Friedel follows his instincts
By Mark Buckingham. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
UNITED STATES goalkeeper Brad Friedel admitted he trusted his instincts in making a decisive penalty save during his nation's 1-1 draw with South Korea.
Friedel kept out Lee Eul-Yong's penalty towards the end of the first half to preserve the lead created by Clint Mathis's 24th minute effort.
The Blackburn Rovers shot-stopper dived to his right to palm away the spot-kick and he revealed his save was due to good guess-work.
"I felt he was going to go that way, so I just went with my instincts," said Friedel.
Korea grabbed an equaliser with just over ten minutes remaining when Ahn Jung Hwan glanced in a header, although Friedel accepted some liability for the goal.
He added: "It was a ball in between Agoos and myself, maybe we should have dealt with it, but you have to give them a bit of credit, they put us under a lot of pressure in the second half and played well."
United States now boast an excellent chance of qualifying for the second round with a contest against an out-of-sorts Poland to come.
Friedel admits he would have snapped the hands off anyone offering the USA the start they have made to the World Cup.
"If someone had offered us four points after two games, before the tournament started, we would have taken it."USA coach Bruce Arena admitted it was a difficult game for his side and he was more than happy to come away with a draw.
"It was a difficult game but I am happy with the point," said Arena. "Korea's fitness is outstanding. Most people, a month ago, would not have believed the United States would get four points in our first two matches.
"One hundred percent of the people would have said no. It was a very difficult opener with Portugal and a draw with Korea. It's a good feeling to get 4 points.
Arena now has his sights set upon their last game with Poland and he hopes that they can get the result to allow them to progress into the last 16.
"It was a big day for Korea and for us to play in front of a 60,000-odd crowd, to play in these conditions was difficult. For us to come away with a point is very satisfying.
"I want to get us (USA) ready for the next match against Poland. I am satisfied that we came out with no real injuries and hopefully the players will recover for the third match.