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Post-Match Quotes: U.S. vs. Trinidad & Tobago

U.S. Men’s National Team Manager BRUCE ARENA
On the match:
“I think we deserved the three points.  I thought we played very well and I think we felt guilty perhaps we made it a little bit difficult on ourselves. We created a number of good goal scoring opportunities and came up short, and that allowed Trinidad to hang around for 89 minutes or so and I think they could have been punished and sent home a lot earlier. Give them credit: they never quit. They defended well and we failed to convert our chances. However, the three points is huge. Fifteen points after six games is as good as it gets and I think we’re getting real close to qualifying for Germany. We’re pleased where we are. We’ll size up the troops after this game and prepare for the next set of games against Mexico and Guatemala.”

On how the team is different in having a smooth road in qualifying so far:
“We have a nice combination of experienced players and young, talented, players, and some very good depth. I read in Kelly’s (Whiteside) article in USA Today that we’re missing seven players from the first time we played Trinidad. What this group has managed to do is not let anything get in the way of their goal of qualifying and winning games. If we miss a player because of injury or suspension, they don’t blink an eye. They just move forward. If they’re in games where maybe the officiating may be a little bit questionable, it doesn’t bother them. They just keep their concentration and get after the task at hand. I think it’s a combination of the leadership and experience with players like Brian (McBride), Kasey Keller and Claudio (Reyna) today, and the injection of some young players that help make a difference as well. Tonight it was exciting to me to see the young players such as Oguchi (Onyewu), Bobby Convey and (Santino) Quaranta come in and do well, and Twellman at the end. I see a lot of positive things, not only in this final round of qualifying, but hopefully in the following year as we prepare once we qualify for the World Cup.”

On the play of midfielder Bobby Convey:
“He did well, obviously, creating the first goal. He had a couple of good chances. Overall, Bobby did well. He’s very fit. He’s a player when he’s in form. He’s very fit. He has confidence, and he’s a guy that’s dangerous on that side of the field. He and Eddie Lewis created a number of opportunities for us on the left flank, so I was very pleased by their play.”

On the team’s frustration about not being able to finish chances:
“They weren’t frustrated - that’s why we won the game. That’s soccer. That’s part of the game. We know that. We felt at halftime that if we were smart, we’d open them up a little bit, create some more chances and we did. It was one of those days where the ball just didn’t go into the back of the net. However, when we walk away with three points in qualifying, it’s big. The objective was to win today and get the three points. It would have been nice to make it a little easier on ourselves. I remember the last time around, in the quest for 2002, we gave up points in the game against Guatemala in Guatemala and maybe a penalty kick against Costa Rica and some other games. Give our guys a lot of credit. They did what they had to do and we got the three points.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Forward BRIAN MCBRIDE
On his 10th career World Cup qualifying goal:
“Basically it was good ball movement. Bobby (Convey) ran off a shoulder and was played in and I knew I just had to beat the guy to the spot. The angle that he was at, he was going to play the ball across.  It was a nice ball in, and I just had to open up my foot.”

On the second half of the game:
“Probably we were guilty of trying to go forward too quick sometimes instead of settling it down and trying to open them up that way. Too many times we played the penetrating pass and it didn’t come off and what it did for them was open up the game and give them a little more time on the ball. Sometimes it worked to go forward quickly and sometimes it didn’t, so maybe we needed to hold it a little more.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Goalkeeper KASEY KELLER
On being one step closer to Germany after this game:
“The three points were very important in this game, but we had a lot of opportunities in front of the goal and in another game we might have won this game three or five to zero. The defense played very well. In the last 30 minutes they had a lot of opportunities and at 1-0 they have the chance to tie it. The whole team played well and played hard the whole game. The only thing would probably be getting better in front of their goal.”

On the upcoming U.S. game against Mexico:
“We always want to win against Mexico. We’re qualifying right now so we really want to win against Mexico. They are always our best rival and this game is very important - maybe not in qualifying but just for all the people. Tickets were sold out in 20 minutes for this game and for all the people in the U.S., we can win this game. And another thing: it would be nice to qualify against Mexico. But the important thing today was the three points. Now we got to our clubs for a couple games and then we come back to the national team again against a good team.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Captain CLAUDIO REYNA
On the win getting the team a step closer to Germany:
“We’re very close now. The three points were very important. I think we played a good game. We controlled the game. The only negative thing was that we didn’t finish all the chances that we had. We had a lot of chances and part of it was our fault for not finishing and part of it was their goalkeeper, who played very well. But after the 90 minutes we have to be happy because we controlled the game, our goalkeeper didn’t have to make any saves and we’re one step closer to Germany.”

On what the team must do in the next game to convert their chances:
“I think the next game is going to be a little more open because Mexico is also close to qualifying for the World Cup. Hopefully the game will be good to watch because both teams are so close. Tonight we knew that Trinidad would be defending and trying to get a point. It hard to play against a team like that and, I think, in the next game when we create chances we’re going to have to work twice as hard because we’re not going to have as many chances against a team like Mexico because they have more experience. But right now we’re happy because against Mexico, our rivals, in the next game, if we win we’re in Germany. It’s going to be a good game.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Defender GREGG BERHALTER
On the atmosphere at the stadium:
“It was a great field, a good crowd and it was a pleasure to play here.”

On the game:
“I thought it was important that we got three points. In terms of the play, the second half could have been better but we created a lot of chances and it was just unfortunate that we didn’t put them away.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Midfielder BOBBY CONVEY
On the many chances he created during the match:
“I thought we did well. I thought the whole team did well. Obviously, I wanted to come back in pretty much my first game this year and make an impression on Bruce [Arena] and the team and I thought I did well. I had a few chances there and on the second one the goalkeeper made a great save. Throughout the game I thought it should have been more than 1-0 but obviously we’ll take the win. I think we created a ton of chances, and we just have to get better at finishing them.”