Conference Call Quote Sheet
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sunday, June 9, 1999) -
BRUCE ARENA - U.S. Men's National Team head coach
On the team's preparation for Argentina:
"Our players realize that this game is important. It will be a great challenge for our team and will give them a chance to play against one of the top teams in the world. Every player on this team wants to win on Sunday and it will be a great measuring stick to see where our team and players are on the international level. Of course we always want to win, but we also want to see how we work against a talented team like Argentina. There will be more pressure on us to win when we play New Zealand in the opener of the Confederations Cup in July, because we will be expected to win that game."
On what Argentina offers against the U.S.:
"I don't know specifically what to expect from them, but I have been studying their last couple of matches, but there have been departures of some of their players. Certainly any 11 players that Argentina puts on the field will be a very competitive team. We saw their third team beat Mexico recently. We are going to look at their game against Mexico tonight. They have some experienced veteran players and like to play with three forwards that put pressure all over you. We know this game will be a good challenge for us."
On playing at home in front of hostile crowds, and how can that change:
"First of all, I am not playing the role of marketer. I think the way you market soccer is by putting a successful team on the field. Once we establish ourselves, our team will become marketable. The showing in France hurt us a little bit. As you indicated, we have played in front of some hostile crowds. I personally don't mind that. It makes things more challenging for us."
On the balance between winning now and preparing for the future:
"This game is not a life-or-death match for us. It is important for me to see the new faces that we have brought in and to see what we need to do in preparation for the 1999 Confederations Cup. This is still an evaluation period. We are a good team at home and are making progress slowly, but we need to be able to beat good teams at home and on the road. We are increasing our player pool with every camp and our goal is to add depth to our roster."
On Tony Sanneh and his role with the National Team:
"Tony is doing very well in training. He is coming off a little bit of a break from playing in Germany, but I am pleased with his progress. The expectation is that he will play on the right side of midfield against Argentina. I know Tony well and he knows what I expect of him. I am just asking him to win his battle on that side of the field, which won't be easy. I expect he will have a good game on Sunday."
On U-17 star Landon Donovan's first camp with the full men's team:
"From what I've seen in practice this week, he would do well if he were to play this weekend, but it is very unlikely that he will get in the game on Sunday. But I am really happy with what I have seen from both our youth players in camp (Chris Albright and Landon Donovan), and think that both of these players are players we can look to in the future."
On the play of Jason Kreis:
"He has proven throughout his career and in MLS that he can score goals. I am not sure what position he fits into with us, but if he continues to demonstrate that he is one of the outstanding players in MLS we will bring him in at some point. There are a lot of players that we would like to bring in, but we are limited to the number of players in each training camp."
On John Harkes' current status in the player pool:
"There is a possibility for him to come back. John has played very well over the last couple of weeks, and I am keeping an open mind. We need to keep the younger players in mind too, though, which is what I've tried to do. But one of the things I like about this MLS season so far is the resurgence of some of the veterans. Guys like Marcelo Balboa have played very well and are guys we might look at for the Confederations Cup."
On MLS in the fourth season:
"I think there was a really slow start ... D.C. United continues to demonstrate that they are the most talented team in the league. San Jose has done better than their record demonstrates. Some teams have made progress in making the league better. Dallas has also gotten better. I think in the West that Chicago is still the team to beat, but I also think team's like Colorado and Dallas are going to give them a run for their money. In the East, D.C. United is going to be there, but I also think New England and Tampa Bay could challenge them by the end of the season."
On the league's current defensive emphasis and its effect on coaches:
"Well, soccer is a low-scoring sport. If you follow the game closely, there is a lot to be said for a low-scoring game. I can't imagine how many coaches have been fired. That is the rule, if you are not doing well, you fire the coach. I don't remember across the last four years as many executives and players being fired for a poor record. That is what is happening, the players are sticking around and the coaches are being fired. It was a big mistake whoever articulated that MLS was going to be a high-scoring league. If there has to be low-scoring games, then so be it. There has been a lot of pressure on teams, and I think they have become more defensive."
TONY SANNEH - U.S. Men's National Team midfielder
On playing in Germany:
"It has been a good time. To be honest with you, there is a lot of hype, though. Obviously, their fans are more into it, you get paid more and the games are all over the television, but the soccer is no different. Nine out of ten teams we play over there are not better than D.C. United. It is a good level of soccer, fast-paced. There is a lot of hoopla around the game, but it is still just soccer. Once I was injury free, I played every game. I am looking forward to the Champions League. It is a chance to perform at the highest level and have other people look at you."
On what the training regimen is like compared to Germany:
"Well, we just have a little different style than they do in Europe. We warm up playing five-on-two and then we play a game. It is very hard to stay in shape with those type of practices, so we go running in the forest for an hour to stay in shape. Realistically, it is impossible to stay in shape by only practicing. You can only run in the forest so long, and it's not like a game. Here with Bruce, practices are a little more intense. Over here we work with the ball a lot more. Training is more intense and it is easier to stay fit. In Germany, they believe that you get in shape without the ball, where the American style involves working with the ball. I prefer the American style, but I am in Germany right now and will adjust while I am over there."
On the respect of Americans playing in Germany:
"I think the World Cup set our country back a little bit. Sometimes I think we don't respect ourselves that much. Slowly, it is coming along. If me and Frankie do well, there will be more Americans going over there....players like Donovan (who recently signed with Germany's Bayer Leverkusen)."
On the team's preparation for Argentina:
"Everybody has been pretty upbeat. The weather, humidity and two-a-days take a toll on your body, but everyone feels healthy and strong. We have a general idea of what their (Argentina) formation is like. Hopefully, we can make them adjust to the way we play."