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Quote Sheet: Sarachan, McBride & Jones

SEOUL, Korea (Monday, May 27, 2002) - U.S. assistant coach Dave Sarachan met with the media earlier today, one day after watching Korea play strong in a 3-2 defeat against France at Suwon World Cup Stadium.

U.S. Assistant Coach

On the atmosphere at Suwon World Cup Stadium between Korea and France:
“It was a very enjoyable game actually.  The atmosphere was very, very good.  The people that came to the game were very enthusiastic.  And I thought the game itself was entertaining.  The Korean National Team did a very good job of pushing the game very fast and they were unfortunate at the end to lose.  But it was a good atmosphere and a good showing for Korea.”

On his specific thoughts on some of Korea’s stand-out players:
“Well, I thought that collectively the Korean team did well as a group.  Clearly, I thought the goal that Park (Jing-Su) scored was a very good goal.  It was a very opportunistic goal.  He has been in very good form the last couple of games.  I think, as I said, they work very well together.  To pick out individuals would be unfair for the rest of the team.  We are really focusing on them as a team.  Of course Hong (Myung-bo) is a very experienced defender, there is no doubt about that.  Beyond that, we have respect for all of their players.”

On the differences between Korea from December and January, to now:
“I think they are an improved team, for sure.  They have been together for quite a long time now.  They have played a lot of friendlies together so they seem to be a team that knows each other very well.  And that happens over time.  As Cobi mentioned, in terms of their physical presence, I think the Korean team has always shown that they are physically fit and can endure for 90 minutes.”

On the Korean perception that the U.S. team is more loose and relaxed than other teams:
“Well I’m not sure I completely understand the question, but I think the way that I would answer that is to say that it is a relative term, ‘loose.’   We have a team that likes one another and has a good team spirit.  When we work, we work.  And when we are not working, we allow the team some freedom.  We think that has been established within our team, and there is a certain trust with our team.  Some of you on the outside may look at that as being loose, but in terms of how we prepare our team, when it is time to work, then we work.”

On the weaknesses the U.S. has seen in Korea:
“Well we can’t give away our secrets.  I tell you what.  If Guus Hiddink gives you our weaknesses, I’ll give you theirs. <joking>”

U.S. Forward

On his first thoughts when the U.S. was matched against Korea at the Final Draw in December:
“My first thoughts were that it would be difficult to play against the home team, which is difficult to do in a World Cup.  Secondly, I knew that we would be playing them at least twice before hand, and I knew that would be advantageous, not only for us, but for them.  Beyond that, any draw is difficult in the World Cup.  Every team in the World Cup is very good.  We are happy to be in Korea, because it suited us in regards to training sites and hotels.”

U.S. Midfielder

On Korea’s midfield and how the U.S. plans to play against it:
“Well, like you said, the Koreans will be very aggressive in the midfield.  They are going to be very physically fit, and obviously that is what we have been preparing for the last seven months and in the last couple of matches.  We know exactly what they are going to be like, and they know what we are going to be like.  There will be no surprises really.  It is going to be a very physical battle in the midfield, and I think that is pretty much where the game is going to be won: how our midfield matches up with theirs.”

On the Korean performance and what the U.S. learned from watching the game:
“Obviously Korea did very well in that game.  I think the way Korea played really pushed France to the limits and almost took the game from them, was very impressive.  It definitely makes us think about some of the things we have to watch for, with the speed and skillful abilities of some of their frontrunners and the tenacity of their midfielders going through and winning balls and starting counterattacks.  Those are things we are going to have to watch for.”