Quote Sheet: U.S. WNT Ties Japan 1-1
Post-match quote sheet from the U.S. WNT's 1-1 draw with Japan on Sunday, June 6, 2004.
June 7, 2004
U.S. forward Abby Wambach on playing on the artificial surface:
"It's just a tough surface to play on. The space is tight and the ball moves faster, so it's tough to find a balance and play your game on this surface."
Wambach on the tie:
"Japan is a great team, and I can't stand here and say it was all us (playing poorly), but we all believe a 1-1 tie is not good enough. It's not up to our standards. We are preparing in residency camp and working hard to make sure something like this doesn't happen again."
Mia Hamm on a subs helping spark a better second half:
"We were trying adapt to the surface and we didn't do a good job. We tried to play one-touch and you really can't on this stuff. You have to be patient, bring the ball down and move the ball a little bit, which is what Japan did a good job of. When Aly (Wagner) and Brandi (Chastain) came in the second half, they initiated that (ball movement) in all of us and helped us string some passes together and get some confidence. We got a goal back and Kristin Luckenbill made a couple big saves in the second half that helped us out a lot."
Hamm on the lessons learned from the match:
"We have to learn from this. It wasn't one of those performances that you are excited about. You have to take what you can from it and I'm sure we're going to watch a lot of this game on film and try to right the wrongs for next game. We know we are capable of better soccer and our plan is to improve next time."
Hamm on the lackluster first half:
"Japan is very patient on the ball. They attack and defend with numbers. At first, we were trying to play a little more direct but they did a good job of sitting back and playing their defense in a straight line, so you can get one person with four or five defenders around them. Once we possessed the ball and moved forward as a team, I think we had much more success. Technically, we were a bit off today, and sometimes that just happens. You try to focus and it's not for a lack of trying by any players out here, they are as upset as anyone when a ball rolls under their foot. Sometimes, you just have days like that and you try to find some positives. The players never gave up physically and we worked hard."
Hamm on the match:
"You have to give credit to Japan. They came out and played hard, they had a great game plan and got an early goal. They tried to possess the ball, but I am glad for the fact that we came out in the second half and pressed and played the soccer we know we are capable of for a good 20-25 minutes and a lot of that credit goes to the players that came on at halftime."
U.S. captain Julie Foudy on the match:
"The people who came in the second half gave us a boost, Brandi and Christie at the outside backs, Aly did great in the middle, Mac and Parlow came on late and Kristin Luckenbill made some great saves. We started getting a rhythm in the second half, but in the first half, we were so disjointed on defense and attack and Japan is such a good team that they will take advantage of that."
Foudy on the surface:
"This turf is tough. It wreaks havoc on the bottom of your feet, but we just needed to get in a groove and we did that in the second half."
Foudy on changes made in the second half:
"We felt like we didn't get in behind them at all in the first half, so we talked about that at halftime, trying to turn them a bit more. We wanted to thread it through the back line or go over the top and stretch them. Christie (Rampone) got behind three or four times, and Brandi (Chastain) did a few times as well."
Foudy on the team developing:
"We figure we have two months to peak and even though we don't like to tie, it is June and that was a good Japanese team. It's now a process of starting to get to know your starting 11. April has been developing a lot of players, which is good, because you will need all 18 in the Olympics, but I think now we will start focusing a bit more on the starting group playing together."
U.S. head coach April Heinrichs on the match:
"We just weren't at the top of our game in the first half and I knew if we just simplified things, we could get a little bit better. I was very impressed with our first 25 minutes of the second half. That showed the way we've been playing and that's really what our standards are. You'd have to say that the players really turned it on and got it together."
Heinrichs on Japan:
"This surface favors them. They are a little more technical that we are and they are actually very good on this surface. They played very well and were a handful for us at times. Our last three games with Japan have been very tight."
Heinrichs on the second half:
"If we play the way did in the second half that shows we can do some very dynamic things on and off the ball. Those moments were very positive for us and we'll hang our hats on those, but the tie sticks in our throats and we have a hard time swallowing it."
Heinrichs on the defense:
"I really have to give high praise to all six backs who played today because we were experimenting (playing people in different positions) a bit. In some instances that experimentation perhaps helped create that first goal, but we think it will help us long term."