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Quote Sheet: U.S. MNT vs. Jamaica


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Thursday, May 16, 2002) - A post-game quote sheet from the U.S. Men's National Team's 5-0 victory over Jamaica on May 16, 2002 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

BRUCE ARENA - U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach

Whether he is concerned by the number of injuries in these two games:
“You can get hurt in training just as easy as you can hurt in a game.  It’s all part of it.  I think you need to do this.  How do you get ready for a World Cup if you don’t play?"

On the status of the injured players (Keller, Mathis and Vanney):
“In terms of injuries we don’t think there is anything severe there.  Keller has a contusion in his knee. Mathis had a toe nail broken when his foot got stepped on, and Vanney has a slight sprain in his knee.”

On the play of Josh Wolff:
“He’s still not there, but he’s certainly getting sharper.  He came into camp a little bit injured, but he’s improving.  One of the guys who had a great game tonight but didn’t score was Joe-Max Moore.  He did all the little things we talk about that help make our team better.”

On how Claudio Reyna played in Chris Armas’ position in the midfield:
“It’s not Chris’s position.  It’s a midfield position.  We don’t have two Chris Armas' or two Claudio Reynas.  The position is played differently by different players.  Claudio is a midfielder who likes to play a lot in the central part of the field.  What we did tonight was simply play him in the middle of the field.”

On the play of midfielder Landon Donovan at the right midfield spot:
“The right midfield position took him a little while to get into.  He had a couple moments where he ran out of gas in the first half, but he and Frankie figured that stuff out in second half.  As the game went on he did very well.  That position is almost a third forward at times.  Landon can play any of the five attacking positions, and wherever he plays, he plays well.”

On the decision to choose Tony Meola as the third goalkeeper for the FIFA World Cup:
“Tonight is a perfect example of why you want a player like that in that position, in case there’s a circumstance where your first two goalkeepers go down.  It’s not easy to put any goalkeeper in that position, but a guy who has been around the block a few times and has 99 caps is going to be more prepared to deal with that kind of moment.  That’s why he’s here.” 

JOSH WOLFF - U.S. forward

On how the U.S. seemed to score so easily:
“Throughout the midfield, we put them under a lot of pressure. I don’t think they could deal with it, and we were able to just pick up balls in their half and their final third and we really made them pay for it.”

On whether he thinks he deserves a starting spot on the World Cup team:
“I’ve always thought I’ve been capable of starting, but it’s got to be the right circumstances, obviously. We have an idea of how we want to play and how we want to come out against Portugal. Holland will still be another game, so hopefully I’ll get some minutes in that. At this point, I’ve got to prove to Bruce that I’m able to start, and that comes down to not necessarily scoring goals, but contributing in every aspect of the game. Tonight was pretty good, but I still think a big reason was because of the pressure we put on them.”

On the reason for team’s success in 2002:
“I think the team’s playing with confidence.  The young guys – Landon, DaMarcus, myself, Clint – we played in the Gold Cup and we had a real good mentality in that tournament. I think that has kinda filtered over in these games. I think we come out with a good idea and a good mentality. We’re strong and we look to get after guys. More than anything, Bruce has always said ‘be aggressive’ and I think in the first two games (of the “Nike Road to Korea”) we’ve certainly done that.”

On what the team had been doing well:
“We’re building each game for the World Cup, and the big thing we’ve focused on is getting guys around the ball. When we win it, go with it. That’s something that started in the Gold Cup -- just countering off turnovers, we’ve done real well with that.”

On what the large margin of victory meant over a non-World Cup team:
“Obviously Jamaica comes here with a different mentality that gives you different approach to the game. These types of games can get out of hand, but they can also go the other way if we give one up early. Kasey (Keller, U.S. goalkeeper) made a big save in the first half to preserve that, and it allowed us to get up on them. Once you put the second one and the third one in, teams like this tend to collapse, and I think that’s what happened.”  

TONY MEOLA - U.S. goalkeeper

On why head coach Bruce Arena has had the success he’s had with the U.S. MNT:
“I think he just finds a way to get the best out of everybody. As much as you guys like him for being as honest as he is, we like him for being honest with us as well. Not all the time do you like what you hear, but you always respect him. I think man management for him is the most important thing. A lot of guys come through here with good players, a lot of coaches have good players on club teams, and they just don’t man manage nearly as well as he does.”

On how much he talks or meets with the players as part of his coaching style:
“He keeps your head in the game in practice, but he’s not a big meeting guy. We meet so little these days, every time we have a 15-minute meeting, we’re complaining. He just gets the best out of everybody. Let’s face it – when have we ever been in an era where we played two teams in a week and put two teams out on the field, and I don’t care who we’re playing against but these are two good teams, and won. That’s how far we’ve come.”

On the difference between the current U.S. World Cup Team and the team that competed in 1990:
“In 1990, we were trying to fill the last two or three spots with anybody. Now Bruce has to cut 20 or 23 guys from the team, and it’s going to continue to grow.”

On getting his 99th cap in tonight’s game:
“Joe-Max told me he had 96, but I told him, ‘You’re a lot closer to 100 than I am right now. It was incredible. My 100th would have been great here, seeing as how I got my first one here. It’s not exactly how I expected to get in the game, that’s for sure. But I feel like I contributed a little bit in the second half, and that gives me a good feeling now matter what.”

CLAUDIO REYNA - U.S. midfielder and captain

On playing defensive midfield for the USA:
“It’s a position I haven’t played in a long time.  I can play, but I have to get used to it again.   Today was a trial run.  We’ll see if I play there again Sunday.  I don’t mind it at all.  If it helps the team and its best for the team, I have no problem with it.”

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