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Post-Match Quotes: U.S. vs. Mexico

Post-Game Quote Sheet
Sept. 3, 2005

More: USA Defeats Mexico 2-0 | Photos

U.S. Men's National Team Manager BRUCE ARENA
On whether qualifying for the World Cup is sweeter because the clinch came against Mexico:
"The two top teams in CONCACAF are the U.S. and Mexico. We had the one blemish on our record in the first part of the final round when we lost in Mexico City.  So it's nice to get that back and it's obviously very special to qualify at home and against our arch rival."

On qualifying for the 2006 World Cup:
"It's difficult. You'll look at it and say it's real easy and it's a breeze. But it's not a breeze. It's very difficult.  I remember back to our first game in this round against Trinidad in Trinidad. That was a very difficult game, followed by a tough one in Mexico City and then having to battle to win the Guatemala game. The Costa Rica game, if it wasn't for Kasey (Keller) making some big saves, as well as in Panama, there's a big difference. The T&T game was a battle a couple weeks ago. So every game has been difficult, but I think our experiences over the last four years have positioned us to be successful, and our guys know how to win in big games."

On the play of Mexico:
"Mexico played the kind of game we expected them to play. Obviously you can't compare games from Mexico City.  I know most of you don't appreciate it, but Mexico City is a lopsided advantage for the Mexicans because of the altitude. It makes it a completely different game. We know that when we play them anywhere else, we can beat them. We proved that tonight."

On getting forward into the attack:
"One of the things we said to our guys at halftime was that not enough of our players getting forward in the attack were taking fouls.  That's a big part of the game, and we wanted to at least take some fouls and be able to have set pieces and that type of thing.  DaMarcus (Beasley), in the start of that game, was a factor.  The Mexicans had to foul him three times."

U.S. Men’s National Team Goalkeeper KASEY KELLER
On the USA’s path to Germany and what it means to beat Mexico:
“We qualified pretty comfortably in 1998, but really made it difficult on ourselves last time. This time when we’ve needed the results we’ve got ‘em and we ended up doing it comfortably. It always means a lot to beat Mexico. To beat Mexico to qualify to finish this thing off and to beat them comfortably 2-0 is even better. It just makes it better.”

On whether it was easy for the U.S. in this round of qualifying:
“No chance, regardless. I mean we beat Costa Rica 3-0 and I had one of my biggest games in qualifying. There is no such thing as easy, and even going down to Guatemala in a couple of days is going to be a very, very tough game.”

On the confidence the U.S. showcased in this round of qualifying:
“Really, we’ve been winning these games by scoring goals. We used to struggle in the past in games, and win one and draw a bunch, but beating Trinidad 2-1 to start this off really set the tone, and we won in Panama 3-0. We have really stepped up and we’re no longer scrapping buy with nil-nils and 1-nil, we can go in and beat teams three to nothing.”

On not being overly active tonight, but making a huge save right at the end of the half:
“That’s what goalkeeping is all about is really having nothing to do at time and make sure you concentrate and are getting ready to make the saves when you are called upon. Going in at halftime 1-0 down would have been a travesty. I think Mexico had their best spell of the game the final 20 minutes of the first half. But we didn’t change anything. We came out in the second half and did what we had to do and got the two goals. We defended extremely well and were unlucky not to get goals three and four. It was a great effort from everyone involved and I was very happy with the defense the whole game and the midfield worked very hard and the guys got the goals when we needed them.”

On the great home-field advantage in Crew Stadium:
“It definitely helps, and whenever we can play Mexico in America (and we got a little nervous there at the beginning as there were a few Mexicans out there) but by the time everyone came in from their tailgating parties it was obviously a very pro-American crowd.”

On the team’s confidence level:
“We know we can score goals, and we know we can keep it clean at the back. You combine those two things and you know you are going to win a lot of games. Look at the Gold Cup as an example. We changed 8 or 9 or 10 players and we still won the tournament. That’s a credit to everybody. To the guys here, to MLS giving guys a chance to play, the guys going to Europe and doing their job there. We have a very, very well balanced team right now and that is where the confidence comes from.”

On his performance:
“I’m just very glad I’m able to perform at the level I am over all these years and I still enjoy it every time I step on the field for the USA.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Forward BRIAN McBRIDE
“Bruce, I’m sure, doesn’t have his (FIFA World Cup) team decided, so you have to make sure you stay in his mind. We have a young group but I think it’s about experience and everybody realizing that it’s a 90-minute game, not get frustrated and take the chances that we get.”

On the difference between this round of qualifying and qualifying for the 2002 World Cup:
“We stumbled right after the first half. This time there was a lot of concentration, especially in the Trinidad game and I think today there was a lot of energy.”

On whether Kasey Keller’s save at the end of the first half changed the momentum of the game:
“I think we talked about setting some things right and the shape of the team. Kasey (Keller) does that all the time though, to be honest.”

On the emotion of the team after Steve Ralston’s goal:
“It was crazy. I saw Gooch get up and I thought, ‘Wow, he’s up.’ Then it hit the post and there were tons of bodies and I thought, ‘Ah, no one’s there.’ Then, all the sudden, from behind comes Raly (Steve Ralston), heading it in. He was standing there but he came across and I saw him, I was like, ‘Run!.’ It was a great feeling. I’m really happy for Raly and it spurred us on a little bit.”

On whether Mexico was shocked by that goal:
“Maybe they were. I mean, it definitely pumped us up, I’m sure that had some effect.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Forward LANDON DONOVAN
“After we got that first one, they were never in the game.”

On the satisfaction of qualifying against Mexico:
“The only thing sweeter would have been to score. At least for three or four more years they’ll shut up. They can’t say anything and I love it.”

On all the Mexico fans at the stadium during warm-ups:
“They show up early. I knew all the American fans would fill in and, by game time, it was very pro-American.”

On whether momentum from qualifying carries over to the World Cup:
“Bruce made a good comment. He said, ‘We’ve qualified and that’s great, but lets get better over the next seven months. It doesn’t mean you relax. Let’s get better as a coaching staff, as a team, and guys that get a chance to play now should prove that they belong.’ That makes the depth of our team better. It’s a great opportunity for some guys.”

On whether the game started to die out before the first goal:
“To be honest, the first half was a little sluggish. We didn’t play so great. But after halftime we got a little momentum and we started getting some free kicks in some good areas. We knew if we got a goal that the game was going to die, that they’d be dead. We were fortunate to get the goal. It was pretty easy from there.”

On the Mexican team looking stunned after Ralston’s goal:
“Yeah, and that’s when we got the second one. They weren’t in it. They know they haven’t scored here in a long time. They wanted a zero-zero result. They would have been happy. Once we scored the goal, they had no chance.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Captain CLAUDIO REYNA
“We fought really hard. It was an even game. Those two goals were obviously the difference. Obviously we’re thrilled. We’re so happy to be able to do this. Like I said, a strong Mexican team. To get a 2-0 victory says a lot about our team. We limited them to, I think, zero chances, which is great. They’re a great attacking team. Probably the bigger plus was how well we defended rather than how well we attacked. We capitalized on our chances and got a great 2-0 win.”

On whether the win was special because it was against Mexico:
“Absolutely. We have a good rivalry with them and to beat them, at home. We wanted to do it tonight, even a bit more because it was them, no doubt. They’re the one team that beat us in CONCACAF and that’s what we said. We want to show we’re the best team in CONCACAF and we have to prove it tonight and we got a good, sound, victory today, 2-0, yeah, it’s great. To do it at home, in front of our fans here, it was a great all-around victory.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Defender OGUCHI ONYEWU
“We won the game. We learned a lot from the first game. I think we gave the forwards a lot more space in the first game and today we just suffocated them all around the field. We didn’t really give them much of a chance of a goal. The only save that Kasey really had to make was on a free kick. Other than that, I think we played well, defensively.”

On the effect of the home-field advantage:
“It’s always good to play at home. When you have the crowd behind you, it always feels good. You’re kind of assured whenever you make a mistake. Of course we feel the home-field advantage. Even if we didn’t have the 24,000 fans, just playing on home soil, you feel the presence.”

On what he has to do to secure a spot:
“What I have to do? You have to talk to Bruce about that. I don’t try to get into the coach’s head. I just try and play my game. If he likes the way I play, that’s great for me. If not, I guess I have to work harder. Stay healthy. That’s the most important thing right now. Now that we’ve qualified, the most important thing is to play consistently and stay healthy … Things have been going pretty well for me the last couple months and I’m going to try and keep the momentum going that way.” is the official site of U.S. Soccer, the governing body of soccer in the United States.