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U.S. Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann: “I think overall the program is on another level now.”

Jurgen Klinsmann Quote Sheet
Bahia, Brazil
Dec. 4, 2013

On 2013 accomplishments on the field:
“I think throughout the year in 2013, it was great to see players improve on a more consistent basis. You know players understand now that in order to get to their highest level they need to put in more work. Consistency is a key word, and I think we were far more consistent. The players also understand that they have to perform when they come into camp. They have to perform every time they step on the field. They have to perform in a sense of what they are doing for the team.”

“It was great to see in a stretch of 23 games throughout 2013, we had many different formations and many different players. The Gold Cup had different characteristics than the World Cup Qualifying games or friendly games, but whoever got on the field understood more and more his role, understood the urgency that we preach and they understood that is more than just playing on the field. It requires a 24/7 mindset to be a National Team player. I think overall the program is on another level now. “

On changing the culture since his arrival in 2011:
“What we try to do is make it clear to everyone that it is down to your performance. It’s down to you delivering product at the end of the day. We observe you on the field, but also off the field. We evaluate and tell you what we think about you. I think in the stretch of the last two and a half years you can see they are more accountable for what they are doing. They are more responsible about what they are doing. Obviously they have the big dream of going to Brazil and that helps eventually, but I think they understand that being a professional soccer player is far more than just playing games.  Therefore we created a performance based culture, an accountability based culture, and not only with the players but also with the staff. The coaches, the physios … whoever is involved, whoever is close to the players. It’s the same philosophy. If they have an issue and don’t perform or take it sloppy, there are thousands people who want to be part of the program.  I think we stepped it up in terms of accountability.

On the plans of the coaching staff in the upcoming months:
“We want to observe our players week in and week out no matter where they’re playing. We have a close eye on them, and then decide by May who is going to be the 23 for Brazil.” 

On the moments that stood out in 2013:
“The highlight really for us coaches was to see that players really got serious about what they’re doing and still enjoying and still having fun, still having a smile on their faces and understanding no matter what problems we’re dealing with, there is always a solution.  At least we try to find a solution. We never had the same team on the field for the most part. We always had injuries, we always had players missing, but there was no complaining about it. There were no finding excuses, and I think the real big thing about 2013 was that hunger to say ‘what is next? What is our next challenge?’ If you play in snow like in Denver, just embrace it and do your best and just try to beat the opponent. If it’s Germany in a friendly, or the qualifiers in Seattle with 45,000 people making noise, or playing in Columbus and “dos a cero” against Mexico, it’s great to see the players going for it. It’s great to see them having that hunger to say we want to be a special team and challenge bigger nations. We want to win trophies, which we did with the Gold Cup team.  All the little highlights make a bigger picture; we are there to get challenged, we’re never satisfied and we never settle.  I think everyone slowly has started to understand whatever is done is done and the next challenge is the bigger one.  If you want to survive in the World Cup, you can’t get satisfied or content for one second. The moment you get content, they’re going to send you home.  This is something we have to learn. We have to say it was good game on the weekend but what’s next, whose next?  We need to challenge the next big opponent, so therefore I think the big highlight is the culture that we created to ask what is next.”

On the World Cup Draw:
“It’s really exciting because you can feel it, you know what to expect, and you have those three opponents for the group stage.  You can start making plans; you can start analyzing the teams and get familiar with the locations where you play them. You get to work. That’s what you love to do, and we want to do everything possible and be perfectly prepared for those three opponents and also already look ahead to what we can expect in the Round of 16 if we pass the group stage.  This real thing - this is what you work for two and a half years..  The process starts now. You need to lead them six months in advance in terms of what they’re going to expect and to make sure that they are ready because once you kick off the first game they’re going be emotionally going 200 miles per hour. “

On the value of having experienced players for the World Cup:
“I think experience is important in terms of knowing what to expect, from players to the coaching staff that have already been there.  From a players’ perspective, it helps if a player has played in World Cup or two, but it also helps to have surprising elements in your team that other nations maybe don’t know yet.   You get a sense of who is really hungry, determined and ready to go beyond his capabilities in the World Cup. Experience helps, but it’s not necessary in a player’s perspective. “

On the importance of the upcoming January Camp:
“It’s important to see how they pick it up right away in the beginning of their MLS season, and obviously it’s a special season because it’s a World Cup year. Once this camps starts, the clock is ticking towards the camp in the middle of May. We will monitor them on a daily basis, and we want to see how prepared they are already for the January camp. Are they up to speed? Are they prepared for it?  It’s not vacation; it’s serious stuff.  For us it will be really important to see how serious they take it, where they are at, and then help them through the process towards the World Cup. Therefore we are grateful for that January camp because we’re going to use it as a preparation camp for Brazil.”

On the 2013 MLS Cup:
“I think we all can expect an exciting game. Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake both had tremendous years. They played very consistent, very tremendous football. It’s fun to watch them, and they have a philosophy that is in sync with the way we look at the game.  They want to have possession, they want to dictate the game, they want to play high tempo and they want to play high pressure. Both teams are really creative to watch and to see them come through going to the final is deserved. For us, it’s exciting because we have four national team players, two on each side, that are constantly with us and in a certain way role models.  You take Matt Besler and Graham Zusi, two players that came through the January camp, and with Kyle Beckerman you have someone with a lot of experience and who is what I like to say a giver to the game. Nick Rimando is also such a positive character, and it’s great to see those four compete in that final and great to see two teams that really deserve to be in there. Hopefully it’s not going to be too cold in Kansas that day and they can play a good game. “

On four National Team players playing in MLS Cup:
“I think all four players are good examples on how you can make it to the next level if you’re serious about your job. All four are always looking to improve and they want to do the extra work. They want to go the extra mile.  These players are good examples to mention to the next generation of players on how to get to the next level. “

On the recognition he has received for his performance as head coach:
“I think for a coach the highest recognition is when a player gives you feedback like thanking you for getting them to another level. You want to have a positive feedback from the group of players you work with, but you’re also always measured by success so you have to get results. You have to qualify for the World Cup. You have to win a Gold Cup.  Overall, you want to see an improvement when it really matters, which is in a World Cup. You want to see players go into a World Cup who have the confidence to challenge the so called big nations around the world, and not only getting the result but doing it in a way that connects people to that program. We want to get people excited and inspire fans and the next generation of players. If you step it up, yourself you can get to wherever you want to get to.  It’s an ongoing process that you never stop.”

On Jozy Altidore being named the 2013 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year:
“I’m excited for Jozy getting that award. First of all he deserves it, and secondly he is still a young player. We always think of Jozy being around forever, but he’s 24 years old. He learned his lessons, he still in the process of it and now he is getting a lesson at Sunderland to be patient. He has frustrating moments, but he takes that challenge positively.  He deserves that award and I can’t wait to start working with him and leading him towards the World Cup. He’s going to be huge.”

U.S. MNT Allocated to Pot 3 for 2014 FIFA World Cup Final Draw

CHICAGO (Dec. 3, 2013) – The U.S. Men’s National Team was allocated to Pot 3, joining its fellow CONCACAF teams and Asia teams heading into the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final Draw on Friday. Coverage of the Final Draw begins at 11 a.m. ET on WatchESPN, Univision and Univision Deportes, and ESPN2’s coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Pot 3 includes the USA, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras, and Asian Football Confederation sides Australia, Iran, Japan and Korea Republic. Pot 1 consists of the host team (Brazil) and the top seven FIFA-ranked teams from October: Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay and Switzerland.

Below are pots for Friday’s FIFA World Cup Draw:

  • Pot 1: Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay and Switzerland
  • Pot 2: Chile, Ecuador, Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria
  • Pot 3: Australia, Iran, Japan, Republic of Korea, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and USA
  • Pot 4: Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, Greece, England, Croatia, France, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Russia

The draw procedures begin by drawing one ball from Pot 4 (containing a European team) and placing it into Pot 2 to balance eight teams in each pot. Pot 1 will be emptied beginning with Brazil, and teams will be allocated to position 1 of Groups A through H, sequentially.

With the addition of the European team to Pot 2, that pot will contain teams from three different qualification zones. Then the four seeded South American teams will be placed in an ancillary pot (Pot X). One of the four teams will be drawn from Pot X, and the group of the South American team that is drawn will determine the group in which the European team from Pot 2 will join.

Next, Pot 2 will be emptied, beginning with the European ball, and that team will join the group of the South American team drawn from Pot X. The remaining teams will be allocated to Groups A through H, sequentially.

Pots 3 and 4 will then be emptied in order, and the positions within Groups A through H will be drawn for all teams in Pots 2, 3 and 4.

For more information about the FIFA Final Draw, visit FIFA.com.

Jurgen Klinsmann Reviews 2013

U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann reviews 2013 as the USA gets ready to learn its World Cup group at the FIFA World Cup Draw in Brazil.

MNT Weekend Rewind: Jermaine Back on the Board, Cherundolo Back in Action

This past weekend, numerous U.S. Men’s National Team players put in positive performances for clubs across Europe. From scoring goals to not allowing them and everything in between, here’s a rundown of notable performances by Yanks abroad.

Highlights of the weekend action from MNT players abroad:

  • Jermaine Jones hit a cannon of a shot that provided the insurance for Schalke in a 3-0 win against Stuttgart. The goal was the first for Jones in a Schalke uniform since he tallied against Galatasary in the Champions League last February, and his first in league play since September of 2012.
  • Steve Cherundolo returned to the field for the first time since May, entering as a substitute as Hannover posted a 2-0 shutout against Frankfurt.
  • Speaking of first minutes, Brek Shea earned his first Premier League action of the campaign when he played the final 30 minutes for Stoke City in their 4-0 loss at Everton.
  • Tim Howard collected his seventh shutout of the campaign, equaling the current English Premier League best mark, as Everton now sits fifth place in the table.
  • Michael Bradley started for Roma in a 1-1 draw at Atalanta, which kept his side in second place. Bradley has now appeared in all but one Serie A match for which he was available this season.

The coming week promises to deliver more action for U.S. MNT players as there are a bevy of mid-week English Premier League matches on NBCSN Live Extra, including Howard and Everton visiting Manchester United (Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET), Shea and his Stoke City teammate Geoff Cameron hosting Cardiff City (Wednesday, 2:45 ET) and Jozy Altidore’s Sunderland welcoming Chelsea to the Stadium of Light (Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET.).

Across the Channel, Alejandro Bedoya and Nantes face a double-game week, first welcoming Valenciennes to Bretagne before traveling to Marseille on Friday (4:45 p.m. ET, beIN Sport).

A chance for silverware will be on hand when Graham Zusi, Matt Besler and Sporting Kansas City take on Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando and Real Salt Lake in the 18th edition of MLS Cup, which will air Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN and UniMas.

Jurgen Klinsmann Q&A: “It’s going to be a World Cup packed with quality.”

Upon completion of World Cup Qualifying, ussoccer.com hears from U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann as the USA turns its focus toward the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil next summer.

ussoccer.com: Share your thoughts on completing your first Hexagonal and finishing top of the group:
Jurgen Klinsmann: “Looking back at the [Hexagonal] and finishing on top of the group is something we worked hard for. I think we deserve to be no. 1 right now in the CONCACAF region. It’s not an easy road as everyone knows. Looking at Mexico now, I think there’s a lot of lessons to be learned in how fast it can go in the other direction.

“Therefore, we are very pleased. We put a lot of energy and enthusiasm in it. We know that we still have to improve a lot because when you go to the World Cup you face many different dimensions of countries, but the team proved that they were eager and hungry to take things seriously and go into these Central American countries, or even Jamaica, with the willingness to go for three points.”

ussoccer.com: What kind of experience did the players take away from the final group match against Panama?
JK: “I think what we experienced in Panama is quite unique. There are comparisons to other games that get decided in the last minute. It’s always dramatic, but the experience in Panama City was just beyond imagination because there’s a whole country feeling the fact that you almost qualified, you’re right there for the first ever time in their history, and then with Graham [Zusi’s] goal basically you silence an entire stadium, an entire nation dreaming about the World Cup. That has been a shock to us as well.

“When you look a little bit deeper into this whole case, when you lose a game like that in the last minute, when you give it away, there are reasons for it. I think that Panama simply got carried away emotionally after they scored their second goal. They emotionally thought, ‘OK, we are there now.’ They almost switched off, they almost thought, ‘OK, these couple minutes, it doesn’t really matter anymore,’ instead of refocusing and saying, ‘OK, we kick the ball in the stands, we’re going to bunker in, we’re going to play on time, and let’s just get it over with.’ They got carried away emotionally, and you can’t afford doing that on that level, therefore it happened and you feel very sorry for them.”

ussoccer.com: What do you see when you look at the results of FIFA World Cup Qualifying around the world?
JK: “If you look around the world and you look at all the teams already now being qualified and the ones in the playoffs for it, there’s really no big surprise. There’s the teams you expected to go to Brazil are pretty much there. In Europe, it’s going to be a tough playoff situation, but you expect Uruguay to go through, you expect Mexico to go through. Therefore, you’re going to face all the big soccer nations around the globe in Brazil, and I think it went according to plan in a certain way for many people. It’s going to be a World Cup packed with quality.”

ussoccer.com: In the last two years, the MNT has played against quite a few teams that have qualified for the 2014 World Cup. What are the benefits of playing such a difficult friendly schedule ?
JK: “I think it’s a big plus that we played a lot of those nations in friendlies over the last two years that we might face in Brazil because they give you a different benchmark. That’s why I always said if we can get good teams to play against, let’s get them and let’s get the experience. Hopefully we’re going to beat them once in a while, but if we lose those matches like what happened with Belgium or in France then so be it. You get a learning lesson with that. I think we learned a lot from those games. Especially we learned the fact that we can play with them, which should give us a bit more confidence.”

ussoccer.com: What are your thoughts on the upcoming World Cup Draw in Brazil on Dec. 6:
JK: “Looking at Pot no. 1 and the seeding of the World Cup, it kind of makes you think a little bit, if this is the right way to do it. You have to find a way hopefully to make everybody happy. It’s not going to happen, nobody will be happy with everything. But, when you have a Pot no. 1, you expect countries in there that really proved it in World Cups, in the history of the World Cup. Now you see teams that haven’t really done that much in previous World Cups and you wonder ‘Why is it that way now?’

“The consequence is that you will have a couple of groups getting drawn on Dec. 6 in Brazil that are Groups of Death that will be killer groups; there’s not even one easy team or whatever. Then you will find maybe two or three groups that are much easier, at least on paper easier. It’s unbalanced now with that seeding procedure and it will cause a lot of question marks, a lot of discussion and debate once the groups are finalized. It is what it is, but I’m not very happy with it.”

ussoccer.com: The MNT will finish 2013 with friendlies against Scotland and Austria. What are you looking forward to most about those matches?
JK: “Playing Scotland and playing Austria, you’re playing two countries that just missed it to go to the World Cup. They’re really good. Scotland beat Croatia and sent them into second spot [in Group A], into the playoffs, and Austria just by very little finished off third in a group with Germany and Sweden there. They will give us real games. It will help us to see our players and where we’re at against very good teams.

“The fact that MLS scheduled their playoffs according to our schedule is a tremendous plus. It’s very respectful and gives us a chance to take some MLS players with us to Europe. How many we’ll take, we’ll see. We’ll see how things are going for every individual player. But, I think it’s a really good sign from MLS looking at our schedule, respecting the FIFA fixture dates there and giving us the option to take MLS players to Europe.”

U.S. MNT Stuns Panama with Two Stoppage-Time Goals, Equals Best Hexagonal Performance with 3-2 Victory

  • USA Finishes Atop CONCACAF with 22 Points, Matching 2005 Hexagonal Point Total
  • Aron Johannsson Scores Winner in Third Minute of Stoppage Time, Preceded by Graham Zusi’s Equalizer One Minute Earlier
  • Michael Orozco Tallies Second-Half Goal for his First in World Cup Qualifying
  • U.S. MNT Next Faces Scotland on Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. ET; Broadcast Live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas

PANAMA CITY (Oct. 15, 2013) – The U.S. Men’s National Team shattered Panama’s hopes of a berth to the 2014 FIFA World Cup – and kept Mexico’s alive – with two stoppage-time goals to rally for a 3-2 victory at Estadio Rommel Fernandez.

Down 2-1 after a Luis Tejada strike in the 83rd minute, the U.S. got the late goals from Graham Zusi and second-half substitute Aron Johannsson, playing in only his fourth game with the U.S. MNT. Zusi’s equalizer came in the second minute of stoppage time, while Johannsson’s game-winner came a minute later.

With the victory, the U.S. MNT equals its best performance in FIFA World Cup Qualifying with a 7-2-1 record and 22 points, matching its point total from the 2005 Hexagonal.

For a few minutes, Mexico’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup were on life support, only to be saved by Zusi’s equalizing strike. If the U.S. would have lost to Panama, Mexico, who lost to Costa Rica 2-1 this evening, would have finished in fifth place and missed out on their first World Cup since 1982. With the U.S. win in the final minutes, Mexico was assured a fourth place finish ahead of Panama. The USA’s rivals will now play the two-game Intercontinental Playoff against New Zealand on Nov. 15 and 19, with the aggregate winner advancing to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The USA finishes atop the CONCACAF region, followed by Costa Rica (5-2-3, 18 points), Honduras (4-3-3, 15 points), Mexico (2-3-5, 11 points), Panama (1-4-5, 8 points) and Jamaica (0-5-5, 5 points). The top three teams automatically qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Next up, the U.S. travels to Glasgow to face Scotland on Nov. 15 and Vienna to face Austria on Nov. 19. The game against Scotland kicks off at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas. The Austria match will kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. Fans can also follow the games on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.

The USA fell behind early as the U.S. had several errant passes and clearances on the damp pitch prior to Panama’s opening goal to open the door. In the 18th minute, U.S. left back Edgar Castillo had a giveaway and Panama countered with Alberto Quintero starting the attack to Marcos Sanchez, who laid the ball off above the box to Gabriel Torres. Torres’ right-footed shot was whipped into the lower left corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead as U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan had little chance to stop the attempt.

It stayed that way until Michael Orozco scored off of a Brad Davis corner kick in the 64th minute to tie the score at 1-1. While it was not clear if Orozco or Panama’s Carlos Rodriguez truly deflected the ball in, Orozco was quick to celebrate the tally that found the right side of the frame for the third goal of his career. It was Orozco’s first goal in qualifying as he made just his second appearance in this qualifying cycle.

With Mexico trailing in its match against Costa Rica, Panama moved back into the Intercontinental Playoff position when Luis Tejada scored a dramatic 83rd-minute goal for a 2-1 lead. Roberto Chen crossed the ball in from the right side of the box. Guzan deflected the cross, but the ball went directly to Tejada who slotted it home to rile up the Estadio Rommel Fernandez crowd.

The USA spoiled Panama’s party with the late heroics of Zusi and Johannsson. Approximately 90 seconds into second-half stoppage time, second-half sub Brad Davis looped his left-footed cross over the Panamanian defense and timed up perfectly with Zusi, who headed the ball into the left side of the net to tie the score at 2-2.

One minute later, with things looking like it would end in a stalemate, Guzan punted the ball deep to Terrence Boyd on the right side. He settled, took a couple of touches and saw Johannsson a few yards above the box. Johannsson lined up from 19 yards out and buried his low shot into the left side of the frame past diving Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo for the game-winner.

The U.S. MNT added to its record-breaking win total to improve to 16-3-2 in 2013. The USA is now 11-1-2 all-time against Panama and 3-0-1 on Panamanian soil.

Additional Notes:

  • U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann made seven starting lineup changes from the USA’s lineup against Jamaica on Oct. 11. The four same starters against Panama were Jozy Altidore at the top of a 4-5-1 formation, midfielders Alejandro Bedoya and Mix Diskerud, and defender Brad Evans.
  • Altidore wore the captain’s armband for the first time in his U.S. MNT career.
  • Goalkeeper Brad Guzan made his first appearance since he split duties with Tim Howard during the USA’s 4-2 loss to Belgium on May 29. It marked Guzan’s first start since he made three saves during the U.S. MNT’s scoreless draw against Mexico on March 26 at Estadio Azteca.
  • Guzan moved to 2-1-1 in 2013 and 10-7-3 in his U.S. MNT career. For just the third time in his eight World Cup Qualifying appearances, Guzan allowed a goal. He has five clean sheets in qualifying.
  • Edgar Castillo got the call at left back for his first start in World Cup Qualifying. It marked his fourth cap during this qualifying cycle and the 15th international game of his career. Clarence Goodson and Michael Orozco were paired at center back and Evans at right back.
  • Midfielder Sacha Kljestan earned his first start since May 29 against Belgium and his first start in this World Cup Qualifying cycle. Kyle Beckerman and Graham Zusi, who came off the bench to score the game-winner against Jamaica, also started in the midfield.
  • Brad Davis made his fourth appearance in this World Cup Qualifying cycle when he replaced Evans in the 56th minute. Bedoya dropped from the midfield to right back.
  • Aron Johannsson made his third appearance in qualifying and fourth career cap when he subbed for Diskerud in the 62nd minute.
  • Terrence Boyd made his third qualifying appearance in this cycle and 10th cap of his career when he replaced Altidore in the 76th minute.
  • Klinsmann is now 27-9-6 since joining the U.S. MNT in 2011. Klinsmann moves ahead of Steve Sampson (26-22-14 record from 1995-98) for sole possession of fourth place on the USA’s all-time winning coaches list. Klinsmann is three victories behind third-place Bora Milutinovic (30-35-31 record from 1991-95).
-U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Panama
Date: Oct. 15, 2013
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Final Round
Venue: Estadio Rommel Fernandez; Panama City, Panama
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. CT
Attendance: 18,254
Weather: 81 degrees, rain

Scoring Summary:    1      2      F
USA                            0      3      3
PAN                            1      1      2

PAN – Gabriel Torres (Marcos Sánchez)                   18th minute
USA – Michael Orozco (Brad Davis)                         64
PAN – Luis Tejada                                                 83
USA – Graham Zusi (Brad Davis)                             90+2
USA – Aron Johannsson (Terrence Boyd)                 90+3

Lineups:
USA: 12-Brad Guzan; 6-Brad Evans (15-Brad Davis, 56), 21-Clarence Goodson, 3-Michael Orozco, 2-Edgar Castillo; 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 23-Kyle Beckerman, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 8-Mix Diskerud (9-Aron Johannsson, 62), 19-Graham Zusi; 17-Jozy Altidore (capt.) (14-Terrence Boyd, 76)
Subs Not Used: 1-Sean Johnson, 22-Nick Rimando, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 20-Geoff Cameron
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

PAN:  1-Jaime Penedo, 4-Carlos Rodriguez (22-Jairo Jimenez, 72), 5-Roman Torres, 23-Felipe Baloy (capt.), 17-Luis Henriquez, 6-Gabriel Gomez (2-Roberto Chen, 72), 21-Amilcar Henriquez, 8-Marcos Sanchez (18-Luis Tejada, 78), 19-Alberto Quintero, 7-Blas Perez, 9-Gabriel Torres
Subs Not Used: 3-Harold Cummings, 10-Eybir Bonaga, 11-Yairo Glaize, 12-Luis Mejia, 13-Richard Dixon, 14-Juan Perez, 15-Alex Rodriguez, 16-Rolando Blackburn, 20-Anibal Godoy 
Head Coach: Julio Dely Valdes

Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots: 12 / 8
Shots on Goal: 7 / 5
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 7 / 8
Offside: 4 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
PAN – Luis Tejada (caution)                              84th minute
PAN – Luis Tejada (sent off)       90+

Officials:
Referee: Courtney Campbell (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Garnet Page (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Kedlee Powell (JAM)
Fourth Official: Jeffrey Solis (CRC)

Budweiser Man of the Match: TBD

Post-Game Quote Sheet: MNT vs. Panama

Post-Game Quote Sheet: MNT vs. Panama
FIFA World Cup Qualifying
Oct. 15, 2013

U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach JURGEN KLINSMANN

On the match:
“We could have played a lot better than we did, especially in the first half. The second half was much better. The energy rose in the second half when we started to get into the game. From a tactical point of view, after Panama scored and made it 2-1, you wondered a little bit what was going on in the mind of the Panama coaches, obviously knowing what the result in Costa Rica is. We were thinking they may drop now, but that didn’t happen, they kept coming out and opening up spaces. We used those spaces for the final two goals. It’s obviously a brutal feeling then for a country to get penalized like that in the final minute.”

On playing until the final minute:
“We played our game. We came here to play simply just a game against Panama and the players went all 90-plus minutes to get a win and get three points. They believed in it all the way until the end. This is our job. We were focused on our job. We understand that tonight so much was at stake for both Mexico and Panama. We respect that, but we were solely focused on ourselves. We said that before the game and after the game. Mexico played their game in Costa Rica and we were here, and experienced an unbelievable finish of a game.”

On if he could feel the impact the win had on the fans in the stadium:
“We all felt every little piece of it. It shows you how brutal football can be for one side that is almost there, and then the other side is back in. But, at the end of the day I mentioned it before, we were here to give everything we have. We said that we are here to win and get three points. Obviously, nobody expected we were going to turn things around in the last one minute, but you have to play it all the way to the end and we did that. Our players gave everything they had, kept pushing and were rewarded. Obviously, you feel for the people, you feel for the entire country, you feel for [Panama head coach] Dely Valdez, who I admire a lot, but this is football, it’s not over until it’s over.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Defender MICHAEL OROZCO:

On his goal:
“I knew it was going to be a hard game, intense from the first minute, and my goal was just a corner kick. Before the game started, I told [DaMarcus Beasley], ‘I’m going in on a corner kick. I’m going to do a little crossover and I’m going to get back into the box and get one in.’ I was trying to go for my header, but it was the tip of my foot. I’m just happy. It’s always an honor to get a goal for the country.

“I was looking for that one. There were a couple runs that I made, and this one was a killer. I got to it, scored, and I’m just happy and proud to be a part of this team. We got [the tying goal] in and the momentum took us to a victory.”

On his celebration:
“[Beasley] and I have a little celebration at Puebla; we do the Maracas. We’ve seen it on World Star Hip Hop. I told him ‘“Beas” I’m going to score and we’re going to do the Maracas this time man.’ And, we got it in.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Forward ARON JOHANNSSON:

On his goal:
“We just equalized 2-2, and they pushed everyone forward. Some of them just stopped playing, I don’t know what happened. It seems like they just gave up, and we continued. We showed how strong we are, got that third goal and won the game.”

“As soon as I got the ball, I was thinking about shooting and trying to score a goal. Sacha [Kljestan] took a good run behind me and opened the space for me, so I could get an easy shot on goal. I got the shot on goal and scored.”

On scoring his first goal for the U.S. MNT:
“It was amazing, hopefully the first of many. To have it as an important goal like this, third goal to win the game, it was an extra bonus. Best of all is that we won the game and got the three points.”

On the course of the game:
“First of all we went down 1-0. Not the way we wanted to start, but credit to the guys, we came back, made it 1-1, went down 2-1, then came back made it 2-2 and then we were able to get that third goal. One of the things is this group is going to fight to the end no matter what the circumstances. Our job is to go out and take care of business ‘til the whistle blows, and I feel like we did that tonight.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Midfielder BRAD DAVIS:

On his cross to Graham Zusi :
“It was a good run. I was sitting there in the first half, watching the game in the first half just feeling like there was a lot of space out wide. If we had the possession, move the ball out wide that I could get in good spots and serve the ball. Edgar makes a good run inside, I stayed outside, he plays a good ball down the line, guys make good runs in the box, and my job at that point is to try to put the ball in a good spot. Fortunately, Graham was able to get on the end of it.’

On winning the Hex on a positive note:
“It’s huge. We’ve done great so far, qualified for Brazil, but tonight we wanted to go out on a high note. We’ve done so well all throughout the year, battled and scrapped and got the points to qualify early.

“We’ve had a great year, and I think it maybe would have left a little bit of a sour taste in our mouth if we didn’t end on a high note. That’s just the character this group has right now. We’re excited; we’re a motivated, confident group moving forward, so, looking forward to next summer.”

On providing good service:
“For me, it’s one of those things I’m most confident in with my game. To try and read the game, try and find good spots to where I know that my teammates can get me the ball where I feel comfortable to deliver a ball to my teammates. I know that they trust that I’m going to get a good ball in there; they make good hard runs in the box. It seemed to work tonight, so hopefully we can continue that trend.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Midfielder GRAHAM ZUSI:

On his goal :
“I don’t really remember how it got out to Brad Davis; it was a long combination play. I think we switched it from one side to another, and Brad got it in behind their outside back and whipped in a great ball. I was able to get up and head it in.

“I was just trying to get into a dangerous area. A lot of times, those first runs are dummy runs, but Brad did a great job putting it right on my head.”

On his goal scoring record in Panama:
“I don’t know what it is; must be something in the water, but it’s great to get some goals, and better off to get the win. It’s a great Hex for our team and definitely gives us some confidence playing away from home going into next year.”

On the match overall :
“In the first half we did a decent job of coming out and creating a couple early chances. I thought we were a little unfortunate to find ourselves down at half, but did a good job coming out in the second half as well. [We] put them on their heels, got the equalizer. Then, finding ourselves down late again, not giving up and not settling for anything, we kept pushing the game and found the win.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Midfielder CLARENCE GOODSON:

On the match overall :
“It was an intense game. Every time we play Panama, it’s a hard fought game. It’s a team that really never says die, and I respect them a lot for that. They keep coming all the time and obviously they’re heartbroken now, but that’s the type of team that we are as well. It’s a team that, no matter who plays, just gives everything. It’s not always the prettiest, but you know what to expect from guys, they’re going to put in the effort. Tonight we left it late, but got a result and it’s great to get three points.”

On the mental state of the team after falling behind 2-1:
“I think we had been creating a lot of chances up to that point. I think we should have done a better job to put them away earlier. We had chances throughout the game where we didn’t score when we really needed to, but in the end we got two goals. It was one of those things where they kept guys high still, they were winning the game and should have dropped off. They should have put guys in the box and done like we did in the Gold Cup, brought Omar [Gonzalez] in and cleared balls and just play primitive. But, they kept two strikers high and it was very surprising, they had a lot of gaps in their team for it being so late and the World Cup on the line, and we punished them for that.”

On the result’s effect on the team:
“It’s a great way to end. There’s a lot of work to still be done before the end of the year even. Two more matches still, and a lot of work before the world cup. I think a lot of guys have really come on and done a great job this year, and it’s going to make Jurgen [Klinsmann] and the coaching staff’s decision very difficult and that’s the way it should be.”

Kyle Beckerman: Mr. Consistency

ussoccer.com: What’s the question you are most tired of answering?
Kyle Beckerman:
How long have you been growing your dreads? (laughs) The answer is seven or eight years.

ussoccer.com: You’ve been a part of this qualifying campaign from start to finish. What have been your impressions overall?
KB: “First off, it’s been a lot of fun. There have been really enjoyable challenges, from going to Antigua and playing in the monsoon to coming and playing in Salt Lake in front of our home crowd. It’s been a really cool journey and one I’ll never forget.”

ussoccer.com: A new coach and new cycle brings different challenges. Now two years in, how would you say you have been impacted?
KB: “Going through this always teaches you a little bit about the competition we have in this region. This round has shown that the other countries in CONCACAF are getting stronger. For me, I just have more experience now than I did before.

ussoccer.com: Your roles with Real Salt Lake and the National Team are somewhat different. How do you deal with the transition of moving between different environments?
KB: “The biggest thing for me is the similarities that I’m going to bring to Salt Lake and here, and that’s going in every day and training or playing with the same intensity, the same energy, and really bringing it. No matter if you’re the captain, the biggest leader or a newcomer, it goes a long way. That’s what I try to do, especially coming in here. More than anything, it’s working hard and putting it in every day. When you come into the National Team, the quality of play is amazing, and that’s what makes it so much fun.

ussoccer.com: Jurgen always says that’s why you are a guy he wants to call in all the time, saying you bring it every day and are a ‘pure giver’. It’s been the case in the last two years that for as many times as you’ve played, you’ve also come in and not gotten time.  How do you manage to continue to bring the same intensity, energy and attitude?
KB: “I’ve realized you can only control what you can control. For me, that means my effort and what I give every day. If I’m not playing, I’m not going to sit there and pout. I’m going to try and go to practice and make it tougher on the guys who are playing so when they get to the game it’s easier for them.  If I’m playing, it’s to get ready to make the job of the guys around me easier. It’s not hard – it’s the National Team, and it’s an honor any time you get to be part of the squad.  For my mindset, it’s just to be ready no matter what your role is.  I want to be ready for whatever comes my way.”

ussoccer.com: That seems like an easy approach, but that also takes a mental strength not every player is able to maintain. Where does that mentality come from for you?
KB: “It comes from my parents and the way they raised me and my brother. Also, being involved in wrestling growing up and doing that and soccer side by side was huge.  The discipline that came with wrestling is still something that has stayed with me.”

ussoccer.com: You’ve been known to break out a guitar or ukulele on some of these trips. What attracts you to playing music?
KB: “First off, I like music. I really enjoy listening to it. I look at it almost like a language. It’s cool the more you practice and the more you speak it, you become better and more comfortable. It’s a good hobby to have. It’s similar to golf for me where people play for a really long time and keep getting better and better.”

ussoccer.com: You’ve also been asked a lot if the World Cup is a like a carrot dangling in front of you. Doesn’t the answer seem obvious?
KB: “It does. I get asked ‘when do you think about the World Cup the most, and I say ‘when people ask me about it.’ With our sport, you always have to do the next thing. If you win one game, you have to be ready to win the next. If you get one call up, you have to try to get the next one. A lot of people  who don’t follow soccer don’t understand you always have to prove yourself to get called in.  You start to think that now the World Cup is getting closer since we’ve qualified, it’s right around the corner. But it’s still quite a long way away, so it’s something you stick in the back of your mind. It’s exciting when you think maybe I could be on that team, but there is so much work to be done still, and that’s what keeps me from thinking about it too much.”

ussoccer.com: Before we sat down, we were talking about World Cup preparation plans and you said ‘I have to get there first.’ Does the fact that you were in the mix last time around and didn’t make it keep you from looking too far ahead?
KB: “I guess it’s because I’ve never been this close to making it. For a while, the National Team was really done for me, and I didn’t think it was going to come back. When Jurgen came and it was a second chance, I wanted to run with it and really take advantage of the opportunity put in front of me.  It’s the unknown, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself and say I’m going to be there, but at the same time I also want to have the possibility in the back of my mind. This is what we are all working so hard for.”

U.S. MNT Wins Third Straight Hexagonal Following 2-0 Victory Against Jamaica at Sold-Out Sporting Park

  • Second-Half Substitute Graham Zusi of Hometown Sporting Kansas City Tallies Game-Winning Goal in 77th Minute
  • Jozy Altidore Scores 21st-Career Goal in 81st Minute to Move into Tie for Sixth All-Time with Bruce Murray
  • Goalkeeper Tim Howard Earns his 33rd Shutout to Move Ahead of Tony Meola for Second All-Time
  • U.S. MNT Wraps up FIFA World Cup Qualifying at Panama on Oct. 15, with Broadcast Live on beIN SPORT Starting at 9:30 p.m. ET

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Oct. 11, 2013) – The U.S. Men’s National Team utilized a second-half attacking surge to secure a 2-0 win against Jamaica that clinched the top spot in the Hexagonal for a third straight FIFA World Cup Qualifying cycle. The match was played in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,467 at Sporting Park.

The U.S. victory, combined with Costa Rica’s 1-0 loss to Honduras earlier in the evening, made the Americans' spot atop the final CONCACAF qualifying group unassailable with one match left to play.

The U.S. sits atop the group with 19 points (6-2-1), followed by Costa Rica (4-2-3, 15 points) and Honduras (4-3-2, 14 points). The USA and Costa Rica have qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Honduras has assured itself at least a spot in a playoff against the Oceania region representative New Zealand.

Midfielder Graham Zusi, who stars for Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City, and forward Jozy Altidore provided the scoring punch with goals in the 77th and 81st minutes, respectively. The victory provided the USA with a perfect 5-0-0 record in home qualifying games during this cycle. The USA out-scored its opposition 8-0 over the five matches.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard, who wore the captain’s armband, earned the his 33rd international clean sheet to move into sole possession of second place all-time ahead of National Soccer Hall of Famer Tony Meola.

The U.S. MNT will wrap up 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on the road against Panama on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. The game kicks off at 9:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on beIN SPORT. Fans can also follow on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.

During the match, U.S. Soccer announced that the U.S. MNT would be playing Austria on Nov. 19 in Vienna. Further game details will be announced shortly. The USA will also face Scotland at the famed Hampden Park on Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas.

After a subpar first half, the Americans turned up the heat in front of an appreciative crowd during the second half and finally broke through with 13 minutes left in the game. It was Zusi, a halftime substitute for Landon Donovan, who delighted his hometown fans, cutting a low shot into the lower left corner off an assist from Alejandro Bedoya.

Altidore sealed Jamaica’s fate with an 81st-minute goal, easily finishing a left-footed shot into a wide open net after Edgar Castillo calmly crossed the ball in from the left side with a rolling pass just above the six-yard box. Altidore’s 21st international goal moved him into a tie with Bruce Murray for sixth on the all-time MNT scoring list.

Jamaica’s best scoring threat actually came on the final shot of the game as Theo Robinson’s close-range blast from the right side was batted away by Howard to preserve the shutout. The USA has now posted 10 shutouts in 2013. Howard made five saves as he improved to 8-2-0 on the year with four shutouts.

Additional Notes:

  • With the victory, the U.S. MNT improved to 26-9-6 under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Those 26 wins tie him for fourth all-time with Steve Sampson (26-22-14 from 1995-98).
  • Landon Donovan made his 40th appearance in World Cup Qualifying and played his 154th career game overall. He is the USA’s all-time record holder in World Cup Qualifying games and is now 10 overall appearances behind record holder Cobi Jones (164 games).
  • Striker Aron Johannsson made his first start and earned his third cap. He was paired up front alongside Jozy Altidore in a 4-4-2 formation. Johannsson’s change of association from Iceland to the U.S. was approved earlier this year. The 22-year-old who was born in Mobile, Ala. made his U.S. MNT debut on Aug. 14 during the USA’s come-from-behind 4-3 victory at Bosnia-Herzegovina.
  • Left back DaMarcus Beasley tied Claudio Reyna for fifth on the all-time caps list by playing in his 112th game. Beasley leads this year’s team with 15 starts, and he is tied for the team lead with Eddie Johnson with 15 appearances.
  • Tim Howard and Geoff Cameron made their 13th appearances in this World Cup Qualifying cycle, trailing only Clint Dempsey (14 games, 14 starts). Howard has started in 13 of the 15 World Cup Qualifying matches.
  • Midfielder Mix Diskerud made his first start in World Cup Qualifying and his second appearance in qualifying overall.
  • The U.S. MNT moved to 15-3-2 on the year. The 15 victories are a record for a calendar year, topping the previous mark of 13 wins in 2005 and 2009.
  • The U.S. won its 12th straight home game, a record streak that began with a 4-3 victory against Germany on June 2 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The USA’s previous record was 10 straight wins from June 15, 2008, to July 11, 2009.
  • The USA is now 13-1-8 all-time against Jamaica, which includes a 5-1-6 record in World Cup Qualifying.
  • Jamaica has now officially been eliminated from the FIFA World Cup Qualifying contention. Jamaica entered the game against the U.S. still mathematically in the running for a fourth-place playoff spot to face Oceania region winner New Zealand.
  • Before the game, former U.S. Men’s National Team forwards Joe-Max Moore and Peter Vermes were inducted to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Also during Induction 2013, presented by Eurosport, George Vecsey of the New York Times was honored as the 2013 Colin Jose Media Award recipient.

-U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Jamaica
Date: Oct. 11, 2013
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Final Round
Venue: Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.
Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. CT
Attendance: 18,467
Weather: 72 degrees, cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        0 2 2
JAM                        0 0 0

USA – Graham Zusi (Alejandro Bedoya)  77th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (Edgar Castillo)       81

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard (capt.); 6-Brad Evans, 20-Geoff Cameron, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (2-Edgar Castillo, 66); 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 8-Mix Diskerud, 13-Jermaine Jones, 10-Landon Donovan (19-Graham Zusi, 46); 9-Aron Johannsson (16-Sacha Kljestan, 72), 17-Jozy Altidore
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Michael Orozco, 12-Brad Guzan, 14-Terrence Boyd, 23-Kyle Beckerman
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

JAM: 1-DuWayne Kerr; 12-Demar Phillips, 19-Adrian Mariappa, 7-Westley Morgan, 3-Lloyd Doyley; 11-Darren Mattocks , 17-Rodolph Austin (capt.), 15-Je-Vaughn Watson (14-Theo Robinson, 73), 22-Deshorn Brown; 10-Joel McAnuff, 9-Ryan Johnson (21-Jermain Anderson, 85)
Substitutions Not Used: 2- Daniel Gordon, 4-Marvin Ellitott, 5-Alvas Powell, 6-Romario Campbell, 8-Jermaine Johnson, 13-Richard McCallum, 16-Jermaine Taylor, 18-Shaun Cummings, 20-Kemar Lawrence, 23-Gariece McPherson
Head coach: Winfried Schaefer

Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 14 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 5 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 14 / 15
Offside: 3 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Sacha Kljestan (caution)       90+1st minute
JAM – Jermain Anderson (caution)  90+2

Officials:
Referee: Elmer Bonilla (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Hermenerito Leal (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Ronaldo De La Cruz (GUA)
Fourth Official: Sandy Vasquez (DOM)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Graham Zusi

Results

Date Matchup Result Venue Attendance Goal Scorers
February 6, 2013 MNT vs Honduras 1-2 L Estadio Olimpico; San Pedro Sula, Honduras 37,000
March 22, 2013 MNT vs Costa Rica 1-0 W Dick's Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo. 19,374
March 26, 2013 MNT vs Mexico 0-0 D CenturyLink Field; Seattle, Wash. 85,500
June 7, 2013 MNT vs Jamaica 2-1 W National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica 12,130
June 11, 2013 MNT vs Panama 2-0 W CenturyLink Field; Seattle, Wash. 40,847
June 18, 2013 MNT vs Honduras 1-0 W Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah 20,250
September 6, 2013 MNT vs Costa Rica 1-3 L Estadio Nacional; San Jose, Costa Rica 35,000
September 10, 2013 MNT vs Mexico 2-0 W Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio 24,584
October 11, 2013 MNT vs Jamaica 2-0 W Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan. 18,467
October 15, 2013 MNT vs Panama 3-2 W Estadio Rommel Fernandez; Panama City, Panama 18,254

Hexagonal 

Team

GP

W

L

T

GF

GA

GD

Pts.

USA 10 7 2 1 15
+7 22
CRC 10 5 2 3 13 7 +6 18
HON 10 4 3 3 13 12 +1 15
MEX 10 2 3 5 7 9 -2 11
PAN 10 1 4 5 10 14 -4 8
JAM 10 0 5 5 5 13 -8 5

February 2013

Date Match Kickoff/
Result
Venue
Feb. 6 Mexico vs. Jamaica 0-0
Estadio Azteca;
Mexico City, Mexico
Feb. 6 Honduras vs. USA 2-1 L

Estadio Olimpico;
San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Feb. 6 Panama vs. Costa Rica 2-2 Estadio Rommel Fernandez;
Panama City, Panama

March 2013

Date Match Kickoff/
Result
Venue
March 22 Jamaica vs. Panama 1-1 Independence Park;
Kingston, Jamaica
March 22 Honduras vs. Mexico 2-2 Estadio Olimpico;
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
March 22 USA vs. Costa Rica 1-0 W Dicks' Sporting Goods Park;
Commerce City, Colo.
March 26 Mexico vs. USA 0-0 T Estadio Azteca;
Mexico City, Mexico
March 26 Panama vs. Honduras 2-0 Estadio Rommel Fernandez;
Panama City, Panama
March 26 Costa Rica vs. Jamaica 2-0 Estadio Nacional;
San Jose, Costa Rica

June 2013

Date Match Kickoff/
Result
Venue
June 4 Jamaica vs. Mexico 0-1 Jamaica
June 7 Jamaica vs. USA 1-2 W National Stadium;
Kingston, Jamaica
June 7 Panama vs. Mexico 0-0 Panama
June 7 Costa Rica vs. Honduras 1-0 Costa Rica
June 11 Mexico vs. Costa Rica 0-0 Mexico
June 11  Honduras vs. Jamaica 2-0 Honduras
June 11 USA vs. Panama 2-0 W CenturyLink Field;
Seattle, Wash.
June 18 USA vs. Honduras 1-0 W Rio Tinto Stadium;
Sandy, Utah
June 18 Costa Rica vs. Panama 2-0 Costa Rica

September 2013

Date Match Kickoff/
Result
Venue
Sept. 6 Mexico vs. Honduras 1-2 Mexico
Sept. 6 Panama vs. Jamaica 0-0 Panama
Sept. 6 Costa Rica vs. USA 1-3 L Estadio Nacional;
San Jose, Costa Rica
Sept. 10 Jamaica vs. Costa Rica 1-1 Jamaica
Sept. 10 Honduras vs. Panama 2-2 Honduras
Sept. 10 USA vs. Mexico 2-0 W Columbus Crew Stadium;
Columbus, Ohio

October 2013

Date Match Kickoff/
Result
Venue
Oct. 11 Mexico vs. Panama 2-1 Mexico
Oct. 11 Honduras vs. Costa Rica 1-0 Honduras
Oct. 11 USA vs. Jamaica 2-0 W Sporting Park;
Kansas City, Kan.
Oct. 15 Jamaica vs. Honduras 2-2 Jamaica
Oct. 15 Panama vs. USA 3-2 W Panama
Oct. 15 Costa Rica vs. Mexico 2-1 Costa Rica
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