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Reactions to the U.S. Taking the Gold Cup Title


Following are post-match quotes from the USA's 2-0 victory against Costa Rica in the championship match of the 2002 Gold Cup.  The U.S. captured their second championship in Gold Cup history, forward Brian McBride capturing honors as the tournament MVP and leading scorer.

BRUCE ARENA, U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach

“I thought we had an outstanding performance today and certainly deserved to be the champions.  We improved in every game in the tournament.  This victory means a lot.  We faced a lot of criticism last year, maybe some deserved; most unwarranted.  Even in the beginning of this tournament we took a lot of criticism.  So for the guys to work hard and be deserving of this cup is very special for both the players and the coaching staff.  My evaluation of them is that a number of them will be fighting for roster spots on the World Cup team.”

On the performance of Costa Rica:
"They got beat in every aspect of the game.  I think we played extremely well and beat them in every position on the field."

On how the players' performances in this tournament will affect his decision making process for the World Cup roster:
"I hope it gets real tough.  It will be a nice problem to have if we have several players competing for 23 roster spots, and I think that will be the case.  Having said that, don't think that the Gold Cup performance wins a World Cup roster spot.  There's a lot of time ahead.  We're four months away from selecting our roster.  There's a lot of soccer to be played and a lot of evaluation to do."

On being successful against different playing styles during the tournament:
"I've think we've just performed very well.  We've adjusted our game when we needed to, but for the most part we had a pretty clear understanding of how we were going to play and we executed our way of playing quite well in each and every game."

On the confidence and speed of play displayed by the attack in this tournament:
"There was times last year when we played like this, but you've got to remember we've never had our team together and still haven't.  We've had so many injuries to attacking players. I can't remember the last time we've had McBride and Wolff on the field at the same time.  We've very rarely have had healthy flank players.  This is the first time we're starting to piece ourselves together a little bit better and we've had a chance to work together, and it's paid dividends."

On the importance of having the team together for an extended period of time prior to a tournament:
"If we can prepare 30-35 days before the World Cup we can put a good team on the field.  During qualifying, it's basically players travelling from all over, having a couple of days to get your legs back and then stepping out on the field. In all honesty it's very difficult.   We're probably the only team in qualifying that does that.  Generally we're behind the eight ball when it comes to that competition.  If we can make up for the lost ground by having a good camp before we depart for Korea we will be a better team for it." 

On the play of Chris Armas:
"He was outstanding.  I saw the all-tournament team before the tournament, and I thought there were a couple players left out from our team, Chris being one and Kasey Keller the other.  He's an outstanding player for us.  He was a little bit injured during qualifying last year which hampered his play a bit.  He's gotten extremely fit.  He's been sharp on the ball, and he's been solid at both ends of the field."

JOSH WOLFF, U.S. forward and Chevrolet Man of the Match

On scoring his first goal for the U.S. since April 25, 2001:
"I've had my difficulties in the tournament so far, but that's life as a forward.  You have to stick with it and know that as long as you're getting your chances you're doing one thing right.  To be able to stick one in certainly gives me a lot of confidence."

On partnering with Brian McBride:
"This is not the first time Brian and I have played together.  That's something that hopefully we'll be able to continue to work on.  Brian is a great player, someone who is easy to play off of as far as being the other forward.  I think we did some good things tonight, as well as in the Canada game.  We were able to read each other and play off each other pretty well.  He's a big guy.  He does a good job holding the ball.  I have to be able to do the same thing for him."

BRIAN McBRIDE, U.S forward, Tournament MVP and Golden Ball Winner

"Everything that we did tonight was what we talked about doing. From moving off the ball, to defensive shape, to pressuring the ball, it was a really good tournament for us. I was really impressed by the way we came together.  Winning definitely breeds confidence, but along with that we came together as a team on the field and off."

On winning the trophy as the tournament MVP as well as finishing as the leading scorer:
"Individual awards are great, but they are sort of a side bar.  It's not something you really set out to do.  To be honest, the only reason I won this is because of my teammates.  Everybody around me played very well.  As a forward you need other players running into space, and everybody worked very hard."

KASEY KELLER, U.S. goalkeeper

On assessing the team's performance throughout the tournament:
"Personally it's been fantastic.  We continued to build as team from the first game.  As each game continued we got a little bit more secure in the back and continued to attack and cause the other team a lot of problems.  If we can continue to build on that we're going to be a difficult team to beat. "

On his leadership role in the team:
"That was really one of the reasons why Bruce wanted me to come in. He wanted someone to step in with Goose and organize things, and I think we were able to do that.  It was really tough in the beginning.  I arrived two days before the first match and didn't know who was going to be playing.  In the Korea game we were a bit unorganized, but as I was able to talk to people and Bruce was able to talk to people, we really got a very good understanding between everybody and it showed. We only conceded one goal in the tournament.  When you're that strong defensively, you're going to win games."

COBI JONES, U.S. midfielder

On earning his 150th cap tonight, tying him for fourth place on the all-time list:
"It's an awesome feeling.  You can't ask for a better result for your 150th cap than to win a championship. It's definitely a benchmark for me. It makes you look back on all the years and all the things I've gone through.  I've had a great time with the national team.  Hopefully it continues for a little bit longer."

LANDON DONOVAN, U.S. midfielder

On the performance of the team throughout the tournament:
"I don't know how people thought we were going to do, but we thought we were one of the stronger teams in the tournament, and every team we played I think we showed that."

On adjusting to playing in the midfield, away from his accustomed forward position:
"Obviously I don't get as many opportunities.  I touch the ball more, and I get more involved passing-wise.  I just have to be better distributing, and defending as well."

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