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Arena and U.S. Players Comment on Gold Cup Win Over Cuba

PASADENA, Calif. (Monday, January 21, 2002) - Following are post-match quotes from the USA's 1-0 victory against Cuba in the 2002 Gold Cup.  The U.S. won Group B and advanced to the quarterfinal round to be played Sunday, Jan. 27 at the Rose Bowl.

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

"I am pleased with the win, it was a very difficult match.  We did not do well with our chances, but we're still happy to walk away with a win.  We won two games, and our mission was to advance here." 

On which players have stood out so far in the competition:
“I think a couple of people continue to solidify where they stand on this team.  McBride has had two decent games, and played well today.  I thought Armas has played well.  I think Beasley and Donovan have done quite well.  I think Cobi Jones had a good performance in these two games.  We need to find a better partner up front for McBride.  We need to get a little better in our defense.  Obviously, Keller is solid.  I thought Richie Williams played well in his 30 minutes.  It is good to see those things.  What we are looking for in this tournament is to narrow down our pool of players as we get closer to May.  It has been helpful.  Obviously I'm not going to be publicly critical of any players, but we are able to evaluate in those two games where some of our players stand."

On the play of Josh Wolff:
“Josh was OK today.  It has been a long time since he has played 60 minutes.  I thought he tired a little bit, and he is still not completely 100% confident coming off his injury.  He did not do well with a couple of chances today, but I thought his running off the ball in the first half in particular was pretty good.”

On whether there will be changes in the roster for the next round:
“I don't know right now.  We will evaluate the physical condition of some of our players, but certainly I anticipate making a couple of changes.”

JOSH WOLFF, U.S. forward

On tonight's performance:
"I've been playing the last two or three months. Obviously the finishing aspect of my game was not there.  I had some good chances, good looks, and good runs off the ball.  I think on that side of things it was a little bit better, but I should have had a couple of goals.  That would have helped this team gain a little more confidence.  It's always a little shaky when you're up 1-0 but we did a little bit better today."

On the U.S. attack tonight:
“I had two or three good chances.  Jeff [Cunningham] got in a couple of times.  It was one of those games when you get the second goal it can kind of have a snowball effect.  But we never got that second one.”

BRIAN McBRIDE, U.S. forward

On whether he was nervous taking the penalty kick that gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead:
“No, I enjoyed it.  Bruce never actually set who was going to take it.  It just so happens that Landon [Donovan] missed a penalty in practice, so everybody was saying 'you're done.  You can't take it anymore.'  He got that ball and looked at me and said 'Do you want it?'  I said 'Yeah, I'd love it.'"

On the U.S. failing to score an insurance goal:
"We wanted to get our second right away, but we could not.  And that's a sign we need to keep working on things. You have to get used to being in these situations."

On how he evaluate Cuba's play:
“They were quick and got around the ball pretty well.  They were disrupting things.  A few of their players turned pretty well with the ball, and they were pretty fit.”

DaMARCUS BEASLEY, U.S. midfielder and Chevrolet Man of the Match  

On tonight's performance:
“We didn't finish our chances very well today.  We had a lot of chances - one v. one's, crosses, headers ... everything.  We just couldn't find the goal, but as the tournament goes on we'll be fine.”

On earning the decisive penalty:
"He got me.  I tried to fake him inside and go outside.  He went for it and lunged, then I was history after that.  He fouled me and Brian had the penalty kick."

On the chemistry between him and Landon Donovan:
"We've known each other for a while.  I like playing with him.  He's a great player, and we always find each other.  We've got that great chemistry on the field."

On the missed opportunities in front of the net:
“Some days you just don't have it.  Luckily we got one early.  It was frustrating.  We all tried to push forward and tried to get that second goal. You just have to press them and keep going.  You just have to keep fighting, and hopefully you'll get a second.  But today we didn't.”


On the team's performance:
"I thought we came out and we stuck to our game plan, and that was to play our football and get a goal early.  We were seeking that second goal, and it just never game.  I think we handled the pressure early in the second half when they were coming at us.  I think overall we had a fair performance."

On his comfort level playing with the backline:
"It felt great.  We've been training for the last two weeks and we've got everything down.  The coaching staff has done a good job of getting us prepared for these matches."