Post-Match Quotes from U.S. vs. Mexico
MEXICO CITY (Sunday, July 1, 2001) - Arena: "I congratulate Mexico. They played hard today. I thought the difference in the game was that they played harder in the first half. They won a lot of second balls, and we conceded a foolish goal..."
July 1, 2001
BRUCE ARENA, U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach
Opening Comments: "I congratulate Mexico. They played hard today. I thought the difference in the game was that they played harder in the first half. They won a lot of second balls, and we conceded a foolish goal. It was a poor decision by our back line to try and pull up. The one guy we said could probably score a goal was open in the front of the net, so really a poor effort on our part. I was pleased with our performance in the second half. I think we did a better job. Neither team played very well today. It was a scrappy game. The passing by either side wasn't very good, and the one goal stood up."
On how today's result affects the Hexagonal: "Mexico stays alive obviously with the win. They're still sitting in fourth place, and it will be difficult. It will be much more competitive. Obviously Mexico needed the win today. They now have a chance to try and qualify for 2002."
On whether the United States played too defensively in the match: " I don't think we played well in the first half. I was very disappointed in our performance. I thought in the second half we picked it up. When you play as poor as we did in the first half and can't keep the ball, you are forced to defend."
On why he thought the team performed poorly: "Obviously we expected Mexico to come out in the early going and play strong. We would have been happy to withstand some of that pressure. But giving up the early goal hurt us."
On the absence of Reyna: "Certainly we were missing some quality players but that's all part of it. We're going to miss others as we continue to move forward.
"I don't think either team was very good in the attacking end of the field today. Where Mexico won the battle was in the midfield. They were much stronger on the ball, winning tackles and getting a foot in all day. I think that was the difference in the game."
On whether this was the USA's worst performance during his tenure: "No, we didn't play bad. This was a difficult game today. We've obviously played better, but this wasn't a poor effort on our part."
On what he said to the team at halftime: "It's very similar to what I've said so far. We didn't put in the physical effort we needed to in the first half. I think it got better in the second half."
On the effect of the altitude on the team's performance: "I'm sure altitude had a little something to do with it, but I don't attribute the loss of the game to the altitude. I attribute it to the foolish play we made in conceding the goal."
JOE-MAX MOORE, U.S. Men's National Team Midfielder/Forward
On the team's poor play in the midfield: "I don't know what it was. It was just a lack of confidence on the ball. We just seemed to be giving it up every second or third pass. We never held it well enough to get forward. The second half we did a little bit better job of holding the ball. In the first half, the first 15 minutes we were a little bit taken back by the fact they had so much possession. We were playing too much defense to be able to create."
On whether this was the USA's worst performance in recent memory: "No, I wouldn't say that. Certainly in the final round of qualifying it's the case. But it's never easy coming down here and holding the ball and keeping possession."
COBI JONES, U.S. Men's National Team Midfielder
On the play of Mexico: "I think they're a very good team. Sometimes all you need is a change to get better results. They worked hard and got the result that they needed."
On the poor performance in the first half: "I just think we had a hard time communicating with each other out on the field. Everyone was playing on different pages, and we weren't organized as players on the field. You can have all the organization you want beforehand, but once you get on the field you have to be organized together as a team."
EARNIE STEWART, U.S. Men's National Team Midfielder
On today's match: "Mexico has a good group. They came out hard, and we gave a crappy goal away. We wanted to get past the first 25 or 30 minutes, but give them credit because they came out hard. We had difficulties finding each other because we couldn't speak with each other. It was just a hostile environment. On the other hand, you have to get through that way sooner, and not just 25 minutes before the end when we started to find each other. That's too late."
JEFF AGOOS, U.S. Men's National Team Defender
On the team's play: "I think defensively we tried to do as much as we could. We needed to be a bit more dangerous. We stepped out on the field with the wrong mentality. We just didn't play for a good 30-40 minutes. I think at 0-1 down we still had a chance to come back, and we didn't do the job in the second half. In the first half we just didn't connect. There was no rhythm. There was no connection between players. For the first 45 minutes we just weren't good as a team."
On what the coach said at halftime: "He said we needed to push harder. We needed to win all of the 50-50 battles. In the first half I don't think we won one 50-50 ball or one second ball. We just came out sluggish. We came out with the wrong attitude."
On who was Mexico's most dangerous player today: "I think we were Mexico's most dangerous player. I think Mexico did well today. I don't think we deserved to win today, but outside of one play we did what we had to do to come in here and try to steal a point. I think today we were our own worst enemy."