March 28, 2012
ARENA ON THE QUALIFYING LOSS
'We just can't look at one week in Nashville as a way of judging where we are'
By Michael Lewis
LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who guided the United States in the 1996 Olympics and the most successful soccer coach in the country's history, refused throw Under-23 coach Caleb Porter under the bus in the wake of the Americans' elimination from Olympic contention on Monday night.
The U.S. allowed El Salvador a stoppage-time goal to tie the game at 3-3 in the final Group A encounter, as the Central American side moved onto the semifinals while the U.S. was eliminated in the CONCACAF men's Olympic qualifying tournament.
"It's a result that no one wanted," Arena said during a phone interview from Los Angeles. "I think the world of Caleb Porter. I think he's got an outstanding future."
In fact, Arena refused to blame anyone.
"I think we don't have any fingers to point anywhere," he said. "Our team is probably for me, our 11 players are the best 11 in that group. It's unfortunate. We continue to make great progress on our young players in this country. I think the league has done wonders for those kind of players and I think we have a great future in the game. We continue to grow as a country. We just can't look at one week in Nashville, Tennessee as a way of judging where we are."
Arena has been successful at every level of the game, having directed the University of Virginia to five NCAA Division I championships, D.C. United to two MLS Cup titles and the Galaxy to another last year and the U.S. National Team to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals in the first of two terms as U.S. coach.