The United States men's national team has a new manager, and he's a familiar face. Bruce Arena is back for his second go-round with the USMNT following Jurgen Klinsmann's dismissal. Many believe that Arena's appointment is the right choice. Looking at his track record with the Americans, it's hard to disagree. Here's a look at the highlights from Arena's first stint with the USMNT.
October, 1998 — Bruce Arena hired to replace Steve Sampson
Following a diaster in the 1998 World Cup, then-manager Sampson resigned. On the heels of success with both D.C. United and the University of Virginia, Arena came in to stop the rot. With a championship pedigree, hopes were high with Arena's appointment.
February, 1999 — Arena earns first win
Arena's first two matches ended in 0-0 draws in friendlies against Australia and Bolivia. With those out of the way, though, Arena finally got his first win early in 1999. It was a doozy, coming against European champions Germany. The U.S. exploded for 3 goals in 11 minutes to give Arena his first win as the United States' manager.
August 1999 — Bronze at the Confederations Cup
The U.S. didn't qualify for the two previous editions of the Confederations Cup, but 1999 under Arena marked their return. Hosted in Mexico, the U.S. would finish with the bronze medal after losing to the hosts in the semifinals. They beat Saudi Arabia to claim the bronze.
October 2001 — U.S. qualifies for 2002 World Cup at home
The U.S. qualified for the 2002 World Cup in October with a 2-1 win against Jamaica. The win marked the first time the United States had qualified for a World Cup in a home qualifier. Joe-Max Moore's brace proved to be the difference in the match, and Arena had punched his first World Cup ticket.
February 2002 — First Gold Cup trophy
Arena was brought in to instill a championship mentality, and he did just that. The United States started 2002 with a title in the Gold Cup, beating Costa Rica in the final. As hosts of the tournament, the USMNT allowed just one goal in regulation en route to their championship, one they hadn't owned since 1991.
June 2002 — Run to the World Cup quarters
The 2002 World Cup remains the high-water mark for the USMNT. Following up on their Gold Cup win earlier in the year, the U.S. marched all the way to the World Cup quarterfinals. Germany knocked the Americans out, but they beat Portugal and Mexico to get there and out-played Germany for long stretches in that quarterfinal. It was the furthest the U.S. had gotten since 1930. That World Cup set the expectations for a new generation of American soccer fans ... perhaps even to the team's detriment.
2004 — U.S. nearly goes undefeated
The United States wrapped up 2004 with an 8-1-6 record, with the lone loss coming early in the year in an away game against the Netherlands. Thirteen games undefeated was a new record for the Americans.
July 2005 — Another Gold Cup triumph
Arena added to his trophy case with another Gold Cup victory in summer 2005. The Americans outlasted upstart Panama to win in a penalty shootout and claim their third Gold Cup title.
September 2005 — U.S. beats Mexico to clinch World Cup berth
For the first time in 71 years, the United States qualified for the World Cup as the top team out of CONCACAF. Beating their bitter rivals, Mexico, to achieve that feat made it that much sweeter. They beat El Tri to the tune of 2-0 in Columbus, Ohio ... a scoreline that was growing in infamy.
June 2006 — Crashing out of the World Cup
In spite of all the positive momentum leading up to the World Cup in Germany, the United States flamed out in the "Group of Death." Still, the U.S. achieved their highest ever FIFA ranking prior to the tournament, reaching No. 4 on FIFA's list in April 2006. The World Cup failure saw Bruce Arena's first tenure end, and the beginning of the Bob Bradley era.