Cristian Penilla and Teal Bunbury each scored a goal to give head coach Bruce Arena his first victory with his new club as the visiting New England Revolution held on for a 2-1 victory Sunday over the LA Galaxy.
The Galaxy got a spectacular bicycle-kick goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 84th minute, his 11th of the season, but LA could not complete the comeback. The Galaxy’s Diego Polenta nearly scored in the closing seconds, hitting hit the crossbar on a long-distance shot.
Arena, who took over as New England head coach and general manager on May 14, delayed his move to the bench as interim coach Mike Lapper ran the team. His debut on the sideline coincided with his team’s visit to a venue he knows well.
Arena guided the Galaxy to three MLS Cup titles during his tenure from 2008-16, leaving to take over the U.S. Men’s National Team in its failed bid for a 2018 World Cup berth.
The Revolution defense has now held its opponents to just three goals in their last four games, all after former head coach Brad Friedel was fired. In Friedel’s last two games with the Revolution, they were outscored 11-1.
The Galaxy lost their third consecutive home game, getting outscored 5-1 in those contests.
Penilla scored his third goal of the season just before halftime. He received a pass from Carles Gil just outside the penalty area to the left of goal, moved in unmarked and blasted a shot through goalkeeper David Bingham‘s attempted save from a sharp angle for a 1-0 lead.
Bunbury extended the advantage to 2-0 in the 60th minute. His first goal of the season came after he took a pass from Gil at the top of the penalty area and chipped a shot over the approaching Bingham.
While the victory was the first for Arena with the Revolution, he how has 203 victories in his career as an MLS head coach and is one of just two head coaches in league history (Sigi Schmid is the other) to amass at least 200 victories.