Quote Sheet: Post-Match Quotes from Men's Olympic Team Match vs. Cameroon
CANBERRA, Australia (Saturday, September 16, 2000) - Okono's thoughts of the U.S. team: "My overall impression of the team is that it's excellent. They play in a very collective way, and yet at the same time, they're able be effective individually at any moment. Fortunately, we had the chance to see them ve
Sep. 16, 2000
CLIVE CHARLES, U.S. Men's Olympic Team head coach
Opening remarks: "I thought the team showed a lot of courage tonight and a lot of character playing against a team that is extremely dangerous. We matched them and at times out-fought them, and certainly created enough chances to win the game, so I'm very, very proud of our performance. I'm not concerned about the chances we missed, as long as we keep creating those opportunities, we'll be fine."
On decision not to bring in Landon Donovan as a second-half substitute: "I was thinking about bringing Landon on, because we were creating a lot of chances and he's a very good finisher. It's a matter of where are you going to put him. The midfield was playing very well, the defense was closing people down very well. If I was going to put Landon on it would be up front. But I would have to put him on for Josh Wolff, because we need a big guy like Conor (Casey) up top. As I was thinking about that, Wolffie created the score. And then two minutes later, he makes a great near post run and nearly scores again. Sometimes you can mess around with things, but I thought Josh was playing very well. Once we tied it up, I felt we were going to score another one, so I left things alone."
On knowing the team needs to beat Kuwait to advance to the second round after Kuwait's 3-2 win over the Czech Republic: "I think it's a great result for us. It's in our hands now. The fact that Kuwait won, I have no problem with that. We felt that we would have to win our last game regardless, so now we're in a position where if we win our game, we're in pretty good shape."
On if the result was disappointing: "It was a great performance tonight, and I'm extremely proud of the way we played. As I said to the team at halftime, if someone would have told you 'We're going to tie this game 1-1,' we'd have been happy. When you're a goal down against a team of that quality, we have no problem with that result."
On if it was a better result than Wednesday's 2-2 draw versus the Czech Republic: "I felt we dominated the last game. This game we had to come from behind."
On the problems Cameroon posed with their speed and dribbling ability: "They're always going to create opportunities. Every single one of them is a great athlete who has pace. They're technically very good and they love to take you on. Regardless of whatever result they get involved in, they will create opportunities against anybody. We knew that was going to happen, and it probably took us 20 or 25 minutes to settle down. And then I felt that we started to get into our game. I felt in the second half, we started to dominate the game. In games of this quality, it takes 20 to 25 minutes for one team to start imposing their style over another, and I felt that by the end of the game, we were playing the way we wanted to play."
On the choice of the penalty kick taker: "First of all, I didn't designate a penalty taker. Who ever feels it, is the one who takes it."
PETER VAGENAS, U.S. Men's Olympic Team midfielder
Overall thoughts on the match: "As Clive said, obviously we're a little disappointed that we didn't win the game. But at the same time, a loftier goal is to get through to the next round. So come Tuesday, this game will just be a memory and it won't matter in the end."
On the successful penalty kick and why he made sure to take it: "I just wanted to score as quickly as possible. Yeah, I wanted to take it because if someone missed, I wanted it to be me. [Clive interjects, "He's a sick man, isn't he?"] I don't know, I just felt confident enough to step up and take it. Deep down I knew that (the penalty kick) was going to make or break the game for us. If we got the tie, I knew the flood gates would open up. And if we would've missed, it would have killed our spirits, so I wanted the pressure on me versus someone else, basically."
JOHN O'BRIEN, U.S. Men's Olympic Team midfielder
On the overall feeling after the match: "We would have liked to get three points, but the overall picture is good. We have two points against two good teams that people said we should lose to, so it comes down to our last game, which we need to win."
JEAN-PAUL OKONO, Cameroon Olympic Team head coach
On his thoughts of the U.S. team: "My overall impression of the team is that it's excellent. They play in a very collective way, and yet at the same time, they're able be effective individually at any moment. Fortunately, we had the chance to see them versus the Czech Republic and it allowed us to prepare for the match. We tried to play our own way as far as our strategy for the match, but I wanted to say that they made a really big impression on us. I was very impressed."