Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. Men vs. Honduras
BRUCE ARENA, U.S. Manager
On the city of Albuquerque and New Mexico as hosts:
“The City of Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico gave us an outstanding field for the game and the support was great as well. We’re pleased to be here and hopefully we’ll get back again. It was a nice experience for our team.”
On the team’s overall performance:
“I thought on the whole that our team played well. Our young group in the back defended well, (and) held Honduras to one shot on goal that I saw and then the one at the end that could have tied the game. Our team played well for 90 minutes, and if there is criticism of our team today was we did not do well with our chances. It was a game where perhaps we could score three or four goals and win conformably. Because we didn’t do well with our chances, we kept Honduras in the game until the last kick.
“All in all I thought that it was a pretty good effort. It was good for me to see some new players. I’m pleased with the performance of our guys and the preparation we’ve had. Now we look forward to our qualifying games over the next 10 day s against Mexico and Guatemala, two very good teams. So that will be a big challenge for us.”
On the altitude of today’s game and the preparation for Estadio Azteca:
“I think they did well. Any athlete at altitude is never going to be totally acclimatized, especially unless you live and play there year round. Even the Mexican team in Azteca, they don’t have all of their players that are acclimatized to 6,900 feet. What you do is you learn through training that in the altitude you get tired and you learn how to recover. Psychologically you do that. Today we did that, eight players played 90 minutes and it proved to them that they could do it.
“I thought for the most part that the game had pretty good pace. We have another week as a team, a chance to get a little bit more comfortable in this setting. Hopefully that will be enough when we get on the field (in Mexico) on Sunday.”
On the play of Eddie Johnson today:
“He has to do a better job holding the ball in tough games in the right situations. He has to do a better job holding off defenders. He could do better with his chances, he had a few good chances today. That’s the easy criticism when you sit on the bench and watch. Eddie could tell he had a chance or two for another goal today. Brian Ching could tell you the same thing. But that’s why when they pay players, they have to pay the guys who score goals a lot more than guys who don’t. That’s all part of it. For a young kid, he’s scored goals. You can’t complain about that. He’s got a big learning curve ahead.”
EDDIE JOHNSON, U.S Forward
On his goal:
“Clint Mathis hit a nice ball. I was there with my feet moving toward the goal. It hit the post and bounced down and my eyes lit up. Those are the hardest ones, when the goal is that open. You’re already thinking about celebrating. It looked easy, but it was tough.”
PABLO MASTROENI, U.S. Midfielder & Captain
On the Albuquerque venue:
“I think it’s great. Albuquerque is a great town, and they gave us the best possible accommodations. The people were soccer savvy, and it was just all in all a great atmosphere.”
On preparing for Mexico on March 27 at Estadio Azteca:
“The last three weeks have been trying for us. We’ve been on the road, living out of a hotel, and I think we made the best of the situation and got two good results in the last week.
“We went from Manhattan Beach, which is literally sea level, to going to altitude. It’s taken some time. We’re making the right steps forward, and I think we will peak in time for the Mexico game.
“It’s going to be a great challenge for us. It will be a great challenge in a great environment. This is what we look to do is play in front of 100,000 people and put the three weeks of camp together with the results we have gotten and we’re ready to bring in the European guys and make this team as good as it can be.”
JOE CANNON, U.S. Goalkeeper
On Bruce Arena, who was coaching in his 100th game for the U.S.:
“Bruce lets you be who you are. He lets you express yourself on the field. He really talks and makes a point to tell people ‘don’t be afraid of anything. I brought you guys all in because you can do special things and just show it on the field.’ Every player really appreciates the fact that not only is he giving you a chance, he is letting you be the player that you can be. Everyone feels pretty good about it.”