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Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. Men vs. Mexico


U.S. Manager BRUCE ARENA:

“I thought that the Mexican team played very well tonight.  The first half, we were very poor.  The second half we made some adjustments and I think that we played better.  Our teams match fitness is not where it needs to be for international play.  That is a result of the fact that they are in the first month of their club seasons.  In order for our players to compete at the international level, we must be fitter and softer on the ball as we witnessed today.  However, I believe the second half performance was much better by us.  I cannot speak for the Mexican team, but our team is in a building process and I use games like this to evaluate players.  For our team a number of players got a good experience.”

On playing in Houston:
“I think that it was a good week for us.  The Houston community and elsewhere did a good job of supporting the game.  Who can complain about 69,000 people that are friendly.  We were very pleased being here this week and I think it was a great opportunity for our team and hopefully we’ll be here again.”

On the recent results against Mexico:
“I don’t worry about the results over Mexico.  World Cup qualifying, World Cup and Gold Cup are the important results.  These games are not as important.”

On the performance of the young players:
 “Convey did a good job.  Tim Howard, our young goalkeeper, I thought did a good job.  Dan Califf had a good game.  Beasley and Donovan continue to demonstrate that they can play at this level and another game that Bocanegra did well.”

On the physical play in the game:
 “It was not anymore physical than we are used to."

On the play of Clint Mathis:
“Clint  is coming back from surgery.  We originally planned to give him 60 minutes.  We know that his fitness isn’t where it needs to be for these games.  In two more months, Clint will be where he needs to be.”

On which players wil be selected for the Gold Cup:
“We will, over the next two months, introduce our European players into this group as well as some other players.  We didn’t bring in some players tonight.  We’ll be looking at some other domestic players as well.”

On the difference between the Mexican team in the World Cup and tonight:
“The Mexican team in the World Cup was an excellent team.  I believe they were one of the top four teams in the World Cup in the first round.  They could have easily won the first three games in group play.  Therefore I don’t think that it is fair to compare that team in the World Cup to the team now, and our team in the World Cup to the one now.”

On the team playing better in the second half:
 “We made some adjustments.  I think that we sat back a little too much in the first half.  We didn’t push the right numbers forward when the Mexicans had the ball.  We were to loose in the mid-field, we made a couple of adjustments and pushed the players quickly onto the Mexican players to close down their time and space.”

On being undefeated in six of the last seven matches against Mexico:
“These things go in cycles.  Every time that Mexico and U.S. play it is going to be a low scoring game.  It just happens to be that we defend well enough to keep them from scoring goals.”

On whether he was satisfied with the U.S. performance:
“I’m not satisfied with the first half, but I’m pleased with the improvement in the second.  Whether it is the defense performance or not it does matter.  The result is what we look at."

U.S. Defender EDDIE POPE

“…I think that any given team can win on any given day it just depends on how you show up to play.  This is certainly a game that both teams are able to get up for.  It’s a huge rival.  We take it like that every single time.  As big and Pro-Mexican as the crowd was, I think that there were some loyalties going both ways.”

On playing in a home field, but the crowd is for other team:
“I think that is always difficult to play in a so called home vinyard, but the crowd is for the other team.  In some cities that we play in we can get a pro-American crowd, but most of the time it is an anti-American crowd.  I’m used to it by now.  I’ve done it since ’96.”

On the turnaround of American soccer:
“I think there were some Mexican-American fans that were rooting for us.  I saw people flipping the sign both ways so I think that is good that we can steal some fans.”

U.S. Forward LANDON DONOVAN

On his impressions of Houston as a venue for soccer:
“Absolutely fantastic.  The city has been great.  I got to see the mayor a couple of days ago.  The people really took us in and welcomed us.  It’s special to play in front of that (crowd).”

On the playing conditions:
“It looked bad, but it didn’t play very bad.  It played O.K. and I don’t think that it was an issue at all.”

On more professional soccer coming to Houston:
“I’d come here and play, except in the summer (laughs).”

Mexico Midfielder HECTOR ALTAMIRANO

“I think the United States is a great team. They work very well. They don’t lose control easily and they had great advances to goal through counterattacks.  They know how to set up and know how to receive the attack, they never risk more than needed. We need to continue working since that’s the only way we can achieve what Mr. La Volpe wants.”


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