Quote Sheet: U.S. vs. Guatemala Post-Match Comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sunday, September 3, 2000) -
BRUCE ARENA, U.S. Men's National Team head coach
On the match: "It was a great win for us today given the circumstances. Give Guatemala a lot of credit. They played well today. Our guys showed a lot of character."
On Eddie Lewis' red card: "It happened so quick... Eddie was trying to shield the player away from the ball, and there was definitely contact. It was a judgment call for the referee. There's nothing we can do about it. We went to a 3-5-2 at that point."
On feeling confident on the U.S. eventually scoring a goal: "I don't think I was too confident at that point when the red card came, but I felt we would still get a good chance at some point. They are tough to break down, with the numbers they get behind the ball. But we knew it we would get a couple of chances to stick the ball in the net, and we were fortunate that McBride did that. It was great play by Cobi as well."
On things the U.S. could have done better in the first half: "We could have been quicker in the last third of the field. Getting the ball to Earnie Stewart a little quicker. We expected the game to be 1-0, and it turned out that way."
On the crowd: "The crowd was very important, I think the American support was terrific and I think they made a difference in the game."
On calling out some specific U.S. performances in the win: "It is a day where you need to credit all the players. They all did well. I think for John O'Brien to step in to a game of this magnitude, well, he had an outstanding performance. He moved over to the left side of the field when Eddie went out with the red card, and we put him in the back at the end. He is a very versatile player, and he did a great job. Our backs did a great job, in particular Berhalter and Pope were very solid. Claudio suffered a bad bruise with that tackle, and got cleat marks all over him, we are hoping it is just a bruise, but he was hit pretty hard on that tackle."
On the team's current standing in qualifying for the next round: "Mathematically, Guatemala can max out with 10 points now, so if we can get three points out of one of our next two games, we should be able to beat them on the tie-breaker."
BRIAN McBRIDE, U.S. Men's National Team forward
On his goal and the general tone of the match: "We caught them out of position a little bit, and Joe-Max made a great run into the middle to create some space and Cobi played a perfect ball for me to line-up, and I was able to get it inside the near post. I took a pretty good whack on the play, and it actually broke my shin-guard. ... Coming into the game, we knew they were going to shoot for a draw and sit back a bit. We had to make sure we were patient and didn't get frustrated. And we knew we had to take our chance when it came, and we did that."
On the team's attitude after the red card to Eddie Lewis: "We knew we had to bear down, and it wasn't the time to get worried. We just had to keep playing hard. Bruce has been saying all week long that it would be a one-goal game, and it was up to us to make sure we got the one goal.... They are a team that defends with everybody. It is hard to penetrate them offensively. Defensively they counterattack well, so we had to make sure we kept our shape, and we did that."
On the physical nature of the match: "We thought it was actually going to be a little more chippy. There were some bad calls. The foul on Claudio from the player who got a yellow card two minutes earlier was a bad call. But there wasn't anything malicious out there. They played a strong solid game. And we had to make sure to get the result."
CLAUDIO REYNA, U.S. Men's National Team midfielder, captain
On the U.S. crowd support today: "They were great! Really good. I was really impressed. From before the game and all the way through the game, our fans were louder than the Guatemalans fans. I think here and Boston are great places to play, because our National Team always gets great support. It was great to see that. I always love coming to RFK Stadium to play."
On his departure from the game after being fouled by Valencia: "It was a good move to take me out. I could have finished the game, but it was important to get someone in immediately because we were already down a man, and I wouldn't have been at 100 percent. Bruce was smart to make that move right away."
On how the match progressed: "We knew it was going to be a tough game. Guatemala plays tough and they play aggressively on defense, and knew this was how it was going to be. Bruce was saying all week, 'Don't be surprised if we win 1-0,' so that was our approach to the game, and he was right. The most important thing was that we got our three points."
On playing against Guatemala's defensive style: "At times it was frustrating. It was hard to break them down. They keep so many players behind the ball. The humidity and the heat got us tired. We had a few times where your mind says something and your body says something else, and that can be frustrating. We wanted to play quicker and use our speed and athleticism, but we couldn't always do that because you get drained, so we had to pace ourselves."
On the heat at RFK Stadium compared to Mazatenango in Guatemala back on July 16: "The humidity killed us more today than the heat. It was hotter down there, but it was worse here because of the humidity."
On whether the team celebrated the win today: "There was some celebration because of the three points, but it's not over head. But we know it was a big step for us to get the three points today, so now we have Costa Rica in October and there is no reason we can't beat them. We match up better against Costa Rica, because they will come out and play, and won't sit back and pack it in. We will get more chances because of that."
On the Costa Rica match coming up on Oct. 11 in Columbus: "We always play well at home. We are the team to beat at home, so we won't be nervous at all against Costa Rica. We have a great goal differential, so we are in good shape. They would have to play a great game to beat us."