IN FOCUS: JAPAN
Japan Football Association
Current FIFA World Ranking: 4
2015 Women’s World Cup Qualifying: 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Champions
Women’s World Cup Finals Appearances: 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015
Record vs. USA: 1-24-6
Head Coach: Norio Sasaki
Championship Honors: 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions; 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Champions; 2012 Olympic Silver Medalists
Leading Women’s World Cup Qualifying Scorers: Azusa Iwashimizu (2), Nahomi Kawasumi (2), Chinatsu Kira (2), Emi Nakajima (2), Mizuho Sakaguchi (2), Yuki Ogimi (2)
Key Players: Ayumi Kaihori (InAC Kobe Leonessa), Saki Kumagai (Olympique Lyonnais), Aya Miyama (Okayama Yunogo Belle), Homare Sawa (InAC Kobe Leonessa), Yuki Ogimi (VfL Wolfsburg)
Japan Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Miho Fukumoto (Okayama Yunogo Belle), 18-Ayumi Kaihori (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 21-Erina Yamane (JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies)
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Yukari Kinga (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 3-Azusa Iwashimizu (NTV Beleza), 4-Saki Kumagai (Olympique Lyonnais), 5-Aya Sameshima (InAC Kobe Leonssa), 12-Megumi Kamionobe (Albirex niigata Ladies), 19-Saori Ariyoshi (NTV Beleza), 20-Yuri Kawamura (Vegalta Sendai Ladies), 23-Kana Kitahara (Albirex niigata Ladies)
MIDFIELDERS (8): 6-Mizuho Sakaguchi (NTV Beleza), 7-Kozue Ando (1. FFC Frankfurt), 8-Aya Miyama (Okayama Yunogo Belle), 9-Nahomi Kawasumi (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 10-Homare Sawa (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 13-Rumi Utsugi (Montpellier HSC), 14-Asuna Takana (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 22-Asano Nagasato (FFC Turbine Potsdam)
FORWARDS (4): 11-Shinobu Ohno (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 15-Yuika Sugasawa (JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies), 16-Mana Iwabuchi (FC Bayern Munich), 17-Yuki Ogimi (VfL Wolfsburg)
JAPAN ROSTER NOTES
- Japanese captain and 2011 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Homare Sawa is the most capped player on the roster with 203 appearances for Japan. She is competing in her record sixth World Cup; only one of two players in the history of women’s soccer to do so.
- Sawa is also the leading scorer on the Japanese roster. She has scored 83 goals in international play.
- Sawa was the recipient of the Golden Boot and Golden Ball after being named the best player and was the top scorer (5 goals) at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- Four Japanese players made the 2011 FIFA WWC All Star Team: Ayumi Kaihori, Aya Miyama, Shinobu Ohno and Sawa. All four are members of the 2015 FIFA WWC Japanese roster.
- The next leading scorer behind midfielder Sawa is forward Yuki Ogimi, who has scored 54.
- Six players on the roster have played over 100 games for Japan: Azusa Iwashimizu (118), Kozue Ando (126), Aya Miyama (155), Sawa (203), Shinobu Ohno (136) and Ogimi (123).
- Defender Kana Kitahara is the least capped player on the roster with 8.
- Fourteen players that took the field during the last meeting against the USA on Dec. 10, 2014 are part of this World Cup roster, while 15 of the 23 players on this roster were part of the team that defeated the USA in the Final of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup to claim the trophy.
- The average age of the China roster is 28 years old, with 22-year-old Mana Iwabuchi being the youngest and 36-year-old Sawa the oldest.
- Japan ended group play with nine points and a perfect record of 3-0-0, beating Switzerland 1-0, Cameroon 2-1, and Ecuador 1-0. It went on to beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the Round of 16, take down Australia 1-0 in the Quarterfinals and beat England by a score of 2-1, after England’s Laura Bassett scored an own goal in the last minute of stoppage time in the 93rd minute.
- Every player on the Japanese World Cup roster has played at least once in the tournament. Only two players have played in all six games, for all 540 minutes (Miyama and Ogimi).
- This will be Japan’s second Final appearance in a Women’s World Cup, and its seventh overall participation.
USA VS. JAPAN SERIES
- The USA has an all-time record of 24-1-6 against Japan dating back to 1986. They have outscored Japan 87-20.
- The USA and Japan are meeting in a World Cup for the fourth time and second straight time in a final. The last time was during the 2011 final in Frankfurt, Germany. Japan tied the USA twice during the game, once during regulation in the 81st minute after Alex Morgan had scored in the 69th, and again late in extra time after Abby Wambach had scored in the 104th minute of play. The U.S. ended up losing in a shootout, 3-1 on PKs.
- The last meeting between the USA and Japan took place in the 2014 Algarve Cup in Parchal, Portugal, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
- Of the nine matches between the teams since 2011, all but one have been decided by two goals or less.
- The USA’s lone loss to Japan occurred on March 5, 2012 in Faro, Portugal, during the 2012 Algarve Cup, a 1-0 setback. The USA took the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics later in the year after defeating the Japanese 2-1 in the final game.
- Since losing the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup to Japan, the USA has gone 2-2-1 against the Asian nation, outscoring them 8-5. All eight U.S. goals have been scored by players who are part of this current WWC roster: Morgan, Wambach, Carli Lloyd and Sydney Leroux.
- Eleven of the 13 players that took the field for the USA in its last meeting with Japan are part of this World Cup roster.
- Fourteen U.S. players from the 2011 WWCV team are on the 2015 roster. Eleven current players played in the 2011 final (nine started). Both final goal scorers are back (Morgan and Wambach).
- Seventeen Japan players from the 2011 WWC team are on the 2015 roster. All 11 starters from the 2011 final are back, and a total of 13 current players played in the 2011 final. Both final goal scorers are back (Aya Miyama and Homare Sawa).
On the field for the USA vs. JPN:
March 5, 2014 – Belavista Municipal Stadium; Parchal, Portugal
USA 1 Leroux, 59
JPN 1 Miyama, 83
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 6-Whitney Engen, 14-Stephanie Cox; 9-Heather O’Reilly (17-Tobin Heath, 73), 7-Morgan Brian (19-Kristie Mewis, 73), 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe; 23-Christen Press, 2-Sydney Leroux
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Christie Rampone, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 12-Samantha Mewis, 13-Sarah Hagen, 16-Rachel Van Hollebeke, 18-Alyssa Naeher, 20-Abby Wambach, 21-Jill Loyden, 25-Meghan Klingenberg
Head coach: Tom Sermanni
JPN: 21-Erina Yamane; 2-Yukari Kinga, 3-Azusa Iwashimizu, 4-Saki Kumagai, 19-Saori Ariyoshi (5-Aya Sameshima, 38); 6-Mizuho Sakaguchi (22-Nanase Kiryu, 68), 8-Aya Miyama (capt.), 9-Nahomi Kawasumi (16-Mana Iwabuchi, 59), 10-Homare Sawa (13-Rumi Utsugi, 76); 11-Shinobu Ohno, 17-Yuki Ogimi (15-Megumi Takase, 76)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Miho Fukumoto, 7-Kozue Ando, 12-Megumi Kamionobe, 14-Asuna Tanaka, 18-Ayumi Kaihori, 20-Kana Kitahara, 23-Emi Nakajima
Head coach: Norio Sasaki
The last USA training session is done in Canada as the clock ticks down to the 2015 FIFA World Cup Final. The USA trained at BC Place for the requisite one hour session before Jill Ellis and Lauren Holiday attended the pre-game press conference. The WNT will take on Japan in the Final tonight at 7 p.m. ET, televised on FOX and Telemundo.
U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach JILL ELLIS
On the play of the backline:
“Our players have to be defenders first but I definitely want our outside backs to be able to get forward and want our centerbacks to be comfortable on the ball technically. A big part of it is mentality. You have to be a beast back there, sacrifice your body and do whatever it takes. And the relationship with our goalkeeper is critical.”
On Abby Wambach:
“Abby wants to win a World Cup and she’s committed to doing whatever it takes. She told me early on whatever role is needed she would deliver. She has amazing experience and ability in terms of being a prolific goalscorer. We’ve needed her on the field in big moments but also needed to allow other players the opportunity and time to continue to develop. Abby has been exemplary in terms of what she’s given this team and how she’s conducted herself. It’s still the same mindset for her: whatever we need, she’ll deliver.”
On her coaching process during the tournament:
“As a coach you have to have resolve and you have to commit to what you believe in. This is a seven-game tournament and it was never going to be perfect. You just have to commit to what you believe in.”
On defender Becky Sauerbrunn:
“Becky has stepped into a leadership role and she’s now our most veteran starter. Her mentoring of players has been fantastic. She has a great personality and keeps it upbeat and positive. In terms of performance, she’s been a major reason of why we’ve been so steady in the back and good at cutting things off and igniting our attack.”
On young players:
“I said when I picked the roster that you need the balance of youth and energy with experience. [All the young players] have shown very clearly they belong. They’ve had big moments in big games and the future is very bright. There will be transition after this World Cup and moving forward younger players will start to break through even more.”
U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder MEGAN RAPINOE
On the team growing throughout the tournament:
"In the first few games, everyone knew we weren't playing up to our potential. We were giving teams too much space and we were worrying too much about what we should be doing than acting instinctually. But, in the last three games and especially against Germany we've grown into ourselves in the tournament and have felt much more relaxed."
On fan support:
"Even though we're in Canada, these matches have been feeling like we're at home. We have been selling out stadiums and they're packed with mostly U.S. Fans. I can't imagine it being too much different if we were actually in America. We're getting recognized all over Canada and I expect another great U.S. crowd on Sunday."
On competition in the tournament:
"In the last four to five years, every major tournament has continued to get better on a competitive level. We saw it this year with teams like Colombia [beating France and making the second round] and England going to the semifinals. Five years ago I don't think you would have seen that. Teams are getting much better tactically and physically to be able to keep up with some of the teams that have been at the top."
U.S. Women’s National Team defender/midfielder KELLEY O’HARA
On what has worked well for the backline so far this tournament:
“They have been able to build a relationship and that’s huge when you’re playing on the backline. It’s all about how you work with who is in front of you and who is next to you. This group works extremely well together. In general, when this team goes into big tournaments, the collective defending is always a big part of how we do. I think the team defending has been exceptional this World Cup and it starts from the forward line and works its way back. But as the backline they are the last line of defense. They’ve been great."
On her role for the U.S WNT over the last couple of years:
“I have learned many lessons through the past couple of years. My entire experience with the National Team has been about figuring out how to bring out that self-belief and keep the confidence. It’s really difficult to lose it because it’s such an intense environment. There is a lot of competition for starting spots and just minutes in general. I don’t think I used to be very good at it, the confidence, but the past two or three years I had to figure out a way to get through that and to keep the confidence up. I’m really thankful I’ve come to a place where I can do that because I think that it played a big part in this tournament for me personally.”
On the veterans potentially playing in their final World Cup:
“It could be the last World Cup for a couple players, but those are veteran players that have tremendous experience with this team. They know how to set good examples and they are incredible leaders. They steer the ship and keep us focused. Thinking about what it must be like for them realizing these may be their final games would just be really difficult. They’ve done an excellent job of keeping us focused at the task at hand and not just worrying about the other things that are going on.”
U.S. Women’s National Team forward ABBY WAMBACH
On the state of the team after beating Germany:
“I feel an air of confidence with this team right now. We don’t overlook Japan for one second because they are a very organized and good team. The best team will be left standing on Sunday night and of course we hope it’s us. We know it’s going to be a hard fought battle and we have to play well. We have to put together good combinations, good sequences to get goals. I am really proud of the way we have played and got better throughout this tournament. I think our last match against Germany was our best performance.”
On making the Women’s World Cup Final:
“I can’t be happier for this team to be in another final. It’s an achievement of itself but we still have to win. We haven’t won anything yet and we know what that feels like from four years ago. It’s not a good feeling.”
U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder CARLI LLOYD
On making the Women’s World Cup Final:
“I think we have really good momentum. I think we also have really good confidence within our group. But I also think we need to raise our game. This is a final. This is where you put everything on the line, there’s no holding back.”
U.S. Women’s National Team defender CHRISTIE RAMPONE
On facing Japan:
“We definitely have 2011 in the back of our minds. With that said, this is the third time we’ll meet Japan in a final, which is pretty amazing for both federations. They are very composed on the ball. They like to get into the offensive third and get into a good shape, knock the ball around and make the other team defend. They try to break the team down over a period of time. I don’t think they’re going to come out and pressure us like crazy and run around the field. I don’t think they’ll ever change their style. They play great soccer and you have to be patient when you play against them and take your opportunities when they come."
U.S. Women’s National Team defender ALI KRIEGER
On being coached:
"Just because I'm 30 years old and play on the National Team doesn't mean I don't need coaching. I think it's really great that she [Jill Ellis] steps up and says ‘look I expect this from you.’ I'm the type of player that you just have to tell me what you need and I'm going to apply it to the game."
On playing different formations:
"Having a different formation helped us against Germany because of those wide spaces. I was able to get forward and into the attack a little bit more. My first focus was staying defensive because they were such a strong team but I think that it doesn't really matters what formation you play. It's just up to the personnel you have on the field to recognize the spaces they are going to give us. If Japan does clog the middle, then we need to go out wide, if they give us space in the middle then we have to take it. In the first few minutes we'll have to see what they give us. But the focus has to be on us and how we can break them down."
On playing Japan:
"I think playing against one of the best teams in the world is fun. It's a challenge and it's why we're here. Four years ago we were in the final with them as well. It just goes to show you, we have two really strong programs. I'm just so confident in our team. It's just going to be so fun to battle against one of the best teams in the world. This is what it's all about. It just shows that both of our programs are really strong and really confident and that makes it more exciting. You train your entire life for this moment and it's finally here. Obviously, we've thought about these last four years, that last game. This is especially why it's exciting, to have an opportunity to be successful this time around."
U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder HEATHER O’REILLY
On everyone playing a role:
“Obviously this is a very deep team, a very talented team. The coaches did a good job at the beginning talking about how this is going to take 23 players and every one of us has the same goal. We all want to win this thing and everybody is doing everything that they can to make sure that the team does that. As a veteran player I try to give bits of advice to some of the younger players that maybe haven’t been here at this level. But mostly I just try to carry myself with a positive attitude for the team and I’m ready for any role.”
On the keys to facing Japan:
“I think bringing our best self. Playing our best soccer. This team is special. This team is very talented, aggressive, fantastic goal scorers. I think if we bring our best self, we’re going to have a lot of success.”
On comparing this team to past WWC teams she’s been on:
“I’ve been fortunate to have been part of some very talented teams in the past. It’s hard to compare. I will say I think this team is deeper than perhaps ever before. There is an incredible talent pool on this team and so many different skill sets and everybody is willing to do whatever role to help the team win.”
On the team's mindset heading into the Final:
“It’s important to stay present. We have a really important 48 hours ahead of us. We’ve all talked about staying present and not wasting any energy thinking about anything outside of this tournament. So all of my energy, all of my strength is going towards being the best for this game."
The #USWNT will face Japan in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final on Sunday. Prior to the match, FIFA announced the shortlists of tournament awards highlighted by four United States Women’s National Team players along with three players from the Japanese team they will meet in the final.
U.S. WNT candidates for the Golden Ball are defender Julie Johnston, midfielder Carli Lloyd and midfielder Megan Rapinoe. Johnston has played every minute as a member of the U.S. backline that is carrying a 513-minute shutout streak and has allowed just one goal through six games. Hope Solo is also among three candidates for the Golden Glove awarded to the top net-minder in the tournament, an honor she won at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Japanese goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori was also nominated for the Golden Glove. Solo has allowed just one goal through six matches and has played an integral role in the U.S. shutout streak. She’s been an immense presence on a well-organized backline and been a crucial part of the USA’s defensive resolve throughout the tournament. With another shutout, Solo would have 11 in Women’s World Cup play and set an all-time tournament record. Kaihori has allowed three goals in four appearances.
Lloyd has scored a goal in the last three knockout round matches for the U.S. including two game-winners. The veteran midfielder opened her scoring in the tournament against Colombia converting a penalty kick. The following match, Lloyd notched the game-winning header against China off a Johnston service. Most recently, Lloyd buried her second PK of the tournament in a 2-0 victory over Germany adding an assist on Kelley O’Hara’s first international goal.
Rapinoe was the game changer for the United States in their opening match of the World Cup scoring two goals in America’s 3-1 victory over Australia. She’s notched an assist as well and despite being suspended for the quarterfinal due to yellow card accumulation, has been a consistently dynamic threat up and down the wing for the USA.
Saori Ariyoshi and Aya Miyama are the Japanese candidates for Golden Ball. Ariyoshi scored the first goal in Japan’s 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in the Round of 16. Miyama has played every minute for Japan scoring two goals and adding two assists including the game-winning assist to help her team advance to the quarterfinals.
Sunday’s match features the two oldest teams in the history of the Women’s World Cup tournament with the U.S averaging 29-years-old and six months and Japan having the average age of 28-years-old and five months.
Neither team has any players eligible for the Young Player Award, however the youngest player on the roster for the U.S. WNT, Morgan Brian at age 22 has made a major impact in the tournament starting three matches for the U.S. and allowing Lloyd to take on a more attacking role through the knockout stages.
Japan’s youngest player, also 22, is Mana Iwabuchi, who has been a second half spark for the Japanese scoring the game-winning goal in Japan’s 1-0 victory over Australia in the quarterfinals.
The winners including the Golden, Silver and Bronze Boots for the tournament’s top scorers and the FIFA Fair Play Award will be announced after the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final on July 5. The match will kickoff at 4 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted on FOX and Telemundo.
Post-Game Quote Sheet: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Guatemala
July 3, 2015
U.S. MNT head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
Thoughts on the match:
“Well first of all, we all would like to thank Nashville and this crowd. What amazing support. What an amazing atmosphere – 44,000 in a friendly at this time when our women’s team will play in the World Cup a few days from now, it was really wonderful to see. A big thank you to everyone for coming out there today.
Result? Nice. Obviously 4-0 sounds really nice. Performance? Not so nice. I’m not happy with that performance. I’m kind of disappointed with a couple things: movement off the ball, speed of play, urgency … things that we talked about before were not executed the way we wanted them to be executed. We were lucky to not get a tie, certainly at the beginning of the second half. If it’s 1-1, it’s a whole different ball game. It looks really nice at 4-0, but we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
On the importance of the friendly before the Gold Cup:
“It was very, very useful. I’m really glad that we had the opportunity to go out there tonight and see where everybody is. We had some very positive performances in some ways and some not so positive performances. We have to talk to the players in a team context and also talk to them on an individual basis and take it from there. We have four days to prepare for a game against Honduras. If you guys had a chance to watch them play Mexico two days ago, you can expect a very, very nasty game from Honduras, a very aggressive and difficult game. We’ll talk through that the next couple of days. We have to step it up. We have to step it up in order to get three points on Tuesday night.”
On issues the team had against Guatemala:
"I think we gave some chances away that we can’t afford at the international level – too easy, just too easy. Also, we didn’t create enough. We didn’t find ways to play quickly with our forwards. The forwards were not able to combine with the midfield, make themselves available, and move off the ball more and to cause more issues at the back. It’s all connected. Every piece is connected and that’s where we have to improve over the next couple of days.
On if he has his lineup set for Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener vs. Honduras:
“We have a very good roster together here and a clear idea of how we’ll approach Honduras on Tuesday night. As I said before, it was extremely important for us to see the guys out there and give them all their minutes. It was important to get a clear picture right away where everybody stands. It’s a very tricky preparation for the competition because our European and Mexican-based players are coming from a break and MLS is in full swing, but also our MLS players had a couple issues. This is what we’ve got to go through, and the next couple of days we’ll get everyone on the same page and face a very tough Honduran team on Tuesday night.
On Clint Dempsey’s goal boosting his confidence heading into the Gold Cup:
“Well for strikers, it’s always about getting the goal. He got the goal. I think that kind of helped and lifted him. We saw that after the goal, he kind of got a better rhythm and he was more mobile, but as I said at the beginning, both strikers – Jozy and Clint – were not really connected for most of the game until the second or third goal came. Until then it wasn’t really the case.”
On individual performances that stuck out:
“There were definitely some players that looked sharp, looked focused, looked in very good shape and knew what was coming up. Coming up is three and a half weeks that’s a grind that will get more difficult every game than the one before. I think Fabian Johnson had a couple very positive runs down the left. Timmy Chandler had a good game. John Brooks is growing. He’s becoming far more mature, he’s becoming a leader. Ventura Alvarado, when he came in, played a solid game. Michael Bradley was all over the place trying to connect the pieces. Gyasi Zardes had a lot of good energy going forward, but defensively we try to teach him, which is a work in progress. There are definitely good things. and there are things we need to work on.
On why Kyle Beckerman and Alejandro Bedoya didn’t appear in the match:
“I needed to see some players. I don’t need to see Kyle. Kyle gives you always 1000 percent. He knows his role. He just proved it in Holland and Germany. I wanted to see different pieces there. Alejandro is still coming from a longer break and still has a lot of work ahead of him physically to get in the same condition as some other guys. We’ll work that as much as we can in training.
U.S. MNT forward CLINT DEMPSEY
On putting his penalty kick up the middle:
“I’ve done it sometimes. Sometimes you can see the ‘keeper cheating a little bit going early. It’s always something to have in your locker when you feel it’s going to be on to try it. It worked.”
On playing his first game following suspension:
“It’s always good to play. It’s always good to be with the National Team. I’m excited to play in the Gold Cup. I want to make sure we win it and qualify for the Confederations Cup.”
On Michael Bradley being named captain for the Gold Cup:
"It’s cool. Michael is a great leader. He deserves to be captain, and for me I’m just excited to be part of the team that is trying to push to win the Gold Cup and be a part of the Confederations Cup. I got to experience being captain during the World Cup, and for me that was something special and I’ll always remember it, but it’s never been a big thing for me to be captain. Even with my club team in Seattle I’m not the captain. For me it’s just about the team and just trying to win and win games and trying to do something special.”
On his suspension:
“That’s something I’ve put behind me. I’ve talked with my teammates, talked with coaches. I’m just focused on moving forward, focused on the Gold Cup and making sure we win it and putting ourselves in a position to make sure we’re qualifying for the Confederations Cup.”
On the team’s overall performance:
“It’s always good to win, always good to get goals, always good to get a shutout, but we expect a lot of our team. We know that we can be better. We know that we’re going to have to be sharper to win the Gold Cup and make sure we hit the ground running the first game against Honduras.”
U.S. MNT captain MICHAEL BRADLEY
On what the team got out of the match:
“It’s important to get 90 minutes under our belt, and the result was certainly good. Now we can get ourselves to Dallas and get ready for the tournament. These games are always tricky. The most important thing is to get through it and everybody’s healthy and it’s still a good result. We scored some goals, and we understand that there are some things that need to be better and need to be improved on and they will be.”
On the MNT being the perceived favorite to win the Gold Cup:
“We don’t pay too much attention to what gets said on the outside. We understand that to win this tournament we’re going to need to improve as the tournament goes on, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to do that.”
On being the captain:
“I said before the game, it’s a huge honor. It’s a big responsibility and one that I’m very, very excited about, but who I am and what I’m about on the field and off the field with this team doesn’t change whether I’m captain or not. We’re always lucky with this team that we have a number of guys who come in and are big personalities and are ready to take responsibility: myself, Clint [Dempsey], Jozy [Altidore], Brad Guzan, and encourage some of the younger ones who now have started to get a taste of all this to take a bigger role. There’s a feeling amongst the entire group that we’re in something together and that’s how it should be.”
U.S. MNT defender TIMMY CHANDLER
On his goal:
“I just got the ball back from DeAndre [Yedlin] and then I tried to finish with my left foot. I just tried to finish and the ball flew very well and it was a nice feeling when I saw the ball go into the goal.”
“That was definitely one of my better all time goals. I have scored five goals in my career and four with the left. It was an amazing feeling to score my first goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team. I’m proud that we won this game today and now we have to go to the Gold Cup and move forward.”
On how the game went for the team:
“I think good. We needed like 10-15 minutes to come into the game, but after that I think we played very well together. We had a lot of new players that changed after the last camp, but we got into the game and we played well and we scored four goals, which was very important and we did not give up a goal, so we’ll try to carry those positives over into the Gold Cup.”
U.S. MNT goalkeeper BRAD GUZAN
Thoughts on the match:
“I think all of us as players, we’re not naïve to think that we were unbelievable tonight. We know there are areas where we need to sharpen things up. We know there are areas where we need to clean things up. In saying that, going forward from here on out it’s about results. I think winning is a mentality – it’s contagious. It was important that we kept that going from two great wins in Europe. Although it wasn’t our best performance, it was important that we found a way to win, which we did. We created a number of chances which was obviously a credit to our strikers and attacking players and on top of it, we did get a clean sheet. Although it wasn’t our best performance, we found a way to get a win. In this type of tournament, you need to do that sometimes.”
On Guatemala’s attack early in the second half:
“Obviously they brought on some good players at halftime and we knew they would at some point. Guys like Carlos Ruiz, [Marco] Pappa, these guys, we know them. We know what they’re about. They bring an element of quality to their team and we knew the second half was going to be different from the first half, especially with them making changes. We weathered that storm a little bit and at the same time we were able to go down to the other end and score some goals.”
On the team’s defending on set pieces:
“From my point of view we’ll want to look at that and make sure we’re organized. If teams are going to sit back and look to counter and look to get set pieces and fouls and put balls into the box, we need to make sure we’re sharp and organized. If I’m being completely honest, there were times I thought we weren’t as organized as we should have been and we got away with one or two. We’ll definitely look at the video, we’ll iron that out, and from my point of view that’ll be one of the areas we’ll want to look at.”
On the atmosphere in Nashville:
“Unbelievable. I was fortunate enough to come here in ’09. The atmosphere was awesome and this tonight surpassed that. The fans were unbelievable, the atmosphere was great and every time we’ve come here we’ve been welcomed with open arms. Especially with the forecast for tonight, to have the support that we did was phenomenal.”
On his communication with the back four:
“Obviously there are a lot of us that are coming from different parts. Whether it’s European players that are coming off a two-week break, whether it’s MLS guys that are now coming back into the picture. It’s just a matter of ironing out those details. Obviously communication helps, but at the same time you try to understand what guys are about and what their strengths are. You try to play towards certain guys’ strengths and going forward we’ll try to do that.”
On earning the clean sheet:
“Obviously you read the reports from you guys. We went through a spell last fall when we were playing games in Europe and we conceded late goals and everyone was making a big deal about it. For us as players, whether it’s the first minute or the 90th minute, we try to be solid and hard to play against and mentally we have to be focused and switched on to make sure we don’t concede late, especially in a game like this because as scoring goals is contagious and winning is a habit, so are clean sheets. You want to start picking those up in terms of not conceding goals. It’s nice to not have to pick the ball out of the back of the net.”