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Quote Sheet: U.S. Men Tie Jamaica, 1-1, in Final Game Before Announcement of 2006 World Cup Roster


U.S. MANAGER BRUCE ARENA
On the game:
“Obviously a very poor start on our part and I was disappointed about giving up a goal in the first four minutes. Give Jamaica credit, they took advantage of that opportunity. On the night, I thought they gave a great effort.”

“We were able to use this game as an opportunity to see some players. I thought it was good that we got a chance to see our players have to come from behind. I thought we responded well, from the 25th minute on. In the second half we had most of the game. We put the Jamaicans on their heels. But we were not clean in trying to break them down with the last pass.”

“It has been a really good 2006 in our chances to evaluate our domestic players. Tonight and the next three (weeks of) MLS games will certainly allow me to make some good decisions in terms of rounding out our roster.”

On players that impressed him tonight:
“Ben Olsen. Obviously, the goal was big, but he had an overall good night. Eddie Pope was pretty solid and (Chris) Albright played a good game. I think Landon (Donovan) was solid, as was (Pat) Noonan. It was unfortunate that (Steve) Ralston got hurt. I thought (John) O’Brien played very well, especially since that was probably his first playing time since September. That was very encouraging.”

On if anyone played themselves off the team tonight:
“In all honesty, I don’t want to be critical of the league. Some of our guys have lost fitness and sharpness since we saw them in February. We are going to look at the next three (weeks of) MLS games before we finalize the roster. Some players haven’t played much recently. Unfortunately for us, our domestic players need more time. In April, most players around the world are heading into their 40th game of the year and our guys are heading into their third game of the year.”

On how Landon Donovan has matured, especially in terms of leadership:
“He is chronologically older, he has more experience and he responds well to the captain’s armband. Not playing in the midfield since he last played for us, since he is playing forward with the Galaxy, he doesn’t have the fitness for midfield right now, and it took some time to get into the game. He knows what lies ahead in the World Cup.”

On Tony Meola’s 100th cap:
“It was great for Tony. It was probably not the best way to start, obviously. We made mistakes in back, communication between Frankie (Hejduk) and Pablo (Mastroeni) was not good early in the game. Jamaica took advantage of the opportunity and put the ball in the back of the net.”

On having to cut players:
“It is difficult, there are some good players that won’t be selected and I probably won’t have time to talk to all of them. There will be some judgment calls. When the roster comes out, there will be two, three, four, five players that could be on the roster. It is a good problem to have but it is difficult.”

U.S. GOALKEEPER TONY MEOLA
On getting his 100th cap:
“Tonight for me was just a great night. I did it with a great group of guys that really appreciated it - the first 99 as much as they appreciated tonight. They let me know about it all week. We joked a lot about it. Apparently I'm 67 years old instead of 37 according to them, and 1988 was 100 years ago, not 18. It was great. I am just so happy that I was able to be part of it.”

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