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Post-Match Quotes: USA 1, Ghana 2

U.S. Manager Bruce Arena

“We worked real hard to get back into the game. I’m very disappointed in the judgment of the referee for that penalty kick call and putting our team down at half and having to chase the game for that second half. I would have liked to come out at halftime even and have a chance to play the game and win that game, because I thought we were in good position at the time. The call was a big call in the game. Having said that, we could have been better with our opportunities in the second half to get some goals”

On how substituting Claudio Reyna affected the shape of the U.S. team:
“It didn’t affect our shape. I think Ben Olsen did a good job coming in for Claudio. Injuries are part of the game.”

On substituting forward Eddie Johnson for defender Steve Cherundolo:
“Obviously Ghana, in the second half, was very content with sitting their team back. Again, the call at the end of the half with the penalty is big, so they can sit back and pick their spots to counter and they did that.”

On Landon Donovan’s performance:
“He didn’t have one of his better days, that’s for sure. Having said that, I think our back line played well. Bocanegra had another great game. He was a pleasant surprise in the last two games. I thought Olsen did very well coming into the game. I thought Dempsey had a good tournament. It’s good to see a young player like that play well. I don’t think we gave Kasey Keller a chance on a lot of plays. We had the penalty kick today and the other one. The player finished it off that play quite well.”

On how the 2006 U.S. World Cup Team will be remembered:
“It was a good team. When our draw came in December, we knew it was going to be very difficult, therefore I was real pleased today to be in position to advance with a win. That’s why I’m so disappointed in the circumstances that developed during the game to put us in a position to probably not have the chance – well, we had a chance in the second half, I can’t deny that. However, I would have liked to have a real good chance in the second half to win that game. I think it was tough going in, emotionally, at halftime with that call at the end and now having to chase the game. But that’s all part of it and we have to deal with it. It’s a real fine line, I think you can see. We were a little bit better in certain areas. Maybe if we got a break or two throughout these three games we might have been in a better position, but we knew this was going to be a grueling three games in group play and there wasn’t a whole lot of room for error. There were too many errors to position our team to advance.”

On whether he would do anything differently:
“I don’t know. I don’t think there’s anything that’s major that we would change. I think the roster that we picked was about the right roster. Our preparation was about right.”

On the impact of the loss against Ghana:
“Well, the impact is that we’re going home tomorrow. That’s one of the impacts. U.S. Soccer has a bright future. I think in another group we would have had a better chance to advance. I think we were among the top half of the teams in this tournament. I think in the future, I would tell FIFA they should be seeding 32 teams and not have groups like this. But, we continued to get better. Despite the two losses, I think we demonstrated that we can play. You see some of the other groups, some of the games are very lopsided. This group was a real battle. I’m proud to have been in this group and survived into day three. We’re disappointed and we think we could have advanced today. I’m sure the Ghanian team says the same thing and they certainly did, so give them credit.”

On the team’s mood at halftime:
“Obviously there was disappointment over the call. We were disappointed but we told the guys: ‘There’s nothing you can do, you have to put it past you and you have to go out there and try to get that second goal.’ We didn’t do the things that we could have done in the second half to position ourselves to win.”

U.S. captain Claudio Reyna

“Regardless of our ranking, which we all within the team think is a bit too high and not right, we’re still a small footballing nation. We’re getting better and the expectations are up for us to at least get out of our group. That’s why we’re disappointed. In a short time we’ve come a long way and that’s the goal we set coming into World Cups.”

“I think we have a good core of young players coming through and the next batch of players developing will push this team on. It’s just a matter of putting this behind us and learning from it as well, because it’s a great learning experience, and getting then back and qualifying for South Africa.”

U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller

"It's extremely disappointing. We put ourselves in position to be able to advance in the third game. Obviously, we're disappointed with the decision of the referee, but at the end of it we didn't make the plays that we needed to make. It's as simple as that."