Bruce Arena spoke to Steven Goff of the Washington Post, mostly about the transfer window and how everything shook down. My take on the Jermaine Jones situation this afternoon was much more sunshine and rainbows, but the Galaxy manager wasn't nearly as positive about how things worked out. As to those forces inside the league and why they did what they did:
"Because they are children and there have to be adults in the process, and we didn’t have enough of them. I think we are back into the old days in the league when the rules are somewhat arbitrary. Hopefully we will get that straightened out in the offseason."
As to how far the discussions went, Arena told Goff that the team had a trade in place. It reads as if that was a separate trade from the Kofi Opare deal, probably with either Dallas or Columbus to move up even further on the allocation list. It appears everything was in place, but that a bit of owner conspiracy caused it to fall apart.
It's interesting to see this difference between the owners paying for players and the managers who have to put a roster together. The Chicago Fire were almost conciliatory in their statement on missing out in the Jermaine Jones transfer, while we get this frustration from Arena.
It reminds me of the conflicts between the chairman and Brian Clough in The Damned United, one of my favorite books/movies. From Clough's perspective, he was hired to win and to win he needed the best players; whoever was in his way would be steamrolled. The chairman's perspective was different. He signed the checks, and was extremely unhappy at the transfer fees Clough was agreeing to. The manager, ultimately, became expendable.
"This is all attributed to ownership; it’s not attributed to the commissioner or the people in that [New York] office. It may not be fully supported by ownership, but there is a participation level by ownership that says: ‘This is the way we want to do things."
Ultimately, the Commissioner serves at the pleasure of the owners, as Bruce Arena serves at the pleasure of AEG. The system MLS has is what they wanted. The way MLS does things is probably even more liberal than what the owners wanted considering they had to agree to a collective bargaining agreement with the players.
Blind draws and acquisition thwarting forces. This is what the money wants.