Post-game Quote Sheet: U.S. Women vs. Mexico
Following the U.S. Women's National Team's 5-0 win vs. Mexico, head coach Greg Ryan and a handful of players discussed the USA's domestic opener.
April 14, 2007
U.S. head coach GREG RYAN
On the match:
“We tried to throw a lot of numbers forward. We played a system (3-4-3) that we don’t normally play, but one we want to be able to play as an alternative. The goal is to win the ball, pressure and get it forward and attack as relentlessly as we could. Over the course of the game it went well. We organized our defending a little bit better which gave us more opportunities to get forward. I thought Abby, Lilly and Tarpley played some of the best soccer off of one another that I have seen in a while. I was really pleased to see that kind of chemistry. I’m very, very pleased with this team.”
On Kristine Lilly’s goals:
“Kristine is amazing. As soon as she pulled her leg back on that volley, you kind of had the feeling it was going to be one of those goals. She scores classic goals from all sorts of angles. She’s always been great volleying out of the air and the other was just a composed finish. She takes a touch in the box, pulls it down and tucks it away. Again, great finishing for her.”
On Abby Wambach’s positioning and movement off the ball:
“Abby is good at finding space for herself. You could say that one way of approaching this team would be that she is your big, strong player and just park her in the middle of the field. But she’s so good at finding open space. She found so much space on the flanks tonight, got in and served great balls. Her movement off the ball is so good, and our players are getting better and better at finding her.”
On whether these domestic games are evaluation tools:
“Right now, most of our evaluation is over. We know who our players are. We had all of last year in Residency to try and develop this team. Now what we are doing is putting our top players together, getting them in a rhythm with each other, and getting them to know each other so well that they can play without even looking at each other. With the young players there is still some evaluation. For our veteran players, we know what they all bring and they are very consistent and strong for us.”
On what the team can take out of this experience:
“If you look at our games over the last two years, we’ve out-chanced every opponent we’ve played with the exception of one game. We’re trying to work on finishing, so we are working a lot on technique. We’re working a lot on service. I thought our service tonight was fantastic. The balls played in the box and the crosses were spot on most of the time. More than anything, we are working on finishing. We played Mexico in the Gold Cup and beat them 2-0, but we didn’t create many chances in that game. Tonight you saw a team that really has got some attacking energy and wants to get in the box and wants to put their chances away. This is our main focus as we prepare for the World Cup. In the World Cup, you put your chances away and you move on. If you don’t, you don’t.”
U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On playing in a 3-4-3:
“It’s a double-edged sword. You get a lot of chances to get forward, but we’re also required to play more defense as a top three. That’s tough, because you don’t get much of a break. Playing against a stronger team, you see all the forwards running all over the field; today it wasn’t as much of a problem because they weren’t really able to get a lot of offense going. I like the system a lot. Defensively we had a few breakdowns. That’s just because we haven’t played that much in it. Moving forward, this is a good game to look back on to see where we need to make some corrections in the formation.”
On what the team has to do to be ready for the World Cup:
“I don’t actually know the answer to that. What I do know is that we are going to have a plethora of different formations that we can jump into. We’re going to have a lot of people that can step on and play confidently in World Cup environments. That’s going to be the difference of what makes us World Cup champions or not; whether we can prepare those players to jump into any formation given whatever teams throw at us. The more prepared we are, the better off we will be in September.”
On what she is working on individually:
“I’m working on getting complete fitness back and getting 100% healthy. I can sit here and say that I could have had three or four goals in this game, but that’s not what this is about. It’s never been about scoring goals for me. It’s about winning games. Do I leave happy about a game like this? Absolutely. We had someone get our first cap, someone get their first goal… these pieces of experience are going to be the difference that makes us World Cup champions.”
On playing with Kristine Lilly:
“Kristine is quiet, but deadly. She’s a leader by example. The thing about Kristine that amazes me is that she’s 72 years old and still scoring more goals than me (laughs). She makes my job easy and fun. When at 35 years old she can take a shot from 35 yards out and rip it over the ‘keeper’s head, it just makes me happy. All things aside, it’s important to state that Kristine has been the tradition maker on this team. She’s been around since the beginning. I had a picture of her up on my wall. It’s amazing to think about the people that I was looking up to. Now I’m playing alongside her, scoring goals and going into a World Cup in 2007. It’s pretty cool how things turn out.”
U.S. Captain and Sierra Mist Woman of the Match KRISTINE LILLY:
On the match:
“We had great fans today. With the cold weather and everything, it was a great atmosphere. I think the team played an exciting game of soccer. It was nice to sneak a couple in at the end. I had some great chances in the first half, especially on passes from Abby.”
Describing her goals:
“I was waiting for the ball to settle for me. It kept spinning away. I hit it great. It’s one of those times when you hit and you know it’s in. You don’t even have to look. In the first half, we had some great balls across the box. Abby played me that ball and it was perfectly paced. I knew the defender was not going to get to it.”
On how long she will continue to play:
“This game is great. I’m going to play as long as I can. As long as I can contribute positively and help this team be successful I’m going to.”
On what the team has to do to be ready for the World Cup:
“We still have time. As a team, we still need to be able to put together great 90 minute games. We had little lulls, we were giving the ball away a little bit. As we keep preparing and play these eight games, hopefully we can put it together where we have three 90 minute games where we are all on. That’s we are going to need to get to the next round of the World Cup.”
U.S. Forward LINDSAY TARPLEY
On the match:
"It was a fun game out there. Mexico did a great job against us, but we were able to find ways to break them down.The first half they had some chances, but over the course of the game we were able to solve it a bit better and use the whole field to find some ways to score some goals."
On chemistry with Abby Wambach and Kristine Lily:
"I love playing with them. I'm the type of player that likes to combine to get in and I'm always thinking about the next play as the play is going on. Playing with them more has given me more confidence and I feel more confident on the field. When I get the ball, I know where they're going to be. We'll just keep getting stronger and go from there."
On if having Abby Wambach and Kristine Lilly up front helps her game:
"I think that's the best part of our team, that we have so many individual players with talent and skill and flair. Obviously, Abby and Lilly are amazing players and people key on them so the more we can play together well on the field the better our results are going to be."
U.S. Forward LAUREN CHENEY
On learning from the other players:
"Lill and Abby are such great players and just being around them you learn so much from them on and off the field. They're just such amazing people."
On her first international goal:
"I played (Heather O'Reilly) through and kept making the run, like you do every day, keeping the same runs and it was a great ball by her to find me. It was such a good play. It was really exciting to score, especially on U.S. soil, for the Women's National Team as we prepare for a World Cup. This is what I dreamed about since I've been little and what an awesome team to play with."