U.S. MNT Post-Match Quote Sheet
USA 3, Costa Rica 2
July 26, 2003 -- Miami, Fla.
U.S. Manager BRUCE ARENA
“I would like to applaud our team. We were a different team in the second half. They responded quite well and beat a very good team. I have to applaud our opponent. Steve Sampson and his team did a fantastic job, having to travel from Mexico City. It turned out to be a great game. We're hopeful we get an opportunity in November to play in a playoff game. Since I've been here, we've been in this tournament since 2000, and we've never lost to a CONCACAF team, so we'd like to have a chance in a playoff. ”
"The bottom line today is still that we need to give our young players opportunities to get games. You see today we were almost the U.S. U-23 team in some positions. Our inexperienced center backs got another game, so I thought it was good for us. When you come out of it with a victory, that's positive. We won four out of these five games. We won against Paraguay, so winning five of our last six games after the Confederations Cup is positive. We're doing fine, but we know we've got to get much better to be an improved team next year."
On why the U.S. struggled in the first half:
"Fatigue, the fact that we used a lot of young players, and also it was a good team we played against. They were opportunistic on their opportunities in the first half. They had a great game plan. They pressed us in our own end, which surprised me a little bit because I thought they maybe would sit back and counter given the fact they had one day's less rest and had to travel. I don't think we adjusted well."
On his prediction for the Brazil v. Mexico final:
"I think Brazil is the better team, but with the altitude it will be interesting. It's also challenging with the heat, humidity and smog they will encounter. If Brazil has their legs, they will be a handful for Mexico. However, if I was a betting man I'd bet on Mexico, simply because of the altitude."
U.S. forward and Chevrolet Man of the Match LANDON DONOVAN
On the team's play in the first half:
"It was frustrating. I don't know what it was. I don't know if people weren't motivated or what. Bruce got into us a little bit at halftime - deservedly so - and we responded."
Describing his assist on Convey's game-winning goal:
"First I wanted to get by my defender, and fortunately he fell down. After that, it was all Bobby's credit. He was deeper in our own six-yard box than I was when we started. He just made a sprint down the middle of the field. DaMarcus was also on the far side, which gave me two options. I picked Bobby, and he finished it very well."
U.S. midfielder BOBBY CONVEY
On what the team has learned in 2003:
"I think we've learned how to come together as a team, especially after that tough game a few days ago. There's a lot of new guys who have gotten a lot more caps this year, and they feel much more confident playing with the national team. I think it was a great learning experience for everyone on the team to build up for the start of qualifying."
On scoring the game-winning goal, the his first of his international career:
"It came at a great time, being the last game and the game-winning goal. It's a great feeling to finally get the first one, and hopefully more will come."
Describing the goal:
"I had lost my guy in the box, and Kasey had come out and scooped the ball up right before my guy got to it. I just sprinted from our six-yard box, and Landon beat his guy, and I was running as hard as I could. DaMarcus had opened up some space for me on the right. It was great to see us all have legs there at the end of the game."
U.S. forward EARNIE STEWART
Describing his goal:
"Vanney gave a great cross. Danny Califf was going to head it. I asked him to let it go, and in the end it's good he did. I hit it pretty well, and it went in the back of the net."
On the importance of the timing of his goal:
"When you score, there is never a better time. I thought we played very bad the first half. The second half I thought we came out very well. Of course a goal always carries you a little bit further. I'm happy I could contribute, without a doubt."
On ending the tournament on a high note:
"First place would have been even better, but this was reality playing the third place game. In the end, when you win this game it's game. It's a great way to end this tournament."
U.S. goalkeeper KASEY KELLER
"We had such a miserable first half. But I'm really happy with the way we responded in the second half. Earnie scored a fantastic goal, and we kept battling. We knew they were going to lose their legs and we couldn't. They started cheating a few guys forward looking to get the result, and we took advantage of it in the end."
Describing the game-winning goal:
"It was nice when I got the ball off the free kick, and Landon sprinted out for me. I was able to find him, and he beat a couple guys and slipped Bobby in. Bobby did a great job putting it home."