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U.S. Soccer Names All-Time Men’s National Team Best XI

CHICAGO (Dec. 20, 2013) – U.S. Soccer unveiled its All-Time Men’s National Team Best XI to wrap up the Federation’s celebration of its Centennial anniversary. The Women’s National Team Best XI was named Thursday.

For the MNT Best XI, Landon Donovan leads the way with 52 votes. He and Clint Dempsey represent the two players currently active with the National Team through 2013.

The MNT Best XI also features five members of the National Soccer Hall of Fame: defenders Marcelo Balboa (2005) and Eddie Pope (2011), midfielders Tab Ramos (2005) and Claudio Reyna (2012) and forward Eric Wynalda (2004).

Three-time FIFA World Cup goalkeeper Brad Friedel received 25 votes from the panel (44 percent of the vote).

Calculated by total votes, U.S. Soccer’s All-Time Men’s Best XI is arranged in a 4-4-2 formation and listed below in alphabetical order by position:

Goalkeeper – Brad Friedel 1992-2004 (25 votes)

Defender – Marcelo Balboa 1988-2000 (35 votes)
Defender – Carlos Bocanegra 2001-2012 (25 votes)
Defender – Steve Cherundolo 1999-2012 (25 votes)
Defender – Eddie Pope 1996-2006 (33 votes)

Midfielder – Clint Dempsey 2004-present (25 votes)
Midfielder – Landon Donovan 2000-present (52 votes)
Midfielder – Tab Ramos 1988-2000 (42 votes)
Midfielder – Claudio Reyna 1994-2006 (45 votes)

Forward – Brian McBride 1993-2006 (45 votes)
Forward – Eric Wynalda 1990-2000 (43 votes)

Complete voting results are listed below.

In an effort to create a fair and reasonable process to determine the All-Time Best XI, U.S. Soccer appointed a committee of soccer historians and former players, coaches, media members and administrators at the National Team level.

The committee determined the list of eligible players for selection to the Best XI, as well as the criteria to be considered by the list of voters. Voters for the MNT Best XI included 57 former players and administrators, as well as media members. The criteria the voters considered in determining their All-Time Best XI:

  1. Starter or key contributor to overall success on the field, especially in World Cups
  2. Longevity, overall performance and talent on the field with the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Team
  3. Impact on the legacy of the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Team program

Members of the voting include, in alphabetical order:

Jeff Agoos (former player), Roger Allaway (historian), Bruce Arena (coach), Esse Baharmast (referee), Marcelo Balboa (former player), Roger Bennett (media), Paul Caligiuri (former player), Andres Cantor (media), Jeff Carlisle (media), Dr. Bob Contiguglia (administrator), Rick Davis (former player), Steve Davis (media), Frank Dell’Apa (media), JP Dellacamera (media), Anson Dorrance (coach), Julie Foudy (former player), Werner Fricker Jr. (administrator), Carin Gabarra (former player), Bob Gansler (former coach), Steve Goff (media), Brian Hall (referee), Mia Hamm (former player), John Harkes (former player), April Heinrichs (former player), Chris Henderson (former player), Ted Howard (administrator), Clark Hunt (administrator), Cobi Jones (former player), Grahame Jones (media), Colin Jose (historian), Michelle Kaufman (media), Paul Kennedy (media), Alfred Kleinaitis (referee), Eddie Lewis (former player), Michael Lewis (media), Bob Ley (media), Ridge Mahoney (media), Kyle Martino (former player), Brian McBride (former player), Bora Milutinovic (former coach), Len Oliver (former player), Kevin Payne (administrator), Hugo Perez (former player), Eddie Pope (former player), Tab Ramos (former player), Alan Rothenberg (administrator), Hank Steinbrecher (administrator), Rob Stone (media), Jamie Trecker (media), Jerry Trecker (media), Jim Trecker (administrator), Al Trost (former player), Peter Vermes (former player), Kelly Whiteside (media), Mike Woitalla (media), Alex Yannis (media) and Mark Ziegler (media).

Complete Voting Results for All-Time Men’s National Team Best XI:

Goalkeepers:
Brad Friedel 25, Kasey Keller 14, Tim Howard 13, Tony Meola 4, Arnold Mausser 1, Frank Borghi 0, David Vanole 0

Defenders:
Marcelo Balboa 35, Eddie Pope 33, Carlos Bocanegra 25, Steve Cherundolo 25, Thomas Dooley 20, Paul Caligiuri 18, Jeff Agoos 16, Alexi Lalas 14, Frankie Hejduk 9, Harry Keough 6, Pablo Mastroeni 3, Fernando Clavijo 2, Tony Sanneh 2, Mike Windischmann 2, Gregg Berhalter 2, Desmond Armstrong 0, Jimmy Banks, Brian Bliss 0, Mike Burns 0, John Doyle 0, Mike Lapper 0, Oguchi Onyewu 0, Werner Roth 0

Midfielders:
Landon Donovan 52, Claudio Reyna 45, Tab Ramos 42, Clint Dempsey 25, Michael Bradley 20, Cobi Jones 12, Walter Bahr 6, John Harkes 6, Hugo Perez 3, Adolf Bachmeier 2, Rick Davis 2, John O’Brien 2, Al Trost 2, DaMarcus Beasley 1, Ed McIlvenny 1*, Joe-Max Moore 1, Brian Quinn 1, Mike Sorber 1, Chris Armas 0, Chris Henderson 0, Eddie Lewis 0, Preki 0, Ed Souza 0, John Souza 0

Forwards:
Brian McBride 45, Eric Wynalda 43, Earnie Stewart 16, Billy Gonsalves 7, Jozy Altidore 6, Peter Vermes 3, Joe Gaetjens 2, Archie Stark 2, Roy Wegerle 2, Roy Lassiter 1, Clint Mathis 1, Benny McLaughlin 1*, Ed Murphy 1*, Bruce Murray 1, Kyle Rote Jr. 1, Willy Roy 1, David Brown 0, Brian Ching 0, Aldo “Buff” Donelli 0, Frank Klopas 0, Bill Looby 0, Bert Patenaude 0, Josh Wolff 0

*These three players were not on the eligible list, but were write-in votes

MNT Secures 3-1 Victory and Advancement to Final Round of Qualifying

  • USA Advances to Final Round of Qualifying in Front of Sellout Crowd of 16,947 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park
  • Clint Dempsey Scores 29th, 30th Career Goals, Tying Brian McBride for Third All-Time in U.S. History
  • Carlos Bocanegra Tallies 14th Career Goal to Set Record for a USA Defender
  • Jamaica Moves Ahead of Guatemala and Takes Second in Group A to Advance to Hexagonal

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Oct. 16, 2012) – The U.S. Men’s National Team, backed by a sold-out crowd of 16,947 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, defeated Guatemala 3-1 on Tuesday to capture the top spot in Group A of the Semifinal Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying.

Clint Dempsey scored his 29th and 30th career goals and assisted on Carlos Bocanegra’s 14th career tally as the veteran duo gave the United States momentum heading into the Final Round of qualifying in CONCACAF as the team looks to book its ticket to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil for its seventh straight appearance at the world stage. The Final Round hexagonal qualifying stage will be played from Feb. 6 through Oct. 15, 2013.

The USA finished at the head of the group with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points and improved its 2012 record to 9-2-2, earning its best winning percentage (0.769) in the modern era. Jamaica (3-2-1, 10 points) took second place in Group A and moved ahead of Guatemala on goal differential following its 4-1 victory against Antigua & Barbuda on Tuesday.

Among the other CONCACAF teams, Costa Rica secured the second qualifying spot in Group B with a 7-0 victory against Guyana. Mexico had already won its group heading into the final match and capped off the Semifinal Round with a 2-0 win against El Salvador. Mexico was the only CONCACAF team to go 6-0-0 in this stage.

In Group C, Honduras trounced Canada 8-1 on Tuesday to move to the top of the group at 3-1-2 (11 points), winning the group based on goal differential. Panama also advances from the group with a 3-1-2 record (11 points) thanks to a 1-1 draw against Cuba.

The U.S. fell behind early when Guatemala’s leading scorer and captain Carlos Ruiz got behind the USA defense on a counterattack pass through the defense from Jose Manuel Contreras. Ruiz dribbled away from U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard to his left and poked the ball into the net with the outside of his right foot for a 1-0 Guatemala lead in the fifth minute.

Bocanegra and the USA were quick to respond as the U.S. captain and center back nabbed the equalizer in the 10th minute. Graham Zusi, playing on the field he calls home with Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer, took a corner kick from the right side and found Dempsey making a strong run into the box. Dempsey snapped his header to the left for Bocanegra, who volleyed it into the net to tie the score at 1-1.

Bocanegra became the all-time leading scorer among U.S. MNT defenders with that goal, passing Marcelo Balboa (13 career goals). It also was Bocanegra’s fourth career goal in World Cup qualifying.

The USA took a 2-1 lead in the 18th minute on Dempsey’s first goal of the night, capitalizing on Eddie Johnson’s rolling cross from the right and beating Guatemala’s Jonathan Lopez to the ball. U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo orchestrated the attack with a crisp left-footed ball from the right flank to Johnson.

Dempsey pushed the USA lead to 3-1 in the 36th minute with a tap-in to an open net. Michael Bradley combined with Herculez Gomez and Bradley then provided a deft touch to lift the ball over sprawled-out Guatemala goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez Jr. Uncertain if the ball was goal bound, Dempsey erased any doubt and guided the ball in for his 30th career goal and 10th total in World Cup Qualifying.

With that score, Dempsey tied for third place all-time on the U.S. MNT career list with Brian McBride. Dempsey also tied Johnson and McBride for second all-time in qualifying goals, trailing only Landon Donovan (12 goals).

Dempsey led the U.S. with five goals in the Semifinal Round, scoring in four of the USA’s six games.

The U.S. defense managed the remainder of the match, while there were some potential moments to increase the lead, particularly Johnson’s scoring chance in the 56th minute that was saved by Jerez and Dempsey nearly heading in a Gomez cross less than a minute later.

Howard made three saves for the United States. The closest scoring chance Guatemala had in the second half came in the 66th minute when a Contreras shot from the left side was driven toward Howard. Howard did not corral the shot cleanly, but he was quick to react to kick the ball away when it looked like Guatemala could cut the USA lead in half.

Additional Notes:

  • Finishing on 13 points, the U.S. equaled its second-highest total in the Semifinal Round in the last five World Cup qualifying cycles.
  • Captain Carlos Bocanegra played in his 109th career game on Tuesday, moving to within one of sixth-place Paul Caligiuri (110 caps from 1984-98).
  • Bocanegra moved to center back against Guatemala and Michael Parkhurst started at left back.
  • Clint Dempsey became the fifth U.S. player to post two multi-goal games in World Cup Qualifying history. The other players who have accomplished this feat: DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson and Joe-Max Moore.
  • Goalkeeper Tim Howard made his 83rd career international appearance, moving into sole possession of third place all-time in U.S. MNT goalkeeper caps ahead of Brad Friedel (82). Howard leads the team this year with 11 starts.
  • Joe Corona earned his third career international cap as a second-half sub for Johnson in the 90th minute.
  • Yellow cards carry over into the Final Round of qualifying. U.S. MNT players who are currently sitting on yellow cards include Michael Bradley, Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi.
  • Midfielder Jermaine Jones was not available on Tuesday against Guatemala because of yellow card accumulation. Jones traveled back to Germany on Sunday.
  • The U.S. improved to 13-4-6 all-time against Guatemala and extended its unbeaten streak to 18 games (13-0-6).
  • The USA moved to 7-0-5 against Guatemala in World Cup qualifying matches.


-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Guatemala
Date: Oct. 16, 2012
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier; Semifinal Round
Venue: LIVESTRONG Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT
Attendance: 16,947
Weather: 79 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                            3          0          3
GUA                           1          0          1

GUA – Carlos Ruiz (Jose Manuel Contreras)             5th minute
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (Clint Dempsey)                10       
USA – Clint Dempsey (Eddie Johnson)                    18
USA – Clint Dempsey (Michael Bradley)                  36

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 20-Geoff Cameron, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 2-Michael Parkhurst; 19-Graham Zusi (7-Maurice Edu, 78), 14-Danny Williams, 4-Michael Bradley, 18-Eddie Johnson (11-Joe Corona, 90); 8-Clint Dempsey, 9-Herculez Gomez (16-Sacha Kljestan, 66)
Subs not used: 5-Kyle Beckerman,12-Brad Guzan, 17-Alan Gordon, 21-Clarence Goodson, 22-Nick Rimando
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

GUA: 1-Ricardo Jerez Jr.; 2-Ruben Morales, 3-Elias Vasquez, 4-Erwin Morales, 23-Jonathan Lopez; 6-Wilfred Velasquez, 10-Mario Rodriguez (22-Minor Lopez, 46), 11-Jose Manuel Contreras, 15-Manuel Leon, 18-Carlos Figueroa (16-Marco Pappa, 46); 20-Carlos Ruiz (capt.) (17-Dwight Pezzarossi, 88)

Subs not used: 12-Cristian Alvarez, 21-Jaime Carbajal; 5-Wilson Lalin, 13-Claudio Albizuris, 7-Marco Tulio Ciani, 8-Gonzalo Romero, 14-Sergio Trujillo, 9-Henry Lopez, 19-Lester Ruiz
Head coach: Ever Hugo Almeida

Stats Summary: USA / GUA                                  
Shots: 12 / 9
Shots on Goal: 8 / 4
Saves: 3 / 5
Corner Kicks: 8 / 5
Fouls: 11 / 12
Offside: 0 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
GUA – Elias Vasquez (caution)          76th minute
USA – Clint Dempsey (caution)         90+2

Officials:
Referee: Roberto Moreno (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Williamson (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Keytzel Corrales (NCA)
Fourth Official: Luis Rodriguez (PAN)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey

MNT vs. GUA: Post-Match Quote Sheet

U.S. MNT vs. Guatemala
2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying; Semifinal Round
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.
Oct. 16, 2012


U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
On the match against Guatemala:
“We’d like to thank that amazing crowd here and the people involved in the game here in Kansas City. It was phenomenal. It was quite an experience for all of us, even for the European players who are used to big places. I think the performance overall was very good. We did not need [give up] that first goal – that was not necessary. The good thing was that they responded right away and turned things around immediately and that calmed things down. In a game like this you can never be sure, you never know what could happen. In the second half, you could give a goal away then suddenly the dynamics changes and the momentum changes. I wish there would’ve been a fourth goal to kill it off, but overall I’m very pleased. The players responded well. Their attitude overall the last couple days has been very positive, the team is growing and supporting each other.”

On the relationship between Eddie Johnson and Clint Dempsey:
“I heard that they know each other quite well and for a long time – longer than they’ve known me. They have good chemistry and they get along. On the field, you want to see guys that are there for each other. When you have a mistake, the other guy comes and gives you a pat on the shoulder and says, ‘Come on, let’s keep going.’ Eddie was definitely a big plus for us to have. For us coaches, it was wonderful to see his qualities in our group. I think he matured a lot, I spoke a lot with Sigi (Schmid) over the last couple of months about his path. He went through ups and downs in his career, but he understands the moment. I told him when he came in, ‘If you give us everything you have and just kind of adjust to what we’re doing here, don’t worry, you’re going to be fine.’ He felt comfortable and confident and he responded with a wonderful performance tonight. It gives us another card we can play with, a very important one.”

On if there is a sense of relief after the match:
“We expected a very difficult qualifying campaign and that’s what it is. We discussed it a couple days ago. We didn’t necessarily get it down to the wire in the first stage, but that’s how soccer works. If you give away a game like we did in Jamaica then you have to pay the price for it a little while and you have to correct it. We go through now in first place and we made things clear that we were the No. 1 team in this group. The next round will be even tougher. You have very good teams in there, every game will be a battle, every game will be a fight and we are ready for that. It’s just a normal path that you go through and you take a lot of new experience with that. Players grow and coaches learn and it’s just normal.”

On what went well tonight that hadn’t gone well in the past:
“I think they understood the moment and that’s why they responded well after the first goal. They wanted to keep the tempo high, they wanted to come over the wings, they wanted to combine and keep the ball. Sometimes even a little bit longer than we want to see it, but it’s better if we have it than they have it and be patient and wait for these penetrating balls between the full backs and center backs. I think they developed a better chemistry. We are, step-by-step, breaking in new players into that team and I think you see players that grow into that team like a Graham Zusi. At the same time, we have to take care of qualifying and see some new players come in and make a stamp on the game and developing through it. Thankfully this is done now, and 2013 will be very busy for us. We are going to play friendlies, World Cup qualifiers and the Gold Cup. We have to build two rosters for that because we can’t have the players do both. That’s good to see that we have players now coming through MLS, they are knocking at the door and getting stronger in MLS. This gets into their system, they are getting used to it. They are getting used to playing every four or five games, which is very important. This is not coming over night. If you talk to the MLS coaches, it takes years to get that into your system and it’s growing. So, we take a lot from that.”

On if that means he’s not sending the best team to the Gold Cup:
“We don’t know how we’re going to manage that whole thing. It’s more down to how their own schedule looks like and what league they play in and how does the league work and we have to put that puzzle together. It’s not going to be an easy one.”

On the partnership of Herculez Gomez and Clint Dempsey and Danny Williams and Michael Bradley:
“I think that both partnerships are getting smoother and better. You add Eddie Johnson to it know because he also has a good understanding with Clint. Danny Williams is a player we follow closely that is a real No. 6, he’s a similar player like Kyle Beckerman. They play a similar role. Especially, when you play a team like Guatemala who hits long balls and live off the second balls and whatever drops down – you need to have a No. 6 cleaning it up. That partnership with Michael is developing, we told Michael to play in front of him so that not only they play next to each other defensively but when we go forward Michael plays the attacking role and that worked well. You have to do that because otherwise you get caught in counterattacks.”

On the biggest thing he learned about the team through this qualifying round:
“Obviously you learn with every game and every day you work with that group. You know the players better and better, and you make your decisions based on what you see and what you experience, like decisions now for the roster that we’ve already discussed a couple of times. You learn that the games in Central America or the Caribbean because that’s new for me, too, and I adjust to it and I learn everything about it. I know about World Cup qualifying. I’ve done that as a player. It obviously comes down to the wire. But most importantly as a coach and as a coaching staff, you want to see your players develop. You want to see your players getting a feeling that they’re actually improving, getting better and responding that way. For them, it’s not easy. Coming from different places flying in and stepping up like this, it’s not [easy]. To get it in the right perspective when you play 50 to 65 games a year, we try to work them through it.”

On capping off the Semifinal Round with a strong finish:
“It’s definitely a good way to end the first round and advance and to make it clear that we were the No. 1 team in that group. With every game you try to earn respect. That’s what you do – every friendly, every qualifying game, every competition, you try to earn respect. You know that in soccer everybody’s watching you. You want to always make statements that say we’re ready for whoever comes in. We want to go to Mexico with the confidence that say we want to beat you there, which happened fortunately. That’s something you have to repeat to the players all the time. Every game starts at nil-nil, and you have to have the right attitude and spirit for it and match the opponent right away with that fighting spirit.”

On the versatility and positioning of Eddie Johnson and the tactical changes against Guatemala:
“I think it’s a great option now to have with Eddie. He can play wide but he can also play up front. It’s exciting to see that. I think Graham Zusi brings an element to this group. He’s technically so gifted, he keeps the ball and his passing is accurate. I told him before the game – he was extremely excited playing in his home stadium – to keep things simple. When you have this special moment you try to overdo it. He didn’t – he kept it simple. That gives us weapons at certain moments. The danger from Guatemala comes through the middle. So that’s why shifted things around a little bit to be stronger, Mo (Maurice Edu) came in to be really strong, as well, in the middle but still keep pushing forward. Fresh legs gave us that element, as well. It’s a good thing to have.”

U.S. Men's National Team Midfielder MICHAEL BRADLEY
On the team’s formation and movement forward:
"At times I moved a little bit forward and Clint came next to me so there was a triangle [with Dempsey, Gomez and Williams]. Obviously the movement between the three guys up front was good [Johnson, Gomez and Zusi] and those movements helped us play the game game on our terms and put them on the back foot from the start."

On having to win after going behind:
"We talked beforehand about wanting to be aggressive and wanting to start the game well. But we also talked about just because you want to do that, doesn't mean you have a divine right to step on the field and win. There's still another team on the field and things don't always go your way or exactly how you planned. For us, the response was great. Far from a perfect start but when the goal went in guys looked around at each other and said "Hey, we've been here before and we're going to have to win the game in a different way now." The response, the mentality and the commitment was all great."

On Graham Zusi:
"Age-wise he's not so young but as far as experience in games, he's on the younger side. He's come in and from the first time he's been shown a real eagerness to improve and to try and make a difference. His soccer ability really helps us. If we tilt him out on the right, he finds a good way of playing out wide but coming inside and playing between the lines. Going forward we're going to expect more and more out of him."

On the crowd in Kansas City:
"It was phenomenal. The atmosphere was great. Even going down 1-0 you could tell they would be behind us all night and they were going to be loud. I can't stress enough how big a difference that makes. When we step on the field and we feel like we're playing in front of a crowd that's going to push us and support us no matter what, we appreciate that and thank everybody who comes to be a part of that."

On what to expect in the Hexagonal:
"To start with you have to take care of your games at home. That's always the first thing. You've got to play good games at home and come away with three points. You go to different places on the road and you have to know how, even on tough days and in difficult conditions, come away with points. Whether it's on the turf in Saprissa (Costa Rica), or the altitude, heat and smog in Azteca (Mexico), or the difficult field in Jamaica. There's so little room for error and from the start we'll have to be committed to doing whatever we have to do to get the job done. That changes every game depending on the opponent or where the game is played but we have to be committed to getting points and doing whatever it takes."

U.S. Men's National Team Midfielder GRAHAM ZUSI
On the win against Guatemala:
"We talked about this game as being one where we didn't want to do the minimal to get the result. We wanted to come out, score some goals, take it to them and win the game. We were a litle shocked they scored but continued to pressure them and were dangerous throughout the first half. We responded very well to their goal, got one back quickly and kept on going after that. I thought it was a very good performance."

On the movement of Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson:
"When those guys are being as dangerous as they are, it opens up space for other people. I found myself in some decent spots and tried to whip the ball in when I could."

On playing at "home in Kansas City, where he plays for Sporting KC:
"It's a different opponent and different team. But it's familiar at the same time because of the venue and the fans. All in all it was a lot of fun for me tonight. It was just an incredible atmosphere and you'd expect nothing less."

On his growth as a player:
"I guess you can say it was a quick ascent but in my eyes I don't just look at this as the last year of work. It's been a long road with twenty hard years of a lot of dedication and work that went into this, so I'm extremely happy it paid off. I don't think I deserved to be here earlier [in my career] but as of late my game has evolved a little bit and, especially with my club, I've found myself in the position to play a lot more games, get my confidence up and make a difference. When you feel confident, you're allowed to take a little bit more risk and you can believe in yourself a little bit more."

U.S. Men’s National Team Midfielder CLINT DEMPSEY
On the response to going down 1-0 early in the match: 
“I thought we started the game well, but they hit us on the counter and got the early goal. It was not the ideal start for us, but I thought we showed a lot of character bouncing back from that creating chances and finishing the chances we got. You could see in the second half we were comfortable, they were sitting back and we were still trying to push for more goals. We’re happy to get to the next round. I think the key for us in the next round is to do a better job getting points away from home. It will take a little bit of pressure off us trying to get results at home.” 

On his partnership with the forwards on the team:
“We have a lot of good forwards on this team, whether it’s Herc (Gomez), Eddie, Jozy, Alan who is doing really well in MLS. We have a lot of depth, so that’s good. It keeps people hungry, it keeps people working hard and keeps people trying to make sure they stay on that field. That’s what you need. You need that fire under you a little bit to know that your spot is not guaranteed and if you don’t put in a good performance you could find yourself getting dropped. It’s definitely important to build chemistry. It’s good for us to get wins and when we get wins we get confidence and when we get confidence that will keep carrying us forward. He (Gomez) works hard, he has a good engine and pressures their defense and causes them to make errors. We are able to get throw-ins and free kicks. He’s really good on set pieces. You can’t really single out one player, we have a lot of players who work hard. It’s important for the whole team to get chemistry, not only the forwards. I thought we put in a solid performance tonight.”

On ending the round with a good performance and entering the break:
“We know that there is still a lot of work to be done. We know that we can be better and sharpen up in order to qualify for the World Cup. We know the next round is going to be tough, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that we’re ready for it and not let this opportunity slip by.”

On the difference from the match against Antigua & Barbuda:
“We were able to do a better job keeping possession. The balls that you’re able to get were the balls that you’re used to. You’re able to get good touches on it and you know what kind of bounces are going to come your way. Instead of just a free-for-all where you don’t know what kind of bounce you’re going to get, you don’t know if it’s going to get stuck in the mud or your foot is going to slip in the mud. It’s a totally different game and you were able to see that tonight. I think that we’re able to show our quality on a field like this and that’s the way football should be played – on a quality pitch. It’s good for the fans, it’s good for the teams playing because you can play the game in the right way. That’s what you love about the game, is playing the game you grew up watching. I didn’t grow up watching long-ball, kick it and Hail Mary and hit-and-hope types of things. You have to be confident on the ball, the ball is your friend. It’s not your enemy. We showed that tonight that we have that confidence on the ball.”

On being better in the next round:
“We know it’s going to be more difficult in the next round. No matter what, we got out of the round. Whether we played great, didn’t play great – we got the job done. Next round we need to be better, but we need to be better away from home. We need to get points away from home that will alleviate the pressure of getting points at home. Still, we want to maintain our dominance at home, it’s great to play in front of crowds like this. It’s important to keep that winning mentality and that fight that we showed tonight, we have to bring that every game. It’s difficult with travel sometimes, being able to have your energy levels at that peak level that you need to have it and we’re just doing a little bit better job at trying to manage that. It’s difficult for the coaches because they’re sitting and waiting for the players to come in and try to do everything with them, but you only have three days. That’s a dynamic that every team has to face. We just have to keep working on things and make sure that we get that chemistry and together that we can get the job done and get to the next World Cup and try to do something special there.” 

U.S. Men’s National Team Defender CARLOS BOCANEGRA
On the match against Guatemala:
“It was good. We played pretty well tonight and we did well with the ball and spread them out and moved it side-to-side. It was a good team effort.”

On responding to going down 1-0 early in the match:
“It was just a little bit frustrating because it was too easy of a goal to give away. We were a little bit spread out and that one pass beats us. It was early in the game and I don’t think anybody really put their head down. We knew we were going to get at least one back, they came quickly tonight so it was nice.”

On the team’s quality of performance overall:
“Minus the first goal, I thought we did pretty well. We were organized and the guys did well to hold the ball up. The attackers did a really good job of moving the ball from side-to-side and letting the ball do the work and they [Guatemala] had to chase.”

On the atmosphere at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park:
“It was good. It was a nice field tonight. It was a big field, a great surface. With the pro-American crowd and the support here, it was a great atmosphere to play in.”

On becoming the highest-scoring U.S. MNT defender of all-time with his goal against Guatemala:
“That’s cool. I didn’t think too much about that. It’s a nice honor. It was better for us to get the win. It was an important goal for the team to get us back on track. Luckily, it bounced to me and I was able to finish it off.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On Eddie Johnson's performance over two games:
"Aside from the two goals, which obviously stand out, I thought he played great. He was aggressive and got the ball. He was tight and played on the turn. He's playing with a ton of confidence, which is awesome to see."

On moving forward to the Hexagonal:
"We feel like we're the best team in the region. Mexico feels like they are. In order to prove that, we've got to go out there and do it every game. You can't have off games. We have to be better at putting together good performances more consistently."

On giving up an early goal and the response:
"It was just a sloppy goal. There wasn't enough pressure on the ball. We needed to drop our line and probably play it safe but credit to Carlos Ruiz who finished it well. You get frustrated but sometimes the best time for them to score is early on. The crowd's response was fantastic and we kept pushing the tempo, got back on level footing and that made it easier for us."

On how the team shook off the early goal to go on the attack:
"You never want to get scored on, of course and we get frustrated. But we're all experience enough to keep playing you don't let one become two, become three. You never want to give one up early on but credit to us because our response was fantastic. I thought we played well defensively besides that one hiccup. We were mostly solid, kept them out and on the balance of things deserved what we got tonight."

MNT vs. ATG: Post-Match Quote Sheet

U.S. MNT Quote Sheet
U.S. MNT vs. Antigua and Barbuda
2014 World Cup Qualifying; Semifinal Round
Sir Vivian Richards Stadium; North Sound, Antigua
Oct. 12, 2012


U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach JURGEN KLINSMANN

On the match overall:
“We knew they would take this game as the game of their lives, and that’s what they did. We mentioned it to the players many times and made them aware of it. We expected the game to be very difficult. They have quality players in their side that can surprise you, which they did when they scored the equalizer. Then it’s just hard, hard work. You have to find ways through their block of eight or nine guys and create the chances and put the chances away. We got the three points. That’s the most important thing about this game. Do we have to play better? Absolutely. We are not happy with what we saw, but we expected a very difficult challenge and they gave us that challenge and it came down to the wire. I’m happy for Eddie, getting this moment back in the team. He was all excited the last couple of days. He put the two goals away and that gets us back home with three points. There are a couple of things that we will discuss internally that we need to do much better in Kansas City.”

On what he saw from Eddie Johnson that earned him the starting spot:
“We see a player that is extremely proud to be back in this group. We see a player that has matured a lot and knows now he has a point to prove. He gets that opportunity and knows maybe at his age there might not be that many opportunities coming, and he takes that one similar to Herculez Gomez how he took his chance in May and June in these games and put himself back into the team. That is great to see the hunger Eddie brought into the camp and the instinct to be in the right place at the right time.”

On the strategy and effect of the three U.S. substitutions he made:
“We said at halftime we have to step it up and we have to play fast and we have to play one-two touches more often and find space in behind their fullbacks. The reason Jermaine Jones didn’t play from the beginning is because he couldn’t train until the last training yesterday.We played him as a neutral in our training game because he carried an injury into camp. Based on the fact that he comes in with a yellow card, we thought it was wiser that he comes off the bench and see how the game goes. I told him to read the game, and if the game doesn’t go the way we want it to go then you’re in there in the second half, which happened. He came in with Sacha (Kljestan), who was very dynamic in training sessions and he was waiting for that opportunity. He has a good shot and created some stuff and has also had more urgency in his game. Bringing in Alan Gordon, you switch over to two forwards that have to be present in the box and switch Clint (Dempsey) back to a No. 10, changing the formation to a diamond because you’ve got to do something different if you’re not getting through. By doing that, things popped up there in the last 25 minutes and thankfully we got that winning goal.”

On what his thoughts were with the game tied 1-1 in the 85th minute:
“You just try to push it with your own little role you have on the sideline, and the subs too, we were cheering them on to keep going and going and pushing. We knew that there were still opportunities coming up, but you’ve got to force it, you’ve got to push it and have that urgency that we were lacking in the first half. The longer the game went, the more urgency was there and thankfully we scored that goal.”

On what he attributes to the team’s lack of urgency:
“It is something that you reinforce and talk about, but it has to develop within the whole group, especially in away games. We just need to be better at that. When you score the first goal, they still react a bit too much and drop back instead of just continuing to play your game the same way you did it until you scored. These are certainly things we have to work on, we have to do better. We were leading in Jamaica after a minute and then suddenly we dropped back. That is something that we have to work on mentally.”

On Michael Bradley taking on a more attacking role and trying to pair up with Danny Williams:
“Because it was so tight, it was difficult for them to find space. It was difficult for Michael to be ahead of Danny and they found themselves on the same line often and in that way you’re too predictable. In that moment, we switched over to a diamond and then there was a clear No. 6 in Jermaine (Jones) and we told Michael to come from half left and push more forward. The roles were better. Once there is no space with eight or nine guys right there making a big wall, it is difficult for the central midfielders to play their game and also to find those balls over the fullbacks.”

On the danger of the Antigua and Barbuda strikers and the play of the U.S. defense:
“In the first half, we have to win our duels in the back line and we told both our center backs that they have to step up. They can’t lose their individual battles there and they know it better than I do. They were not happy with their own game. They stepped it up. The second half was much better. We gave away too many balls there.”

On how the injuries and the state of the field played a factor in the outcome:
“Antigua played on the same pitch and I think they played a great game from their perspective. We have to give them a compliment. With the injuries, all I can do is take it the way it is. I just make changes and think through it. Would I love to have Fabian Johnson here? Absolutely. Edgar Castillo is an attacking left back, but there’s no complaining about that. We adjust and make the best out of it and we’ve got to get the job done.”

On if the substitution of Peter Byers by Antigua late in the match affected the outcome:
“No, I don’t think so. We were pushing the whole second half and we were hoping we got that second goal. It came late. There was just a couple minutes more to play, so their coach tried out somebody else for Peter. You’ve got to give Peter a huge compliment for the game he played. He occupied a couple of defenders and played a strong game.”

U.S. forward and Budweiser Man of the Match EDDIE JOHNSON
On the match overall:
“It was a lot of thinking before the second goal. It was 1-1 and I remember the Olympic team was in a similar situation. At the end of the day, you don’t want to be a part of a team that didn’t qualify for a World Cup. That was playing through everyone’s mind on the field as well as mine. We knew we were going to create chances; we were creating chances all game. It was a difficult game, well done by them to make it difficult for us tonight. We are a team of creating chances and we went with the tactical change where I went up top with (Alan) Gordon and it was back to basics playing up top and trying to find seams. Credit to Sacha (Kljestan) for keeping the ball alive and playing it to Gordon and it was a well-weighted pass from him. A lot of credit to him. I was just trying to be dangerous in the box and get my head on things and it was fortunate to go our way tonight.”

On his thoughts when he knew he was coming into camp after being away from the team:
“I was excited when I heard the news. Anytime you get a chance to wear the U.S. shirt, it’s an honor and a privilege and you don’t want to take it for granted. I had a lot of early success on the National Team, and as athletes you go through that slump or fall out of favor. It was good to get the call up, but working with the coach for the first time there was a lot of nerves running through my body and not knowing what to expect. When I got to camp, Clint Dempsey and I have always been roommates so I asked him what he’s like and what does he expect out of the forwards. Being a newcomer, I treated this like my first camp and just worked hard and tried to get better and gel with the players that have been regulars here and trying to find a solution every day try to put myself in a good position to play whatever role I need in these games.”

On what made the game difficult:
“The field was very small. We’re a good team pressuring up high and using our pace and creativity in attack. This pitch doesn’t allow you to play that way. It’s very small, it’s hard to run in behind, it’s hard to stretch their back four when they sit really deep. We knew it was going to be a tough game. These games aren’t easy. It’s a 90-minute game and we were able to do it tonight.”

On what he’s most looking forward to returning to Kansas City:
“It’s good to go back. I spent two good years there and have a lot of good memories out there. The last time I was there it didn’t go my way when we got knocked out of the Open Cup final on PKs. Like you said, it’s good to go back into an environment where they gave me a chance to put myself in the position to go and play in the Premier League and it’s going to be a good pitch, a good crowd and we’re looking forward to playing at home.”

U.S. defender CARLOS BOCANEGRA
On the match:
“It’s like that in CONCACAF. It’s hard to explain. It was a bit similar in Jamaica. The field conditions weren’t fantastic and for whatever reason we didn’t get it done. Tonight we ended up getting the three points, maybe not in the fashion we wanted but the three points are the most important thing. We put ourselves in good position now. I think most of us want to forget about this game and put it behind us, but we showed determination which is good late in the game. The guys kept pushing. We’ll build off that. It’s nice for our character, but other than that it’s just a game we forget.”

On looking ahead to Guatemala and what the team needs to do differently to win:
“It’s difficult to play well down here. We did the same thing against Jamaica last time. We came back and had a good game in Columbus. It’s going to be a nice field, we’ll have the home crowd and be able move the ball around and get guys moving in and out of spaces. We put ourselves in a good position by getting this win tonight. It’s three points and sometimes in CONCACAF it’s like this, so on Tuesday night we’ll go out there on the front foot and get a win hopefully.”

U.S. midfielder MICHAEL BRADLEY
On the match:
“A few of us were saying it would be impossible to explain what it’s like to play in a game like this to anyone who is not here. We’ll be the first ones to look at ourselves and say that there’s a lot of things that need to be better, but at the end of the day three points are what counts. A result is what counts. To come away from a game like this with three points, going back to Kansas City we’ve put ourselves in a great spot. All along we’ve said it’s a long road, there are ups and downs. You have to be able to come away with results. You have to be able to win games when you don’t necessarily deserve it, you have to be able to tie games when you don’t necessarily deserve it. We did that tonight. It’s a great team effort and we’re proud of that. We’re looking forward to getting back to Kansas City and finishing on a positive.”

On what the mood in the locker room at halftime was like:
“We weren’t totally happy after we went up 1-0 and we let them back in it. It was too easy the way we let them back into the game. As we go forward we have to have a little bit more of a killer instinct that says when we get the first goal, we’re able to, in a smart way, go after a team and put them away and be able to get a second and a third. It also says a lot about a team that on a night when we’re not able to do that under tough conditions that we’re able to battle and grind and come away with a win like that at the end.”

On what to expect on Tuesday night against Guatemala:
“A great atmosphere. A lot of us have enjoyed seeing the evolution of things to the point where now we can play a qualifier like this in our country and we can get on the plane tomorrow and know that it’s going to an American crowd, a great crowd and it’s going to be a fun night. It’s up to us to make sure the stuff on the field gets taken care of, but that is something we look forward to and we’ll get the job done.”

U.S. forward ALAN GORDON
On the match against Antigua & Barbuda:
“They came out to fight for their lives. We knew it was a big game for them and they were going ot give everything they had. The pitch was difficult to play on. It was bumpy, with the rain it got a little sloppy out there, and it was tough on us.”

On what his mentality was entering the game:
“Just to get in the mix and to try to prove myself. I wanted to see if I could help in any way and I was excited to get the call tonight and ultimately help the team get some points.”

On the play that lead to the winning goal:
“We were just pushing and Sacha (Kljestan) played me a great ball. I just wanted to put a dangerous ball in and Eddie [Johnson] did a great job getting up and heading it away. It worked out.”

On how the team moves forward to Tuesday's game:
“It's tough to gauge in this game how we can get better. The field was difficult and it won't be like that in Kansas City. It will be a completely different game. We have to use our momentum, move forward and get three points.”

They Said it: U.S. MNT Goes after Three Points

Members of the U.S. Men’s National Team met with reporters Thursday night prior to training in Antigua. While the words were different, the message was the same: The U.S. is here to get three points – period. Here’s some insight into their thinking.

U.S. head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN:
“It takes the right focus and attitude from the first second on. You’ve got to be really sharp and able to adjust to whatever happens during the game. All I want is three points and to move on to Kansas City. They are ready. They understand the stakes."

U.S. captain CARLOS BOCANEGRA:
"They have nothing to lose so they are going to try to score on us and beat us. They want to get a win at home. For us, it's important. We need to get a win, we need to get in their faces and stay disciplined and organized. We had a good week. Guys have their heads in the right place.

U.S. midfielder MICHAEL BRADLEY:
“You can talk beforehand about your game plan and about what you want to do. But there’s also a part to playing in these kinds of games, in these kinds of qualifiers, where you have to be good at reading the game and recognizing as the game is going on what is working and what is not. We want to make sure that we’re committed from the first whistle, committed in our reactions to go forward, committed in our reactions to close down and chase and make the game hard for them.”

U.S. defender GEOFF CAMERON:
“I think we’ve got to come out with a high tempo, but we can’t take our foot off the gas. So if we keep that in mind we can do a good job and take care of business.”

MNT v JAM Post Game Quote Sheet

U.S. MNT vs. Jamaica
2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier; Semifinal Round
Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 11, 2012


U.S. Men’s National Team head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN

On trying to improve the team’s use of width during play:
“We wanted our fullbacks going forward and we tried to use creativity of Jose Torres and Graham (Zusi), they created more space there and they know when to stay on the sideline and when to tuck in. I think the way Danny Williams played tonight tells you a little bit about his role which he is growing into in the Bundesliga. He’s a very good number six and I know we have different [number sixes] now, but he gave you a good taste that he’s a very good holding player. When you keep the ball a little bit longer and don’t lose it right away it changes the dynamic of the game. I think with the field being a beautiful field, it was easy to do tonight.”

On the flexibility needed to make changes to the lineup:
“As a National Team coach, in the short period of time we are trying to work out a puzzle that matches best with different players coming from different backgrounds and clubs. The one thing is on the tactical side is how you want to shape it and how you want play and train, the other thing is to tell the players in a short amount of time the importance of what’s going on. Tomorrow morning they’re all going back with their clubs and it isn’t easy for the players. It was important for them to understand the urgency we have in World Cup Qualifying. I went through qualifiers myself and when we won the World Cup in 1990, we almost didn’t qualify. It was down to the last game which we won 2-1 and the opponent, Wales, missed a 100-percent chance in the 88th minute and Germany almost didn’t go to the World Cup. That’s how close it can get. We try to tell players to not waste time and not waste points. We wasted points in Jamaica. It was really important they understand to get down to business tonight and they responded well. Our task is really to give them the right perspective in the couple of days knowing that tomorrow they’re going to be all gone again.”

On the play of Danny Williams and Steve Cherundolo:
“Steve is phenomenal. He’s just an exceptional professional. That’s why we didn’t want to risk anything. He wasn’t 100-percent in Kingston. He knows that. His experience, how he reads the game and anticipates the game and his tempo down the wing is very important to us. We are really happy to have him playing on such a high level. Danny Williams’ [position] has to do with the competition. When do you get the opportunity to play him in the number six spot. I know from his club coach that his preferred spot is the number six role, but we have players that are really good there too. We can have Jermaine Jones there and Kyle Beckerman and Maurice Edu there and all are doing well. It’s not that there is a big difference. We have to create the puzzle with all the elements, but I’m sure that’s not the last time you’ll see him playing number six for us.”

On the play of Jose Torres:
“Over the last months, we’ve had quite a few talks with Jose on his role here with the national team. We want him to take more responsibility and make his case stronger. We want him to become a real leader and in Pachuca we are all very well aware of how things are going in his club. We all agree he has tremendous talent and he has matured as a player, but still he needs to become more physical and take over the game. He needs to play more killer balls into the strikers – the decisive things that change the game. We’re working on that with him and we are patient. We are building a bigger roster for 2013 – we’ve got to get the job done now first – but it’ll be a very busy year with qualifiers and Gold Cup. It’s up to Jose and what he wants to make out of his career.”

On the presence of Herculez Gomez in the National Team:
“You talk about hunger, he’s a role model. In every training session, he gives you what he gave tonight. If you tell him at 2 a.m. to go out and bend the ball around, he’s there. We need that. He has that determination that he wants to score so badly. This is something we need to develop even more in our team – that hunger to succeed and that hunger to score, but also that willingness to suffer. We are very happy to have him with us.”

On the significance of playing on Sept. 11:
“Last night, the three gentlemen that were honored before the game came by after dinner and one of the firefighters talked to the group for about an hour just telling his story of his fire department. It was a big learning experience for us. I think that everyone was aware of this and had these certain feelings, we all knew this was a very special day. The players were outstanding in how they responded on the field.”

U.S. forward HERCULEZ GOMEZ
On the team realizing the importance of the match:
“I think that energy was transmitted to us throughout the week. We knew how important they thought it was. We have a lot of experience on this team. I don’t think anybody here took Jamaica for granted. We knew what we were getting into. We weren’t pleased with our performance on Friday and because we weren’t pleased with that performance we were all really excited and chomping at the bit to get at them tonight.”

U.S. goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On a lot of changes to the lineup:
“You never want to have that many changes. Jose has played a lot and we have a lot of trust in him. Danny is a strong player and we knew we needed that grit and fight. Graham was the one who had a lot of pressure on him to perform. He kept it simple and he really did well getting it to Steve and taking the ball and playing on the inside in rhythm. Although there were a lot of changes, they weren’t massive. They didn’t really shock our system.”

On what to expect from the three way tie in the group and how to progress:
“I hate to anticipate, but I think it’s no secret they’ve got to go head-to-head now and it’s a big game for both of them. It’s a big game for us, the pressure is on us to go down there and perform. Antigua & Barbuda is struggling in the group just by point count but the pressure is on us. The one thing we missed tonight was the goals, because if it’s really tight we’re going to need those. There will be a little bit of pressure for us to get three points [in Antigua] and also see if we can get some goals.”

On the play of Herculez Gomez:
“He’s awesome. The one thing we love about Herc is that he’s really got that ‘Van Nistelrooy’ to him. He’s really greedy and selfish in the most positive way imaginable. He gets the ball, gives it and breaks to get into the box because he wants to score. If there’s a loose ball, he’s going to be on it. If there is a half-chance to be had, he’s going to get it. It’s great to have those kind of guys on your team because you always know you have a chance. My hat goes off to Herc, he bounced around from team-to-team in MLS and then he goes down and makes a huge impact in Mexico and comes here and shows his worth. Nine out of 10 players, after they bounce around, just accept it and he didn’t.”

On Gomez’s hunger in training and what he brings:
“He’s always sniffing for a goal. Everything he does, he wants to give the ball and go and get in the goal. He wants to take the half-chance, he wants to shoot. He wants to get a goal and that’s what great forwards do. His scoring record speaks for itself in Mexico and he’s bagged a few for us too. He’s a humble guy and he fights and scraps and kicks. He’s a good mix of a lot of different factors.”

On the atmosphere at Columbus Crew Stadium:
“It was awesome. This is probably one of the best home-field advantages we have in America. I don’t know what it is about Columbus. Everyone was standing, there were thousands of people with flags. It was really an electric, pro-American atmosphere and that’s such an awesome thing. Hats off to the fans and people in Columbus and that’s not the first time; it’s happened over-and-over. We really feel that pride and home-field advantage and we don’t get that everywhere.”

On listening to an NYFD firefighter speak to the team:
“You get a sense of what sacrifice means. We use a lot of buzzwords in sports like sacrifice and hard work and fight and life-and-death and it’s not those things. What they do on a team of firefighters, every time they go to their game – every time they get called to a fire – it’s could be life or death, it’s real. To hear someone speak humbly about that really puts it in perspective and also lets you know you can give an extra edge. To hear his words of heroism and patriotism was cool.”

U.S. defender CARLOS BOCANEGRA
On the performance of players stepping into the lineup:
“Everybody is just hungry to be on the field. When you get your chance, you’ve got to take it. Wherever coach puts you, you’ve got to go out there and perform and I thought all those guys did that tonight.”

On the U.S. formation:
“It was more of a 4-4-2 hybrid. Danny Williams and Jermaine Jones were side-to-side, one steps and one covers. Danny held more than Jermaine and Clint Dempsey and Herculez Gomez were up top. It felt a little bit like a 4-4-2 tonight.”

On the relief after the final whistle:
“We didn’t put away our chances in the first half, we rattled the bar and the keeper made some saves. We got the goal we needed, but the only worrying part is wondering if they’re going to sneak some lucky goal at the end of the game. They stepped it up, and we spent a lot of energy attacking before we finally got that goal. They had a decent response, but we held strong.”

U.S. midfielder CLINT DEMPSEY
On the significance of playing on Sept. 11 and the atmosphere:
“The crowd was great and they really got behind us. We draw strength from each other in tough times and that was something everybody will remember on that day. People lost loved ones and didn’t know why. They were waiting around watching TV, and trying to get answers but as a country we were able to draw strength within ourselves. When you get knocked down, you get back up again. They (the crowd in Columbus) really got behind us tonight and showed their patriotism. It was one of the best atmospheres I’ve played in with the National Team here in the States.”

U.S. midfielder GRAHAM ZUSI
On the match overall:
“We put a tremendous amount of pressure on them from the get-go and really didn’t let up for the entire first half. I thought we were unlucky to not be rewarded with a couple goals, but credit to us, we kept pushing and put them under relentless pressure and Herc really topped it off with that free kick.”

On continuing to work hard to earn a consistent spot in the National Team:
“For me, you can’t get frustrated. Every camp you get called in, you have to take that as a positive and try to get better every camp. I think I’ve been able to do that and tonight I was rewarded with a start and thought I did a pretty decent job.”

On the mood at halftime:
“We were unlucky not to get a couple goals and sometimes that can put a team down, but that wasn’t the case with us. We came out in the second half and put them under pressure again. The mood at halftime was a positive one, but even more so to try and take it too them a little bit more.”

A critical leader both on and off the field, the U.S. captain continues to be a key presence in the squad. Possessing strength and deceptive speed, maturity and composure are also on the list of traits that have made him a mainstay on the U.S. backline. A two-time FIFA World Cup veteran, he surpassed 100 career caps in 2011 and now holds the record for most international goals scored by a U.S. defender. With 10 games played in 2012m he reached double digits in apperances for the sixth time in his national team career. Now in his ninth season in Europe that had previously taken him to England and France, 'Los' departed a relegated Rangers club in Scotland in 2012 where he had also warond the captian's armband to continue his overseas career at Racing Santander.

  • With his goal against Guatemala on Oct. 16, 2012, Bocanegra became the USA's all-time leading goalscorer for defenders with 14 total
  • Tied among U.S. players for career World Cup qualifying apperances with 31
  • Became the 12th U.S. player to reach 100 caps when he started in the 3-2 win on Nov. 15, 2011, against Slovenia
  • One of five U.S. players to play every minute of the 2010 FIFA World Cup
  • Has appeared in six World Cup matches spanning two tournaments
  • Played in 15 of 18 World Cup qualifiers in the 2010 cycle, notching game-winning goals in Guatemala in the semifinal round and against Honduras in the final phase
  • Captained the U.S. to the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup championship, his second regional title after first winning in 2002
  • Became one of the few players in U.S. Soccer history to simultaneously captain both his club side as well as the national team, which he did after captaining Fulham to a 3-3 draw against Tottenham on Sept. 1, and then took the armband for the USA in their game against Brazil on Sept. 9, 2007, in Chicago

 

 

2012: Started 10 matches, including five of six World Cup qualifiers ... Increased his career total to five goals in World Cup qualifying ... Bundled home the opening goal of the USA's 3-1 win against Antigua & Barbuda on June 8 in Tampa, earning Budweiser Man of the Match honors ... Repeated that feat on Oct. 16 against Guatemala, volleying in the tying goal that rallied the U.S. to a 3-1 win and first place in the group ... That goal marked his 14th career strike, setting the mark for U.S. defenders ... Captained the U.S. to the historic 1-0 victory on Feb. 29 against Italy in Genoa ... Injured hamstring in 2-2 draw against Russia on Nov. 14 in Krasnodar ... 2011: Reached 100 caps in the 3-2 win against Slovenia on Nov. 15 … One of two players, along with Tim Howard, to start every game under Jurgen Klinsmann … Ended the year tied for first with Howard for most matches played (15) and landed second for most minutes played, with 1291 … The 15 appearances were a career-high … Earned Man of the Match honors for his performance in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final loss against Mexico … Registered an assist in the March 26 game against Argentina when Juan Agudelo netted his rebound to equalize in the 1-1 tie … 2010: One of five U.S. players to play every minute of the 2010 FIFA World Cup … Deployed at left back against England and Slovenia, the captain shifted centrally against Algeria and Ghana … Scored the USA’s lone goal in the 2-1 loss on March 3 against World Cup runners up Netherlands in Amsterdam, heading home a free kick from DaMarcus Beasley …Started nine matches and finished second on the team in minutes played (759) … 2009: Started 14 of the U.S’s 24 matches, including all 10 final round qualifiers, a career best for appearances … Tied for second in most starts for the team, and finished in third in minutes played (1,200) … His diving header in the 68th minute on June 6 against Honduras earned the U.S. a 2-1 win and Bocanegra ussoccer.com Man of the Match honors … He also picked up a hamstring strain in that match, sidelining the team captain until the semifinals of the Confederations Cup … Made his return in the 2-1 semifinal victory against No.1-ranked Spain, starting at left back for the U.S. for the first time in nearly two years … 2008: Wore the captain's armband in all nine of his appearances for the U.S. in 2008 … Scored twice to take his career total  to 10 goals … Headed in a Beasley corner kick to give the U.S. its first World Cup qualifying win in Guatemala … Also tallied the game-winner in the USA’s comprehensive 3-0 victory against Poland on March 26 in Krakow, where he earned Man of the Match honors … 2007: Captained the United States to victory in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the fourth time the team has won the title … Appeared in four of six Gold Cup games, scoring once against Panama in the quarterfinals … Made appearances in two 2007 victories against fierce rivals Mexico, including the memorable Gold Cup Final … Also served as captain and scored a goal in the USA’s 4-2 loss to Brazil in September … 2006: A member of the 2006 FIFA World Cup squad that competed in Germany … Though he did not feature in the opening match against the Czech Republic, he went on to start the next two matches against Italy and Ghana … Played left back in both of the World Cup games he started, completing 90 minutes in both matches … In total, he made four appearances for the squad in 2006 … 2005: Started six of 10 final round qualifiers and in total played in 11 of 18 qualifiers in his first World Cup qualifying campaign, recording one goal and two assists … Led all defenders in minutes played (958) in 2006 qualifying … Opened his World Cup qualifying scoring account in trademark fashion, heading home the USA’s first – and game-winning – goal in the important 3-0 road win against Panama on June 8 … His performance at both ends in that match earned him ussoccer.com Man of the Match honors … His hustle kept a U.S. attack alive, forcing a save from David James that handed Clint Dempsey the lone goal in the 2-1 loss to England in Chicago ...  2004: Maintained his presence in the attack, tallying one goal and three assists … His 88th minute strike pulled the U.S. level in a 1-1  draw against Poland on July 11 in Chicago …Set up Eddie Johnson’s first two goals in the USA’s 6-0 pasting of Panama in D.C. … Started in five of the USA’s eight World Cup qualifiers, his first participation in a qualifying campaign … Made 10 appearances and nine starts overall … 2003: Earned Man of the Match honors three times as he became the first U.S. defender since 1994 to score four goals in one year ... Notched his first international goal against Canada on Jan. 18 in Ft. Lauderdale, getting on the end of a Bobby Convey service … Scored a nearly identical goal in Jamaica on Feb. 13, again receiving a delivery from Convey … Netted the USA's lone goal against Brazil in the 2-1 semifinal loss in the CONCACAF Gold Cup ... Received consolation by getting the opening tally in the 3-2 victory against Costa Rica in the Third Place match … Made 13 appearances for the MNT, tied for second best on the side and the most of any U.S. defender … 2002: Started all five matches in the USA’s march to the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup championship prior to the World Cup … 2001: Made his debut with the full national team on Dec. 9, 2001, against Korea Republic … Trained with the U.S. prior to home World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica on Apr. 28 and Jamaica on Oct. 7 … Under-23s: Helped the U.S. to a bronze medal in the 1999 Pan American Games … Scored his first U-23 goal against Canada in the third-place match ... Made seven international appearances with the U-23s … Under-20s: Played every minute at the 1999 World Youth Championship in Nigeria ... First Appearance: Dec. 9, 2001, vs. Korea … First Goal: Jan. 18, 2003, vs. Canada.
2012: With Rangers being relegated to the third division, he reluctantly left the club to join Santander in Spain's second division ... Sidelined for a moth after being injured in the USA's 2-2 draw against Russia on Nov. 14 ... Made 29 appearances for Rangers in the 2011/12 season, scoring four goals in all competitions ... handed the captain's armband several times by manager Ally McCoist ... 2011: Joined Rangers F.C. on a three-year contract from Saint-Etienne, signing with minutes to spare before the window closed to be eligible to play in the Europa League … Completed his contract the night of Aug. 17, then flew the next morning to Slovenia where he appeared in the Europa League game against Maribor … Played the full 90 minutes in each of his appearances for Rangers in the first half of the campaign … Scored his first SPL goal for Rangers in the 4-0 win against Dunfermline Athletic on Sept. 24 … Added an assist in the 2-0 win against Hearts on Oct. 23 … 2010-11: Joined fellow Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne … Closed out the campaign with 35 appearances and two goals … Started all 15 league games for which he was available for St. Etienne in the first half of the 2010-11 season … Scored his side’s second goal when he pounded home a header in the 69th minute of a 2-2 draw on Dec. 5 against Bordeaux … 2009-10: A regular in the Rennes backline that gave up the third fewest goals in Ligue 1 during the 2009-10 campaign … Finished his final season with Rennes making 29 appearances and 27 starts in all competitions … A groin injury sidelined him for several weeks at the end of the season … 2008-09: Joined Rennes on a free transfer in June after four seasons at Fulham … Wearing the No. 3 shirt, he immediately became a regular for the club … Scored his first goal for Rennes in a 2-1 defeat of FC Twente in the UEFA Cup on Sept. 19 ... Scored a goal in the final of the Coupe de France on May 9, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Guingamp, who won 2-1 at the Stade de France … Started all 38 league games in his first season in France, with Rennes finishing in seventh place … 2007-08: In his last season with Fulham, he was part of the club's memorable fight against relegation, which ultimately ended in success on the final day of the season … Teamed up with four other U.S. internationals in Clint Dempsey, Kasey Keller, Eddie Johnson and Brian McBride ... After Brian McBride was sidelined with an injury in late August, he stepped into the role of temporary captain for the club, a position that he simultaneously held for both club and country … His appearance against Wigan on Sept. 15 marked his 100th game for the club in all competitions … 2006-07: Proved to be a banner year as he made a career high 30 appearances for Fulham … Also chipped in with five crucial goals, another career high, making him second top scorer at Fulham as the club barely avoided relegation … Scored a vital goal against Chelsea to secure a draw away from home … 2005-06: After opening the 2005-06 season with a minor knee injury, he assumed a regular role in Fulham’s central defense … Played in 14 of 16 league matches for which he was available in first half of the year … 2004-05: His first full season in England, he grabbed the full-time position at left back … Despite sitting out seven of the last eight matches, finished the 2004-05 seasons with 28 appearances in EPL play … Scored his first goal in a Fulham uniform in the 4-3 loss at Portsmouth on Aug. 30 … 2003-04: Became an instant addition to the Fulham backline, playing every single match for which he was available after joining the team mid-January, a total of 19 in all competitions … Made his Fulham debut Jan. 19 at Newcastle, marking legendary striker Alan Shearer … 2003: Earned MLS Defender of the Year honors for the second consecutive season, claiming his second spot on the Best XI as well … In his second consecutive MLS All-Star appearance, set up Carlos Ruiz for the game-winning goal against Chivas … Anchored the Chicago Fire backline to their third appearance in the MLS Cup final in five years ... Started 19 of 30 matches, missing playing time while cementing his spot with the national team … 2002: Named MLS Defender of the Year in 2002 and a member of the Best XI … Started and played 26 matches for Chicago, recording two goals and three assists … Named an MLS All-Star … Scored the game-winning goal and earned an assist to give the Fire a 5-4 win against Columbus on June 5 … 2001: Scored a goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs … Finished his second season with Chicago making 13 starts in 15 appearances … Registered a career-high four points, scoring one goal and tallying two game-winning assists for four points ... Sidelined for almost half a season due to a left ankle sprain suffered on May 12 at New England, missing 12 games ... 2000: Honored as the MLS Rookie of the Year in 2000, after helping the Fire to the MLS Cup championship match and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title … Started and played in 27 of 32 games.
One of his most rewarding soccer moments came in the 1999 World Youth Championship in Nigeria when the U.S. U-20s took on England … Likes to play video games and is known to shred on guitar during Rock Band sessions on the road … Named one of E! Entertainment Television’s Top 10 Sexiest Sports Stars … One of five players featured in Interview Magazine photo shoot prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup … Chosen to present the USA’s 2022 World Cup Bid Book to Sepp Blatter in Zurich … Enjoys listening to R&B and alternative hip-hop … Lists his older brother Diego as the most influential person in his soccer career … Holds the basketball record at his high school for best free throw percentage … Enjoys eating Mexican food and bagels … His nickname is “Los.”
Finished his collegiate career at UCLA after his 1999 junior season, in which he earned Second Team NSCAA All-America honors and for third consecutive year was chosen First Team All-Far West (1997-1999) … Voted as a First-Team College Soccer Online All-America … Started 23 of 24 games in 1999, tallying two goals and two assists … Concluded his three seasons with 57 career games played, including 55 starts and nine goals and 10 assists.
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