U.S. Olympic Women's National Soccer Team vs. Japan - Post-Match Quote Sheet
THESSALONIKI, Greece (Aug. 20, 2004) - The U.S. Olympic Women's National Soccer Team talk about their 2-1 Olympic quarterfinal victory over Japan in Thessaloniki, Greece, this evening.
Aug. 20, 2004
Post Match Quote Sheet
Aug. 20, 2004
U.S. head coach April Heinrichs on the match:
"We're excited to be going to the semifinals. You saw that it was a tight game and Japan has made remarkable improvement since the World Cup and since the last time we played them. This was a breakout game for the U.S. as we played all the players for the full 90 minutes, which is statement of our confidence in them and in our fitness moving forward to the semifinals."
Heinrichs on playing on three less rest days that Japan, unprecedented in a world championship:
"Playing Japan on two days rest as they had five days rest and coming out with a win in a commanding fashion is a good lift for our team right now. We played with an aggressive attacking and defensive mentality and the best thing is that we sustained that for 90 minutes."
Heinrichs on the second goal that beat Japan's offside trap:
"After the first free kick, we noticed that Japan would pull a very aggressive trap. So we told our forward to go with their back line and let our midfielders run through. It was great execution on Shannon Boxx and Abby Wambach's part because they were almost in so easily that you could have lost their concentration expecting a whistle or a flag or miss-hit the ball trying to make it perfect. So I'm really proud that Boxxy cleaned it up and pushed it very selflessly over to Abby Wambach."
Heinrichs on if the second goal was onside:
"As the rules state, that is most likely going to be onside, but it's not a rule that I always agree. Offside is a gray area in the game of soccer during the run of play, but on those particular types of plays, with the timing of the pass coming through and the passive player, my guess is that it was onside."
Heinrichs on playing until the whistle blows:
"We tell our players that it's only a foul if the referee blows the whistle and it's only offside if the referee makes the call, so they really did well to play through it."
Heinrichs on facing Germany in the semifinal:
"It's a match-up we are excited to have. It's will be a match-up of some beautiful soccer. The last time we played was the semifinals of the (2003) World Cup and I feel to this day that it was one of the greatest games ever played in the women's game, so it will meet all expectations."
Heinrichs on Lindsay Tarpley, who got her first start of the tournament:
"We've seen our younger players get better every day this year and Lindsay Tarpley is a shining example of that. Every game she has played for this team, she has done extremely well."
Heinrichs on the lineup changes from the last game to this one:
"We decided that in a 4-3-3 we could put some pressure on Japan, that Kristine Lilly could give us some flank play, that Lindsay Tarpley could dig out second balls for us and play make against a very athletic team, and that Brandi Chastain could help compose us in the back. It's the old mantra, that the best defense is a good offensive and that helped us get forward and play in Japan's end."
Midfielder Shannon Boxx on her assist to Abby Wambach:
"Abby had mentioned something right before, saying 'watch the trap.' I stayed behind the line a little bit and watched and waited and I was definitely on. It was a little nerve-wracking when I got the ball, but I could hear Abby yelling at me telling me to settle as I had time, so I was glad that she was behind me and stayed onside so I could give her the ball."
Boxx on finding herself all alone with the Japanese goalkeeper:
"I definitely was in a good position and wanted to do something good with it. I didn't really have a shot because the 'keeper had the positioning on me, so I'm glad that Abby was there."
Goalkeeper Briana Scurry asked if she had thought about facing Germany:
"I just wanted to focus on Japan and our play and take it one game at a time, that's all you really can to do in the quarterfinals for sure, because if you don't win, you go home without anything."
Scurry on the changes on the U.S. back line:
"(Chastain) has the intangible of experience and her soccer mind is incredible, so it was great to have her out there again. Moving (Kate Makgraf) to the inside was a good move on our part because of her speed, trying to manage a fast Japanese team that comes down the middle a lot of times."
Forward Abby Wambach on her goal:
"Shannon Boxx gets all the credit on that goal. For her to have the composure to be able to look up and hear me, I was screaming my head off to tell her to stay composed and take her time because there was nobody around. I think (the Japanese defense) were probably still at the top of the 18 at that point. Our coaches told us that they like to pull that trap. Shannon stayed onside and took a great touch and had the composure to look up and see that we had a bunch of the people on the back post and all we had to do to stay onsides. It's probably the easiest goal I'll ever score in a world event."
Midfielder Julie Foudy joking about the amount of running she did on the night:
"I feel about 23, plus or minus a decade."
Forward Mia Hamm on the game and the first goal:
"I think we did some really good things. We probably possessed the ball better than we have, especially in the first 20 minutes and we got behind them when we could. The first goal was a result of Tarpley challenging the 'keeper. If you don't challenge the 'keeper, it's an easy ball for her to pick up and then you had (Lilly) their just scraping."