Post-Match Quotes: U.S. MNT 0, Argentina 0
U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley and select players discussed the team's 0-0 draw against No. 1-ranked Argentina on Sunday night at Giants Stadium.
June 8, 2008
On heading into qualifying:
"I think we're getting stronger. We're understanding what it takes to play in the better games, and I think that even though Barbados is a different opponent, we understand how to play together as a team, we feel good about the depth that we have and these are things that we are building to put us in the right direction."
"Argentina is totally different [from the two previous games], especially when (Lionel) Messi is on the field. The first half we had to deal with a lot tactically, and Tim Howard of course made some very big saves .The second half we showed some real resolve, both handling the red card and adjusting to different things tactically at different times. It means that at the end we feel very good about getting a result tonight.
“The bar keeps getting raised and it’s very important that the team sees the progress. It’s important that the team understands how we're improving and understands how to play in bigger games. I think the key has been some of the experienced guys. Timmy has played a very big role in terms of making sure that guys understand a little bit about what these tougher games are like.
“It was nice to come back tonight and see that type of atmosphere for our national team. I know it means a lot for all of the players. We come back from Europe, where we played two very good games, and now we have a chance to finish here, in that kind of atmosphere. It was special.
“One thing about Argentina, those guys play so hard every time they step on the field. The reason they're successful all around the world is because of the heart and the passion they play with. Messi is so unique.”
U.S. MNT midfielder Landon Donovan
“In the second half we were much better and maybe even a little unlucky not to win in the end.”
On what's needed in preparations for the match against Barbados:
“First is rest. That was a hard game tonight with lots of running. They had the ball a lot. We need to get to LA, rest and recover quickly and then just start preparing for Barbados next week.”
On the play of U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard:
“He saved us and kept us in the game. In certain moments, when things aren't really going well for you, you hope that your goalkeeper can make a few saves and Timmy went above and beyond that tonight. We can't rely on that all the time because that's not fair on him, but you hope in certain moments he can make those types of plays. He's shown that he can rise to that level over and over again.”
On the second half:
“We did a good job of figuring out how we needed to play. After halftime we knew what we needed to do tactically. [Messi] is a special player and he makes the whole game different both offensively and defensively.”
On earning his 100th Cap:
“It feels great [to get his 100th cap] and it’s kind of a weight off my shoulders. It was nice to be part of such a great game and for it to be on my 100th cap is special. It is an accomplishment I am proud of.
“It was a fun game to be a part of and, at the end of the day, you look at each other and say ‘that was a good battle.’ There's good respect between the two teams.”
U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard
“You know with Argentina that they're going to have their chances no matter how well they play defensively. Those chances seemed to come tonight as one-on-ones and, for me, that's one of my stronger points. Once I made the first save I felt comfortable and they kept coming but our team got better as the game went on.
“I thought the performance tonight was very good. If you look over the last three games, we've gotten better and better. We played to a high level tonight. If we can do that against Barbados, I'm quite confident we'll get the job done. We made ourselves accountable, we didn't back down and we stuck our foot in every challenge.”
U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Clint Dempsey
"We're playing against some of the best competition that's out there - Spain, England and Argentina. I think that the goals will come, but it will always be tough to score lots of goals against teams like that. The games have been tough. It had been even more difficult playing in our opponents' back yards. We came here tonight and put in a decent performance. Getting a tie against the No. 1-ranked team is a good feeling. We'd have liked to score some goals in these games, but now we look towards Barbados and I think we've prepared ourselves as well as we could. We just need to go into that game next week with the same mindset that we showed these past few weeks and I think things will take care of themselves."
U.S. Men’s National Team defender Steve Cherundolo
“I think it was an excellent result for us. We put in a lot of hard work tonight and we were rewarded for it. Maybe with a little luck we could have grabbed a win, but Argentina had chances too and, in the end, it was probably a fair result.
“The difference tonight was that we battled and concentrated for 90 minutes, whereas in the other games we caved in a little bit late on in the second half. We did it tonight over the whole game, and that's an important quality to draw on come World Cup Qualifying.
“We're itching for that goal and hopefully it’s coming next week against Barbados. We're putting in a lot of good work and I think we're in a good place before next week's game.”
U.S. Men’s National Team defender Dan Califf
“Playing the No. 1 team in the world, we come out and did a good job of creating chances, defended hard, and worked well as a team - I think it was a good result for us.”
U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Pablo Mastroeni
“We realize what a team like Argentina can do, but more importantly we concentrated on what we needed to do as team. At this level, it’s the little things that make the difference between a good team and great team and as long as we continue to adjust and fine tune, I think the goals and wins will come. The players are gaining experience and I think we have something very good going here with the National Team.”
Argentina Head Coach Alfio Basile
On the two-game tour through the United States:
“The tour was a good thing in the soccer sense. We came to try different variables, to test out players. The game against Mexico was a luxury for Argentina. Today, during the first half, we should have been ahead by two or three goals, but they weren’t converted. In the second half, fatigue set in from all these flights, from these two or three days, from the heat, so we tried to take care of some of the players. When you make six subs thing change. It was a completely stunted game.
“What I don’t know yet is about the penalty because I didn’t see it. I don’t know why it wasn’t a penalty and, it would also be an ejection. But maybe I was wrong and maybe it wasn’t.
“In the second half I think it was a mediocre game in a sense, but it was interesting for me because I tested different players, I changed systems and the players can find their way on the field. In some ways, this is worth more than anything.
On whether he is happy with his system, since he still changed it in the second half:
“I changed it because (Lionel) Messi left. I don’t have another player like Messi, so I changed. You can’t play with the same system when Messi leaves. I put in a player with different characteristics and he can’t do what Messi does. Messi felt tired, fatigued from the travel and I gave him rest.”