Some may argue that the deck was always stacked in Bruce Arena's favor. Apparently, Major League Soccer's postseason awards voters were willing to look past that, as they named Arena the 2011 Coach of the Year.
It's hard not to see the logic. Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy team may have come into the season as the Supporters' Shield favorite, but Arena deserves credit for never letting expectations overtake his players. The Galaxy were the league's best team almost wire-to-wire and compiled 67 points, one of the highest total in MLS history. They managed to do that while losing numerous players to international duty, something the New York Red Bulls claimed destroyed their season, and despite playing in CONCACAF Champions League, which seemed to decimate the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas.
The vote was reasonably close, but Arena beat Sounders coach Sigi Schmid and Sporting Kansas City's Peter Vermes by a pretty wide margin, all things considered. Arena won all three voting blocs, with only the media vote (31.9-27.5) being particularly close.
This was Arena's third Coach of the Year award (1997, 2009), putting him one ahead of Schmid on the all-time list.