Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. Men vs. Cuba
FOXBORO, Mass. (Saturday, July 19, 2003) — U.S. forward Landon Donovan unloaded for four goals and Eddie Lewis delivered three assists as the U.S. pounded Cuba 5-0 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. Extending its unbeaten run to 11 matches in Gold Cup play, the USA advanced to the semifinal round where they will face either Colombia or Brazil on July 23 at 8 p.m. ET in Miami.
July 19, 2003
U.S. Manager BRUCE ARENA
“Obviously we’re very pleased with the result today. “Getting the early goal was a big part of the game, because I thought Cuba did a good job in having their team organized and making it difficult for us in the early going. Having three goals in the first half certainly made the second half a lot easier, especially with Cuba playing a man down."
On the play of Landon Donovan:
"Clearly, Landon Donovan’s performance speaks for itself. He did an outstanding job of working to get in front of the goal, and getting on the end of some of these serves. I guess Eddie Lewis served three of those. It was a good performance by a number of players."
On the play of Eddie Lewis with the MNT over the last year:
"I don't think it’s just the last year. The only reason his performance tailed off a bit was due to the years at Fulham when he didn't play. When he played with us during his MLS years, it was pretty obvious he was a good player, and he's just gotten better and better. Obviously getting back into the full swing of things at Preston last year really helped him. He had a pretty good World Cup as well."
On whether Steve Ralston’s' performance in the Gold Cup has improved his standing with the MNT:
"I don't think he's hurt it at all. He's done very well. I think this has been a good setting to bring Steve back into the team. Playing at home, I think his comfort level is pretty good. It's given him the kind of confidence you need to perform up to your capabilities. In the past, Steve has not been as at ease as he's been in this environment, so it's been a real plus for him."
On inserting Danny Califf into today's lineup in place of Carlos Bocanegra:
"We've rotated five players in four spots throughout the tournament. We did in that in the Confederations Cup as well. A big part of these last two competitions has just been looking at a number of players who can play in those positions. In the 2002 World Cup we had a number of veteran players in those positions like Tony Sanneh, Eddie Pope, Jeff Agoos, etc. We need to look at some younger players, so our young guys - in particular, Bocanegra, Califf and Gibbs - have been given a chance to play in these competitions to get they kind of experience they need. For the most part, they have done pretty well."
U.S. forward and Chevrolet Man of the Match LANDON DONOVAN:
On today's goalscoring performance:
"It was just one of those days. I've not scored a lot lately, and it gets a little bit frustrating. Getting the first one with Brian just tapping it to me made things a lot easier. From there, I was just in the right spot a lot of times. Hopefully I get back to that."
On which was his favorite goal:
"Probably the second one. It was a half-volley, and after I opened my eyes and saw it went in I was pretty excited."
"With the teams we've been playing, for the most part they have sat back and tried to defend. So, it's a difficult game for me to get involved in because I don't have a lot of space to play. It's more suited to guys like Brian or someone like Taylor Twellman. Guys like Eddie Lewis and Steve Ralston were getting serves in the box, and today I was fortunate to get in there. I figured if they were getting in there and scoring goals, maybe I could too."
On the play of Eddie Lewis and Steve Ralston:
"Eddie and Steve both are phenomenal servers of the ball, probably the two best I've ever been involved with. As a forward you try and get in those positions to score, and a lot of times you make the runs and the service doesn't come. It seems like every time we've made the right run, they have put it on our head."
U.S. forward BRIAN McBRIDE
"I think we had the right attitude coming out. They showed early on that they weren't going to sit back, and it was important for us to try and attack early. As soon as it started to open up a bit, we created a lot of chances. It was a great day for Landon. The service from this team has been unbelievable."
On the service of Eddie Lewis and Steve Ralston:
"The service has been great. It seems like Steve has challenged Eddie. I know they didn't do it verbally. Eddie Lewis served some great balls in today, and so did Steve. What it does is cause the other team to have to worry about runs outside, and it allows us to start passing the ball through the middle."
U.S. midfielder EDDIE LEWIS
I think we're playing better each game. Although we've played teams we felt we should be beating, we've managed to get better. Now the tournament definitely steps up a level."
On the successful finishing today:
"It was definitely one of those days. I thought last game I had a few good crosses that didn't quite get finished. Sometimes it just works like that. Today it seemed like they were putting away everything I threw in the box. It's really just my job to get it in there, and it makes everybody look good when they bury them."
U.S. midfielder STEVE RALSTON
On having a breakthrough performance in the Gold Cup:
"It feels great, especially being at home and having the support of the crowd behind me. I'm just trying to do what I'm told. I'm trying to get to the back post. I got there twice tonight, and had a great chance to score early in the game and missed. The second time I was fortunate to get it on goal and past the 'keeper."
On why it has taken him so long to get a spot with the national team:
"I'm not sure. I feel like I'm playing as well as I've ever played before. Maybe in years past I was a little timid out there, and wasn't playing the way I was capable of playing. I was scared to do the things I do well, like go at guys. I was afraid to lose the ball. Now I'm just playing the way I normally play. I'm not the youngest guy in the world, and it's pretty much now or never. I hope I can continue to play with this team throughout the Gold Cup and into qualifying for the next World Cup."