Quote Sheet: Pre-Honduras Quotes
USA players and coaches address the media leading up to Saturday's Match against Honduras
March 14, 2008
U.S. head coach Peter Nowak:
On knowing where the team stands before they take the field Saturday:
We know that no matter what happens, we have to play our best. Right now our goal is to qualify for the semifinal, and we’re almost there. We have to see what the competition is going to be, we can’t look back at what’s already happened. We just have to concentrate on the job we have to do and how we’re going to do it.
On whether it’s important to finish first in the group
I think the most important thing for me is going in with a strong mentality. The question that we always have is how to find the right ingredients to be successful. We had the same questions last year in the Gold Cup when people thought we would win every game 5-0 or 3-0. It’s a long tournament and we’ve spent a lot of time in camps trying to find the right pieces of the puzzle, and the soccer part of everything will be decided on the field.
On training at the Buccaneer’s facility:
It’s terrific. Everyone there has been helping us have everything we need to help us to qualify. We’re quite thankful for that.
Midfielder Sal Zizzo
On how the team has played and how much potential it has:
I think everyone on our team, top to bottom, could start for us and win games. I think being together more would help us. Although we all know each other from various youth teams, we’re coming from all over the place to come together for this tournament. Games like this, against Cuba, Panama and now Honduras, are going to get us ready to move on.
Team captain Maurice Edu:
On the importance of the game against Honduras:
This game is important for us. If we win this game, we win the group and that’s definitely something that we want to do. In the past couple of games we’ve improved. We started a little bit slowly but improved and got the result we needed. We’re looking to carry that momentum into the Honduras game and come out with three points.
On variations in the lineup:
I think getting everyone some time on the field is going to be beneficial to us in the long run. You never know what’s going to happen in terms of injuries and things like that, so the more experienced the guys are and the more game experience they have, the more it will benefit us. We’ll all be ready when our name is called. That’s definitely been good for us as a team.
On the second game vs. the first game:
The second game was definitely an improvement on the first. We haven’t finished as many goals as we’d like to, but we got the result that we want. I think if we continue to create chances that the goals will continue to come. We came out of this game with some momentum and we’re going to carry that into the next game.
Forward Jozy Alditore:
On how the team has played so far:
While I think there is some room for improvement, that doesn’t really matter right now. We’re trying to get good results and we’ve been able to do that so far.
On playing three games in five days:
It’s tough, but when a game is over you just have to forget about it and move on to the next one. It’s difficult but its something that every team has to deal with here.
U.S. Goalkeeper Chris Seitz:
On playing goalkeeper:
“In the position I play there is no room for mistakes and you always have to be sharp. You always have to try and do your best, so I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a perfectionist but I like to get things done and keep a clean sheet at least.”
On what he knows about Honduras:
“I watched film on them when they played Panama, and we also watched a little bit of the game yesterday. They like to pass the ball around a lot and are real technical. They also have good movement and can finish as they’ve scored the most goals in our group so far. We’ll get some more film on them again and be ready for the game.”
On having four points going into the final group match:
“I think we’re in a good position. Right now we’re second in the group, but if we go into the Honduras game and take care of business and pull out the win, we’ll end up first in our group and that’s our goal.”
On what the team needs to do to get three points against Honduras:
“I think a little bit of what we did against Panama. It’s going to be a pretty scrappy game and we’re just going to have to fight through the full 90 minutes and hopefully be the better squad at the end of the day.”
On what changed from the Cuba game to the Panama game:
“I don’t know if it was as much change, but we did adapt a little bit towards the more physical demands of the game. I think we got stuck in a bit more, we battled a lot more and at the end of the day our defense came through and got a shutout, which is always important for us.”
U.S. Midfielder Stuart Holden
On facing Honduras:
“We’ve seen clips of their first two games and they look like a pretty technical team. We know a couple of their player such as Ramon Nunez who played for FC Dallas, so I know him pretty well. Obviously, we’re expecting a tough game and we’re playing for who’s going to win the group and get the first seed. We just need to go out there with the same mentality we had in the last game, work hard and hopefully we can get a victory.”
On the importance to win the group:
“It would be nice to finish atop the group and be feeling good going into our semifinal game, having won our final group game. If that doesn’t work out though, and we go through as the second team it’s not the end of the world and we’re going to be ready to play whoever we end up with in the semifinals.”
On his performance against Panama:
“I felt I did pretty well over 90 minutes. The first game I didn’t play, and obviously that’s the coach’s decision on who’s play or not. I’m going to be ready regardless, whether I’m starting or coming off the bench and it’s a team effort here from one to 20. I think that’s what makes this group special and gives us a really good chance to go through and qualify for the Olympics.”
On having almost every field player get playing time:
“I think it helps because it gives us fresher legs. The other teams I believe have used pretty much similar lineups. No matter how fit you are, it’s tough to play a 90-minute games within three day periods. I think having rotated lineups a little bit will give us a little bit of a fresher edge in our last group game.”