'We're fighting for our lives' - US coach Bruce Arena


November 30, 2016
Bruce Arena, back in charge of the US national soccer team for the first time in a decade, speaks during an interview in New York, Tuesday, November 29. Arena was hired last week to replace Jurgen Klinsmann. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

• US coach Bruce Arena


Back in charge of the US national soccer team for the first time in a decade, Bruce Arena views the Americans' state as urgent following losses in the first two games of the final round of World Cup qualifying.

Arena, 65, coached the Americans between 1998 and 2006 and has the most wins in team history.

He led the Americans to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals, their best finish since the first tournament in 1930, then was fired after a first-round elimination in 2006.

He took over from Klinsmann last week following a 2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 rout at Costa Rica.

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"We're fighting for our lives starting March 24. We're behind the eight ball," he said.

His analysis of the last two matches was blunt.

"Mexico certainly came out and took control of the game early, and I don't think that should happen at home," he said. "I think the game in Costa Rica was not good from start to finish."

Arena displayed a binder with 48 players arrayed in a depth chart, but he didn't allow reporters to get close enough to view the names.

He'll be on the field with some of them starting around January 8 at a training camp in Carson, California, followed by a pair of exhibition games.

Qualifying resumes March 24 with a home game against Honduras, followed four days later by a match at Panama.

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