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Bob Bradley Conference Call Quote Sheet

Conference Call Quote Sheet:
2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying
Oct. 7, 2009


“We’ve had a good couple days training in Miami. We look forward to traveling to Honduras tomorrow. Everybody is excited for this last stretch of qualifying and we understand the challenge of going to Honduras and playing against a talented team, but we are excited about the opportunity that we have.”

On why matches in Central America are such a daunting task for visiting teams:
“I think a combination of factors. Certainly, in this last round I think the teams from Central America are good teams, well coached, and then combine that with environments: passionate crowds that are there behind their team and an environment that is never easy for the visitors. Those are things that we’ve experienced and we’re excited for the challenge that we have.”

On whether he is disappointed the match is only on closed-circuit television:
“We are certainly disappointed for our fans. We’re very fortunate that whenever we go anywhere there are passionate U.S. supporters wearing colors. Certainly the idea that this match is not on regular TV is disappointing for all of them, and we understand and feel badly about that.”

On how he balances the need for a win and caution in regards to yellow cards:
“Those are all factors that get weighed. Certainly our thoughts with regard to the Honduras game start with the idea that we have the opportunity to go there and go for the win. We will pay attention to the score in Costa Rica as both games move along but going in, it’s an opportunity to play aggressively, to know from the start that playing for the first goal, being aggressive, trying to put Honduras on the defensive would all be things we would like to accomplish. The yellow card situation is a challenging one. I think that we have to find balance in this, in some cases, that includes players that play the same position who maybe are both carrying yellow cards, making some decisions in those ways. Finally, our discipline is important. We are very pleased that in the last two games we didn’t pick up any yellow cards and so we have to once again make sure that our players understand that it will work in our favor as we play through this match.”

On his options for replacing Clint Dempsey:
“The two primary options would be Benny Feilhaber and Stuart Holden. As we move through the week, we have some decisions to make. We mentioned yellow cards, which are also a factor in this particular case. I think those are the primary options.”

On the team’s overall performance on the road in this round:
“I’ll go a game at a time. I thought early in the El Salvador match, we had good energy. We lost the ball in a difficult situation, they scored on a counter, the game moved on. We got behind two goals, felt very good about the response at that point so to come back and still come away with a point was a good feeling even though, certainly, as a whole we went into that game for sure, like all games, thinking that we could win. Costa Rica, again, a tough start, a goal early played right into their hands and we never recovered. The game at Azteca, as we know, I think we gave ourselves a good chance going down the stretch and made a mistake late that cost us a possible point. Trinidad, the game in the first half was not our best. I think that the response at halftime was good, the second half was better and still, as a team, it was still a good three points. We understand the challenges. I think we’ve experience all the different things. We’ve been in games where we’ve gotten behind early, we experienced now the ability to play through a tough stretch, keep the other team at zero and then find a way to win, hopefully all these things will help us as we play a tough match on the road Saturday.”

On how important it is to earn three points in Honduras and not have qualifying depend on the final match:
“Ideally we can finish up things Saturday but, again, there are factors in all of this that are sometimes out of our control. It’s been a very tight final round because of some of the other results. But the opportunity to go there and play to win and come away with three points is a great challenge, one that we are embracing. I think the players are ready for it and we’re going to go for it with everything we have knowing that obviously we still have the home game to follow.”

On whether there any additional security precautions heading into this match:
“Whenever we travel we always have tremendous security. In this particular case, we’ve had a little discussion with the team so that they are aware of the different factors. We’ve been on top of that even earlier, because even during the Gold Cup, we played Honduras and we mentioned what was going on in Honduras. So we’ve discussed it a little bit and we’re very comfortable with the way our security gets handled, with the information that we have. [U.S. Soccer’s Managing Director of Administration] Tom King has traveled to Honduras already. He’s on site in San Pedro Sula so he’s been able to give us information. I think on that end, everything seems fine.”

On what conditions are unique to Honduras and how the team can prepare for those:
“The main thing that we have talked a little bit about and are very aware of is the fact that this game means everything to Honduras and to its people and that the atmosphere in the stadium will be loud, passionate and exciting. We have seen that in other places, so we draw the parallels and draw up on those experiences. I think that will work well for us.”

On what Stuart Holden and Benny Feilhaber bring to the team:
“Stuart and Benny both have had good stretches now for our national team. Benny was a key contributor for us in Confederations Cup. He has settled in well in Denmark. He has played different spots in the midfield for us, has shown that versatility. He is a player who, I think, is comfortable on the ball, is capable of making the right pass, the final pass. Stuart can play different spots in the midfield, for us he has been more on the right. He’s come on in some of the recent games and even in the small amount of time that he’s been on, he’s been able to create opportunities with some of his play on the right hand side. Again, I think we’re lucky to have both of those options.”

On what it would mean to him, personally, to qualify for the World Cup:
“As far as qualifying for the World Cup, I always think about it from a team side, really. We’ve worked hard as a group. We know the challenge, going in. We understand the responsibility and now we’re excited to finish the job.”

On Charlie Davies:
“I think most importantly, Charlie continues to grow and mature as a player. He understands the total responsibility on the field in terms of not only being somebody who has speed and can break through the defense but somebody who has to combine it with his teammates, somebody who understands his responsibilities when the ball turns over. The thing I’ve have said over and over with Charlie is it’s been steady growth from the time that he went to Hammarby. It has not been that he has skipped a bunch of steps. I think his experience so far in France has fit with all of that. Sochaux is a team that has to work hard every week, a team that not much was expected of them and yet they have done a good job of establishing a way of playing. Charlie has earned the respect within the team so he’s been, for the most part a 90-minute player most games. He has still been active and dangerous and I think, overall, he has continued to improve.”

“When you look at players and how they develop, so often, it may work that at any given moment, maybe a guy has a good game or at a certain point there is some extra attention brought by a play or a goal, but for the most part you need to step back from all that and you need to understand that the learning process, hopefully, still moves a long step by step and that they continue to move forward. Charlie is a player that has shown that he works hard; he’s matured a lot along the way. It makes us feel good that he will continue to move in the right direction.”

On Jozy Altidore’s lack of playing time at Hull City:
“Whenever a player moves to a different club, or changes in a club in terms of management or different players that come in or out, there are challenges. That initial challenge of earning respect, getting on the field, there’s no timetable there. Jozy had a great start when he went into his first game and helped set up the winning goal, but Hull has had a difficult stretch. They’ve also added some players. Jozy has learned in his young career that this is all part of it. He comes into our camp I think motivated, but it is a concern that players aren’t getting regular time. We’re all hopeful that because he’s talented, because Hull saw that talent, that the opportunities there will come and again, I think Jozy understands that he has to work hard and nothing will be given to him.”

On the United States’ tendency to start slow in qualifying games:
“We’ve had different games when we’ve given up early goals, but we’ve looked at those. We’ve addressed what happens early in a match, the idea that sometimes early in the match you need to know how to manage the game better. There are areas like that that we have addressed, I think we’ve been able at times to use the right amount of positive energy to get off to better starts, but we all know that the game doesn’t always go as planned. There’s also the need to respond, and I think we’ve been able to do that. Hopefully the range of experiences that we’ve had will help us deal with whatever comes our way and we will certainly start this match with the idea that we want to be the aggressor. Yes, it’s away from home but it’s a game where we want to take the initiative. At the same time we have full respect for Honduras and everything that they have on the line. With their crowd behind them, we’d also be naive to think that they’re not going to be flying and going with everything at the start. So, hopefully we can match that and get this game off to a fast good start and see what happens.”

On the El Salvador game on the road and the importance of earning a point in a come-from-behind tie:
“Obviously that’s the second game in qualifying, and we go in after having a good home victory against Mexico. Then we find ourselves behind, and you hope that in these moments, between making some changes, some subs and changing some things on the field, most of all what you want to see is the response of the team—and that was positive. As coaches we tend to see this thing not so much as one game, but the way the whole thing works. As you look back, you’re exactly right, that point right now is a point well earned and a point that feels good to have. Hopefully, the other parts to that comeback still are with us, and as just mentioned, the learning aspect of not going down on the road becomes important. All things that hopefully we’ve learned not only from that game, but from other games.”

On discussing with players who aren’t playing much to perhaps aim for loans in the January transfer window:
“As far as some of the situations players are in, yes we do talk about that. For the most part, the players are all anxious to be in situations where they are playing regularly or have a really good chance to play regularly. When it’s possible to consider loans, when there are options for players, we always support that. Obviously the decision that a club makes, whether or not they’ll put a player out on loan, what’s their injury situation, where do they stand at that point, how long is the contract—there are many factors. But across the board, we support our players, we try to encourage them with the different situations that come their way through those conversations, occasionally through conversations with their agents. We’re doing everything we can to support these guys because it’s no secret that playing regularly is an important part of form and that’s what we hope is working for everybody.”

On the need for Jozy to earn playing time and the preference to use a target forward in away matches:
“I wouldn’t say that we think of it as a preference. We try to look at the different strikers and their qualities, form and their fitness as a package of things they bring to our team. Certainly we think of the pairing between the two players—is there a good understanding; how do they work together? Jozy is physically a talented player, but you watch Jozy play, he still moves around the field, moves along the back line, likes to drift wide. In that sense, he’s not a true target striker. But what he does, with his ability on the ball, with his speed, with his strength…he’s a presence and a player that typically causes defenses trouble. Then it’s just a matter of sizing up the things I just mentioned— form, fitness, as well as the type of game that we think that we’ll be in. Finally, as mentioned in the beginning of the call, in this particular case yellow cards become one more thing that have to be factored into decisions.”

On having referee Roberto Moreno for the match, who has already officiated two U.S. matches in the final round of qualifying:
“The pool of officials that we typically see in qualifying is usually pretty small. And so in that respect, CONCACAF has challenges at times on who to put at different games. Beyond that we’re focusing only on tendencies of referees, things that we see in terms of how they call games, and making sure our team is aware of the tendencies and experiences that we’ve had. Finally, it’s always going to be necessary in these games to put an emphasis on the discipline in our team. These are the things we really focus on because that’s the part that we can control.”

On Oguchi Onyewu’s form in camp despite not playing much for AC Milan:
“We have confidence in Gooch and his experience. The environment day in and day out at Milan still is a good one. He got his first taste of Champions League action, a thirty minute appearance last week as a sub. We know he’s anxious for more playing time, but he comes in ready to go, he’s worked hard in training, as have all the rest of the players. Those are all good signs.”

On the reasoning behind the U.S.’ successful recent history against Honduras, going 5-0 since 2005:
“It’s probably not a huge factor. We had a good match with them in Chicago in qualifying, since then we’ve played them twice both times in the Gold Cup, and both the United States and Honduras didn’t have all their regulars. We know each other very well. There’s a great deal of respect, and if you look at their group of players, there’s talent. Guys have done well, particularly in England. As everybody knows, I know Amado [Guevara] very well, who won’t be playing in this match, he’s out with cards. As far as knowing the personnel, knowing the style of play, we have respect for the way they play and their talent. We think they’re well coached. And now, when we go into this game we understand how much they’re playing for and how much it means to their fans. Those are the things that we understand in order to make sure that our preparation is right.”

On what factor Estadio Olimpico will play:
“It’s a factor in the sense that it’s going to be an electric stadium, with people who are very, very passionate about their team and where they are in qualifying. It’s just part of our preparation to be ready for that.”