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Post Match Quote Sheet: USA v. Korea Republic

PASADENA, Calif. (Saturday, January 19, 2002) - Following are post-match quotes from the USA's 2-1 victory over Korea Republic in the first match for both teams at the 2002 Gold Cup.

BRUCE ARENA - U.S. Men's National Team head coach

"It wasn't a pretty game today, for sure.  Korea is a very difficult team to play against, they are very physical and very aggressive. I'm happy that there weren't any rule requirements that you couldn't play teenagers today, because we'd be in trouble if that were the case.  It's been such a long layoff for a number of players, it's nice to get back on the field and start moving forward as a group.  I'm pleased with the win today.  Maybe a point would have been a fair result, but we're going to take it."

On the play of Landon Donovan:
“Landon had a very good game.  He was part of a bunch of big plays in the game; the first goal, the red card, and the second goal.  He had a great performance today.”

On whether there will be changes for the next match:
“We’ll make changes.  We’ll see what our players look like tomorrow.  Obviously it’s very difficult playing an international tournament with two games in three days and not really being able to change your roster because of the rules.  It’s going to be difficult to sort that out, but if we can get through the Cuba game, we will certainly be rested by next weekend.”

On the play of Korea:
“Korea is a hard team to play against.  Their physical qualities are tremendous.  I think we still have not fully adjusted our team to that style of play.  I think we got pushed off a lot of balls today. Obviously the red card was a big factor in the second half.  I think the game could have gone either way.  Obviously in June it’s going to look the same way.”

On what he learned from today’s game that he can use against Cuba:
“It’s apples and oranges, but [from this game] just evaluating our players.  We trained our team in the last two weeks where they’re going to be able to play Saturday and Monday, so first of all we hope our recovery is right.  Part of this exercise in the Gold Cup is to move our team along in 2002 to prepare for the World Cup.  Therefore, we’re looking at a bunch of MLS players and evaluating them, and that’s what I’m Iearning, which is how some of these players can perform at the international level.  I need to be fair.  Some of these players are young and getting baptized in the game right now.  With some of the older players, I really need to make an assessment where they are in order to analyze whether they are going to continue to move forward in 2002 and future games.”

LANDON DONOVAN - U.S. midfielder and Chevrolet Man of the Match

On today’s performance:
“It was just a sloppy game.  There wasn’t good passing; it wasn’t attractive.  But the goals were very good.  We had a great two weeks of training, and hopefully we’ll get better as the tournament goes on.”

Describing his goal, the second of his international career:
“Ante had a lot of time in the middle, so I made the run and he gave me a perfect ball.  I wasn’t thinking about what I was going to do with it, but the goalie committed himself and the ball was bouncing so it made it easy for me.”

DaMARCUS BEASLEY - U.S. midfielder

Describing the game-winning goal:
“It was a great counter-attack by us.  Landon got the ball out to Jeff Cunningham, and the defender had to leave me and went to Jeff. I was yelling at him because I was wide open. He put in a nice little chip over the defender’s head and I saw a little corner in the near post and I just hit it.  Luckily it went in.”

On his feelings scoring his first-ever goal with the senior team:
“Bruce called me up to the sideline and basically told me to be aggressive and go at them.  He wanted me to try and get crosses into Brian [McBride] and use my speed to my advantage and that’s what I did.  This was only my second real scoring chance with the national team.  I had one against China [in January 2001] that nearly went in.  I was very excited, and I happy to help my team out.  It’s a sense of pride to be out there fighting for my country in a big tournament on our way to the World Cup.  It felt good when I hit it, and I’m very happy.”

KASEY KELLER - U.S. goalkeeper

Describing the penalty kick save:
“I just had a feeling.  We [Tottenham] had a game a couple weeks ago against Aston Villa and we conceded a late penalty.  I had the feeling then too that the guy was going up the middle and I just couldn’t get myself to stand there.  I had the exact same feeling today that this guy’s hitting it up the middle, and I just made myself stand there and sure enough, that’s what he did.  He hit it right to me and I was able to keep it close enough.”

On recording his 11th straight victory on U.S. soil:
“Not a bad record.  If they could move the World Cup to the U.S. we’d have a good shot.  Seriously, it’s nice to be able to come in with the team and play with some guys I haven’t played with before and to come up with a save or two when it’s needed.  It always makes a difference when you win the ball game.  I think the last time I saved a penalty kick for the U.S. was against Argentina in Washington, D.C., and we ended up winning that game 1-0 as well, so it’s always a nice feeling when you can come up with a save and win the game.”

FRANKIE HEJDUK - U.S. defender

On fighting for the right back position on the World Cup squad: "Right now it’s just good to be back in the team.  I thank Bruce for giving me another shot and getting a chance to come back.  I know it’s a difficult decision for him being that I’m not starting regularly with Bayer Leverkusen.  But I still do get games. I still get 90 minutes every weekend with the reserve team.  I think one of the major concerns [for him] is my fitness, and I think I proved in this camp that I’m one of the fitter guys in the team.”

On his performance:
“I think it was all right.  I haven’t been in the national team for a while, so of course there’s some butterflies and some nerves.  You always want to do more to make an impression than sometimes you’re able to do.  I just tried to play simple and do the things Bruce told me to do before the game.  Defensively, which is the number one thing, I think I did OK.  I did get forward in the second half a bit.  I had a little bit more room.  The more games you play, the more confidence you get, so today I think was all right.”