Pre-Game Quote Sheet: USA Men vs. Japan
U.S. head coach Peter Nowak and selected players talk about the team's upcoming game against Japan.
Aug. 5, 2008
"We’re very excited to be here in Tianjin. We’ve prepared ourselves for this tournament for the past year. We’ve checked a lot of players between myself and [National Team coach] Bob Bradley and we feel that we’ve chosen the best to play on Thursday afternoon."
On what he expects from the Japanese:
"I think the strength of the Japanese team is their whole team, the way they work together and understand each other very well. We watched them in the Toulon Tournament that we played in and their ‘team’ is their biggest strength. They collectively are very strong and never give up. They know the game and the discipline it takes and at any given time they can hurt you."
On whether the lack of goals scored by his team is of concern:
"When we entered the qualifiers we all were concerned about the goal we set to advance to the Olympics Games. Everybody is trying to point out the negatives, but I look at the positive side. As a coach you’re always concerned about the team not creating chances, but during the qualifiers they did create a lot of chances. We had the opportunities to score goals, and we did that in the game that mattered the most. Against Canada in the semifinal we scored three goals and as far as I know it doesn’t really matter how many goals you score if you win. In today’s football it’s not possible to run up a score because the games are so tight. In every situation, every free kick and corner kick is very valuable. If you look at the EURO 2008, Germany played Portugal. Portugal was very fluid, but the Germans scored goals on free kicks and nobody really complained about that."
On his expectations of the tournament:
"Of course the group is very difficult for us. Nobody has a crystal ball that says how the tournament is going to go. We are just going to control what we can and make sure that our players are ready for, not only the Japan game but also the next two games."
On whether Japan has an advantage because of the climate:
"Unfortunately, every team doesn’t have a recipe or quick answer to how his preparations are going to go. We don’t know how the players will react to the heat, how they’re going to recover. The best example for me was in the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan. There was a significant difference in the preparations there and we tried to find answers based on their experience. I did talk with Bruce Arena, who was the National Team coach at the time, about the conditions and their preparations and recovery. I also talked with my friends in Germany and Poland about that World Cup and they said that the conditions are very extreme for the players. We just want to make sure that our fitness is there. We have some players who are playing in very hot conditions in the U.S., and we also have European players who just starting preseason. We want to get them on the same page."
On the Games:
"These kinds of events, like the World Cup, the Olympic Games can change players’ lives. One tournament, one goal, one game and that can change their life completely. I think they undertand that from that perspective the purpose of this tournament."
U.S. forward JOZY ALTIDORE
On the team's lack of scoring at the ING Cup:
"I wouldn’t say we’re concerned about it. We used the last two games to prepare for this tournament. It’s going to be very difficult and it’s going to take a lot of work from all of us to control our destiny. We have a lot of firepower on this team and a bunch of players who have the ability to score. There are no concerns with our scoring, I think we’re going to be fine."
On his comfort level playing alongside Brian McBride:
"First of all, Brian is a great player and he’s arguably one of the best forwards to ever play for the National Team so it’s more motivation for me to step onto the field to play alongside him. So far in the two games that I’ve been fortunate enough to play with him in, it’s been a little bit of a learning curve, but at the same time I’ve definitely become comfortable with him and the way he plays and how he likes to play. I think we’re doing well as of late and I think whoever ends up playing up there alongside him is going to be successful because he’s a very easy player to play with."
U.S. midfielder FREDDY ADU
On preparations at the ING Cup and the need to score goals:
"The ING Cup was a chance for us all to figure each other out on the field and work on some things. Obviously we would have loved to score a goal but I think we created enough chances. The goal-scoring part is going to come. We’ve been doing some finishing at training and hopefully it translates into the games."
On the USA's first opponent, Japan:
"I saw their game against Australia on TV while we were in Hong Kong and they looked pretty good. We know we have our work cut out for us. At the end of the day, we have to go out there and do what we know how to do, play our game. We’ve got the players and the talent on this team to do well here."
U.S. midfielder MICHAEL BRADLEY
On playing against Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda in the Dutch leage:
"He’s a very mobile guy, he likes to move around a lot. Certainly he’s a good player that we’ll have to keep an eye on. I’ve only played against him once and on that day we beat his team so I don’t think I saw everything he has in that game."
On the USA's first opponent:
"I know leading up to the game we’re going to watch a good amount of video on them and I know our coaches have done a great job getting a lot of information on them, but that usually gets communicated to us the day before the game. We just want to try to fine tune things on our side, making sure that we’re mentally and physically ready to go and that we’re sharp."
On the ING Cup in Hong Kong:
"At the ING Cup we played two really good teams and played a couple of good warm up games. We were able to get used to the heat and humidity while playing against two good teams. So, that part was good. I think we all realize that now we’re at the Olympics. We could feel it when we stepped off the plane yesterday. We’re here in Tianjin and everybody is focused and our mentality now is that of being at the Olympic Games. We’re excited and hopefully we’ll do well."