Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2001

U.S. vows to keep home streak alive

June 20, 2001

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Now that Mexico has fallen, the United States has the longest home unbeaten streak in soccer's North and Central American and Caribbean region 17 years.

That's right, American soccer is at the top of the heap.

"Whether it's the attitude or the confidence, I think naturally players feel more comfortable at home," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said Tuesday, a day before the Americans' World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago.

With a win at Foxboro, Mass., the United States would move to the verge of qualifying for its fourth straight World Cup, something the Americans never have done before.

On Saturday, the United States was happy to escape Kingston with a scoreless tie against Jamaica. But at home, only wins are acceptable.

"Our attitude is, we have to win all of our home games and then we'll qualify," said Brad Friedel, likely to start in goal for the United States. "We don't want to drop any points at home. If we had lost to Jamaica, then a lot of pressure would have been us."

The United States (3-0-1) leads the regional finals with 10 points, three ahead of Costa Rica (2-1-1), five ahead of Honduras and Jamaica (both 1-1-2), six ahead of Mexico (1-2-1) and nine ahead of Trinidad (0-3-1).

The Americans, seeking one of the region's three berths in next year's 32-nation field, are 13-0-5 at home in World Cup qualifying since a May 1984 loss to Costa Rica, and against Trinidad home and road they're 5-0-1 in qualifying.

"We have to realize that we not try to go out and win it in the first five minutes," U.S. captain Claudio Reyna said. "It's a long game. We're going to get our chances."

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