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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May, 27, 2006

Reserves impress Keller in victory over Venezuela

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- First choice goalkeeper Kasey Keller was an interested spectator as a sub-strength U.S. team eased to a 2-0 friendly win over Venezuela on Friday with a performance that impressed the Borussia Moenchengladbach player.

"The first team guys had better look over their shoulders," Keller told Reuters after the World Cup warmup match.

Goals from Brian Ching and Clint Dempsey helped wipe out the memory of a below-par performance by an almost full-strength side on Tuesday, who looked uninspired in a 1-0 loss to Morocco.

"We were very disappointed with the energy and urgency in the last game," Keller said of the poor showing from a line-up likely to face the Czech Republic when the U.S. open their Group E campaign in Gelsenkirchen on June 12.

"But give Morocco credit. They should be in the World Cup. They came in and packed it in and we didn't put them under a lot of pressure.

"Today, we put the ball in the box, we put them (Venezuela) under pressure, got two or three great crosses and got two goals. That's what it takes to break teams down.

"With a little more sharpness and better execution, we could have won this game by four goals."

Keller is due to start when the U.S. take on Latvia in a final home friendly in Connecticut on Sunday and will be wary of the good display put in by his deputy Tim Howard, who excelled against Venezuela in a rare outing for his country.

"There's a little attrition now," Keller said of the three matches in six days before the team flies out to Germany.

"This is gut-check time. We have a couple of tough games. We get a win, fly out tonight, train and play. You just want to get through it healthy."

Despite guarding against possible injury, Keller realises the significance of the warm-up matches.

"You have to go play and play well. This is where guys sneak in or sneak out of a starting line-up," he added.

"I'm happy of what it's (Venezuela result) going to do for next game as well.

"I think for the guys who played against Morocco, they're thinking that they have to go and show."


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