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Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. 3, Costa Rica 0 in World Cup Qualifier


FIFA World Cup Qualifying, CONCACAF Final Round
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah

U.S. Manager BRUCE ARENA

On the game:
“We needed to replace five starters from our qualifying game against Guatemala and I think this certainly tested our depth and I think when you look at the final score, it’s 3-0, I don’t think it’s a fair indication of the game. I think Kasey Keller’s play in the early part of the second half was the difference in the match.”

On Landon Donovan’s play:

“Landon did a great job. Obviously the first goal was a tremendous goal, opportunistic on the second goal, which was a big goal at a time where our opponents got after us. The second goal broke their backs and the third goal, I think, is great to have because goal differential may be a factor at some point.”

On Kasey Keller’s play:
“What can I say? Kasey’s reactions on the line are fantastic. He’s still every bit as quick as he was five years ago. It’s nice to see a guy like that who has dedicated himself as an athlete, his fitness is better now than it’s probably ever been and I’m just happy that he has the opportunity to be our number one keeper. I know his aspirations are to play in a World Cup so, hopefully, we can make that happen.”

On playing in Salt Lake City:
“It was fantastic. I’ve never been in a more comfortable setting as the manager of the U.S. team. The whole week, Provo was brilliant, the people were great, everything was great there. Then, even today, I went to get a haircut and walking down the street, people were coming out of stores and saying, ‘Hello,’ wishing us good luck. ... It was fantastic. Beautiful setting, the field ended up being in good shape, I think the crowd was fantastic and I’m happy that our guys were able to respond. When things were tough, the crowd helped us. It was a perfect setting to play an important game in. I don’t speak for U.S. Soccer, I speak for myself, but I’d love to come back here some day.”


U.S. midfielder LANDON DONOVAN

On playing in Salt Lake City:
“On behalf of all of us, I’d like to say, ‘Thank you.’ The crowd was tremendous. They were passionate, they were loud, they knew what was going on in the game and I really hope we can come back here. It was incredible.”

On whether the crowd surprised him:
“I was saying yesterday, or Thursday, that they are very knowledgeable here. Even outside our hotel walking to the game today, there were probably 50 to 100 people clapping for us outside the elevators. They were just excited. As a soccer player, that’s where you want to play. You don’t want to play in front of 40,000 Costa Ricans. You want people there cheering for you. Everyone who came out today did a great job. They did their part today.”

On their position in qualifying:
“I think we’re very content with where we are. We won our two home games and we snuck a win on the road in Trinidad. But you have to remember, it’s still early. Last time I think we had 13 points after five games and we thought we were God’s gift to the world. We’re aware of that and we’re more experienced this time.”


U.S. midfielder CLINT DEMPSEY

On the outcome of the game:
“We put the ball in the back of the net and it was hard for their team to come back. Landon scored two great goals and we got the third one. That was pretty much nailing the coffin.”

On whether he was hoping this would be his first qualifying start:
“You always hope. You never really know what’s going to happen. You try to take the positive from it. It keeps me hungry and it makes me want to be out there even more so I’m going to try using it to my advantage. Hopefully, the more minutes I get, every time I get on the field I’m going to make my presence felt.”

On almost scoring his second goal for the U.S. MNT:
“I wish I could have it back. I just tried to get a touch on the ball after Landon played it through. I tried to slide it past the keeper and he made a good save and McBride was there to clean it up. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”


U.S. midfielder BOBBY CONVEY

On Landon Donovan and Kasey Keller:
“I thought we did really well. Obviously, Landon is Landon. He’s always going to do things. Kasey deserves a lot of credit as well. Kasey kept us in the game and made some unbelievable saves. For me, he was our Man of the Match. Landon played really well, but I think, Kasey kept us in. I think just playing back, being a defender, you put more emphasis on the goalkeeper. He comes out and just with his experience and stuff like that, he did great today.”

On the U.S. team’s play:
“I thought we did well. Obviously, it was a little hectic there the first few minutes of the second half. Other than that, I though we created some chances and we did pretty well. We won three, nothing, and that’s what we came to do, was win. I think we’ll just look at the tape this week and make a few adjustments and go from there.”

On his nutmeg on a Costa Rican defender:
“I just do stuff. It just comes to me. When you play soccer, that’s from when you’re little, you do a few things and it just came out for me I guess. It was one of those things that just happens.”

On the U.S. being criticized for not taking people on one v. one:
“I think we’re showing that more. Recently, I think we’re attacking a lot more and we have more numbers in the box and pushing more numbers forward. We scored three goals and had a couple other opportunities, so I don’t think they can criticize us after this game.”

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