despite all the narratives, both national and #LegenD, what we witnessed in the first half was probably the best display of MLS soccer ever. Shame it had to end the way it did, with a late goal off a Seattle missed clearance. The fact that minutes into the second half nearly the same scenario played out resulting in a LA 2-0 lead really took the wind out of every Seattle fan's sails. It seemed like all those first round playoff matches we've endured over the years. 2-0 against the MLS Best Evar with 40 minutes to go. It didn't matter how invisible Keane or Donovan or Gyasi Zardes were, "Brucy Bruce got the magic touch," as the mercurial manager is apt to say when off the record.
But then Seattle did something nobody expected. They made LA Galaxy look flawed. In the broadcast someone pointed out that Seattle mentioned LA defends arrogantly. Arena has said to me before, "We're the Galaxy, what's the other team gonna do? Score goals against us?" Well, it took a while, but it took a wicked cross from DeAndre Yedlin and an MVP touch from Oba to set up the Clint Dempsey goal. Mere minutes later, Seattle broke on the counter and an MVP pass from Oba set up Lamar Neagle for the game's tying goal.
The Galaxy were rocked. Arena was fuming. Knowing him as well as I do, he would've sworn a lot and complained to the fourth referee that both goals were massively offside. Seattle marched into a place where they haven't gotten a result since 2009, a place that was celebratingly patting themselves and Donovan on the back, then they went down by two unlucky goals, believed in themselves, and struck back against a team that had scored twice as many goals as they had allowed. Then the Sounders put their boots against the collective throats of LA for the rest of the match, setting up one of the most highly anticipated regular season matches I've ever known MLS to have. It's pudding on the pie that one of those Best Players Arena likes to boast about will have to miss this coming Saturday's match.
So after the match, after I settled down so Bruce wouldn't hear the elation in my voice, I called him. He was inconsolable. He mentioned betrayal and cheating. I couldn't get anything usable from him for his memoirs, not then, so I let him go and worried for his mental health. On a whim, I checked twitter for his name, and wouldn't you know, the man has started up an account. Below are some of his choicest tweets.
I'm tstill bpissed about the game. It was supoposed to be Landon's farewell game and the referee and Cheattle Shitheads ruined it #LegenD— Bruce Arena (@brucearenaisgod) October 20, 2014
If the bad refreee Elfath gave Seattle all the red cards they desarved, they wouldve had to forfeit both this paste game and next weekends.— Bruce Arena (@brucearenaisgod) October 20, 2014
I hope MLS DIsiplinary Comitty (sp?) looks at how cheaty Seattle was and red cards the hole team!— Bruce Arena (@brucearenaisgod) October 20, 2014
Then he proceeded to offer insight into the LA Galaxy Front Office's handling of Landon Donovan's farewell (but not quite) game.
the only thing that wouldve mad last nights #LegenD game better is if we won, which we didnt cuz of bad referee Elfath.— Bruce Arena (@brucearenaisgod) October 20, 2014
also anther thing that wouldve made late nights #LegenD game better is if Boyz II Men sung the national anthem. Their Landon's fav band.— Bruce Arena (@brucearenaisgod) October 20, 2014
i aslo think the painting GAlaxy prez chris klein gave to #LegenD shouldve had me in it. maybe with landon in it to.— Bruce Arena (@brucearenaisgod) October 20, 2014
I actually agree with Brucy Bruce on that last one. That painting was pretty silly. So silly, in fact, that I've decided to dust off my Art History undergraduate degree and give making Landon an homage painting a shot. Here's my effort.
So there you have it. You're in on my secret. I'll have to contact Bruce at some point this week to get his thoughts, but only after he cools down. As a nifty result from not having to talk to Bruce Sunday night after the game, I had time to contact Boyz II Men to get their opinion on how the Landon Donovan tribute went.
"Which one is Landon Donovan again?" - Boyz II Men
You had me at 'GIF'
This pregame lovefest is dreadful.
Yay! Zach Scott is back!
This first half, man.
Making these clearance mistakes is playing with fire.
Well this nosedived pretty fast.
Stand tall as a team, Seattle.
C’mon Sounders, we just need one bit of skill to make their house collapse.
Good thing Captain Clint knows how to put out those clearance fires.
Wooo! A Real Captain America goal!
What an assist by Oba.
And a Neagoal to tie it up?!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, nothing phases Oba.
You were flying a little too close to the Sun, Galaxy.
MVKeane sure had an impactful game.
Not so incredible now, are you Galaxy?
Sounders sure did shake up that Landon narrative.
We’ll gladly take that point.
Time to take this party to Seattle.