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From the Locker Room (USA-Canada): æI thought we played great,Æ says Donovan
January 31st, 2002 12AM

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Following the USAÆs Gold Cup semifinal win over Canada, on penalty kicks after a 0-0 tie, Coach Bruce Arena, midfielders Landon Donovan and Cobi Jones, and goalkeeper Kasey Keller offered their perspectives on WednesdayÆs victory in Pasadena, Calif. U.S. coach BRUCE ARENA "I thought we played very well tonight. We were a little unlucky tonight not to get a goal and we clearly deserved to win this game. I give Canada credit for fighting hard for 120 minutes, but in all honesty I think the better team won." On the U.S. performance overall: "We created a number of quality chances in the attacking end of the field, and in the defending end of the field we were equally as good. I'm not sure our opponent had too many quality chances." On playing well-know rival Costa Rica in the championship match: "I didn't see much of their match tonight, but we obviously know them very well from qualifying. The reason they were the best team in qualifying is because they have great balance all over the field. A good frontline led by [Paulo] Wanchope, good midfielders, a very good group of defenders and solid goalkeeping." U.S. midfielder LANDON DONOVAN: On tonight's performance: "I thought we played great tonight. It was probably our best performance so far. We were a little bit unlucky. We did everything we really needed to do to win. It wasn't our night until the end." On the progress of his play in the midfield: "I feel more comfortable. I'm getting used to Chris [Armas], and getting used to playing in the middle. Overall, it's making me more relaxed and easier for me to play." U.S. goalkeeper KASEY KELLER: On the penalty shootout, in which he made two saves: "Tony [Meola] and I watched their penalties against Martinique. Basically, we didn't know who was going to take them but we had a pretty good feeling that a majority of players were going to the left. It's always nice to have a bit of prior knowledge. Most people in pressure-packed situations go with what they are comfortable with, and they were successful against Martinique so we thought that's what they would go with." On how he maintains focus while being inactive for much of the match: "It's all about organizing when you're in that situation and making sure that your players keep their concentration and I keep mine. You play a lot of games and you have a lot experience in going through these sort of circumstances." On at which point he felt the game was going to come down to him making penalty saves: "I never really felt it was going to come down to me. We had three guys score some very good penalties for us to put us in that position. I had a funny feeling throughout that with all the chances we had, and we kept missing, and the keeper had some good saves, and everything else that there was a real good chance that it was going to come down to penalties. And then that was my opportunity to steal some of the steam away from the other goalkeeper." On his performances during his Gold Cup history: "I've had a few good tournaments in the Gold Cup. This is my third time. The first time I finished third, the second time I finished second, now I think it's time for first." U.S. midfielder COBI JONES On playing Costa Rica in the championship match: "It's definitely a good rivalry. We've been battling for the past couple World Cups. All the games have been very close and hard fought. There's been controversies. So you have it all. That's what starts good rivalries." On whether the team started to have doubts after being unable to score: "No, we were pretty confident throughout. If you look at the chances we had many more of them. Canada had maybe one or two. We had a lot of the play in their end, and a lot of good opportunities to score. Unfortunately it didn't work out and we had to go to penalties. But we were confident from the beginning."


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