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Post-Game Quote Sheet U.S. U-20 WNT vs. Ghana


U.S. U-20 WNT vs. Ghana
2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup – Group D
Hiroshima Big Arch Stadium; Hiroshima, Japan
Aug. 20, 2012


U.S. head coach STEVE SWANSON
On the match:
“Obviously we are very pleased with the result against a very good Ghana team. They are very quick, agile, very athletic and to come away with the result we had tonight is what you hope for and you don’t necessarily always get in a tournament like this.”

On the match:
“Certainly we were a bit nervous, but that was a good team we beat 4-0 and it didn’t seem like a 4-0 game at the end of the day. We did some good things, but we certainly could be sharper. I think you have to credit Ghana’s athleticism and their organization defensively. It was tough at times. We had to move the ball very, very quickly and they did a good job of pressuring us. We scored some good goals and there were some bits and pieces where we did some really good things, combined well, got behind them and got some chances. But we know we can get better. I think we’ll learn more each game.”

On Maya Hayes scoring a hat trick:

“I couldn’t be happier for Maya. She’s worked very hard and she’s shown what kind of explosiveness she has. We have a lot of forwards that are explosive, but certainly Maya is as explosive as they get. I think she did a really good job of setting up her runs and she finished some really good goals. She’s been playing consistently for the last three months and that’s exciting for us.”

On Japan staging the Women’s World Cup about six months after the tournament was moved from original host Uzbekistan:
“It’s been absolutely first-class from our perspective. Ever since we’ve arrived in Hiroshima, the accommodations, the people and the local organizing committee have been tremendous to us. It doesn’t seem like six months is enough time, but it seems like they’ve been planning for two years the way the tournament has been staged so far.”

On getting off to a good start in the tournament:
“You need to get off to a good start in a tournament like this and we got the result we wanted tonight. For us, it’s trying to see if we can get a little more consistent over the course of 90 minutes. Certainly with our possession, we need to be a little sharper and little better with our decisions. But overall, to come in and get this result against a very good Ghana team is exciting for us and gives us some momentum now.

U.S. forward MAYA HAYES
On winning the first game of the tournament:
“It’s always exciting to come here and play in a World Cup in this atmosphere. We are happy to finally get this tournament started and to come away with three goals is awesome, but I couldn’t do it without my teammates. Just being able to play as a team and play our game in a big game like this is what we take away from this match.”

On playing in the intense heat:
“I think we were prepared really well for it. We’ve had a few training camps in humidity and hot weather. Obviously to actually be here and play in it takes a little getting used to, but for the most part we’ve adjusted well and have been undertaking the strategies that have been given to us to cope with the heat.”

On scoring three goals:
“I think my team brings the best out of me. As a team, we want to work the ball around and play the fastest possession we can play and I think that works to my advantage.”

On getting the nerves out in the first game:
“We can get better from here. In the first game, we got the nerves out, and that’s the best thing, and we are looking forward to better performances in the next games.”

On gaining confidence from the win:
“Our confidence is growing. Obviously being the first game, you go in a little shaky, but as a young team building confidence this is the best we could do and we are in a good spot and we’re looking forward to China.”

On which of her three goals she like the best:
“The favorite of the three? I would probably say…the first one because I don’t usually score with my head. And it was a great buildup how we won it from Ghana and went on the counter.”

U.S. goalkeeper BRYANE HEABERLIN
On the match and the back line:
“Ghana was an awesome team. They were fast, good on the ball, good in the air and our defense did a good job keeping them in front of us and not allowing them to win a lot of balls up top. Julie (Johnston) and Kassey (Kallman) did an amazing job and Molly (Pathman) and Crystal (Dunn) kept them outside and it was awesome.”

U.S. defender JULIE JOHNSTON
On the match:
“This game gave us some great experience and it gave us a great foundation in this tournament, but we still have a lot to learn. Ghana was a great team, they were fast and aggressive and we weren’t quite ready for it at the beginning of the game. But we settled down a little bit which was huge for our team and got that first goal, which relaxed us a little bit.”

U.S. midfielder SAMANTHA MEWIS
On coming off the bench and getting two assists:
“Coming in off the bench, Steve just told me to make sure everyone was keeping it and moving the ball as quickly as they could, playing one- and two-touch and to stop dribbling so much because we were getting caught up in tight situations. I communicated that to the team when I came on and Maya had some great finishes and I think we finished the game stronger than we started, so I was happy to get on the field.”

On getting the ball to Maya Hayes:
“It’s definitely a good thing to get the ball to Maya Hayes. She was on this game and I think it will be a great tournament for her. She’s got a lot of experience and I feel lucky to have her on my team.”

On what the team learned from the match:
“It proves even if we are struggling a little bit, we can figure it out. I think getting this first game under our belt for a lot of the players will get them some confidence and experience and help us the rest of the tournament.”
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