Post-Match Quote Sheet:
U.S. 3, El Salvador 3
2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying
March 26, 2012
U.S. U-23 Head Coach CALEB PORTER
Overall thoughts on the match:
“It’s a painful moment. The players are devastated. To put in as much as they put in that game, the amount of heart they put in, to play the way they played in that second half to come from behind and score two goals, to be seconds away from getting the No. 1 seed, it’s unimaginable. I told them in the locker room is that this won’t define their careers. As low as this moment is for them and as painful as it is, they’ve got big days ahead – a lot of those guys that were out on that field. That’s the future of our country. It’s sad that I’m not going to get a chance to be in the trenches with those guys anymore. They did everything I asked. They made some mistakes that cost us the game. The guys have long careers ahead of them. I’m proud of those guys and I know they’re going to do great things in the future. I’m sorry for our fans, sorry for U.S. Soccer that we didn’t get the job done. But there’s nothing to be ashamed about.”
On what he said to goalkeeper Sean Johnson:
“I just hugged him. Cried with him. What do you do? He’s feeling like he’s let everybody down, let his teammates down – he feels that way, and I told him he didn’t [let them down]. The kid’s got a big future, and he was very good in the game, and he’ll move forward from this. It’s going to be hard for some time, but these guys are young players, talented players. Are they perfect? No. They’re still learning, still growing, still maturing. But there will be some bright moments in these players’ careers. A good majority of them will be wearing the crest. And in some ways this will shape their character in a way that will help them achieve greater things in the future.”
On whether he has experienced an emotional swing like Monday:
“No. I’ve never felt anything like this in my life. That’s honest. I can tell you something different but as attached as I’ve gotten to those guys in four months, to see them not achieve – it’s not about me, and I’ve said that all along. I’ve told them that all along. It’s about them. I’m here to help them continue to evolve as professionals and help them achieve successful results and get to London. For me it’s painful that they have to suffer like this given what they gave in the second half. It’s unbearable. I’ll move on from this, as well. It’s going to take some time. In some ways I’m still in complete, utter shock. It was seconds away.”
On the team’s preparation for El Salvador:
“Our team was ready to play. You saw that from the opening whistle. It’s a good El Salvador team, though. They’ve got very talented young players on that team. I credit them, as well. They battled back. They wanted this bad, too.”
On the U-23 MNT as a whole:
“This was a tight team. Ask any of them. Very tight team, great spirit and chemistry in this group, and that showed in that second half. Were we perfect? Were they perfect? No. We all made mistakes. But they also played some pretty darn good football. They also showed a lot of the things that we’re known for in this country – the heart they showed, the passion they showed, the grit. They did everything that they needed to win the game. In my opinion they deserved better.”
U.S. captain FREDDY ADU
On mising a chance of qualifying for the London Olympics:
“I’m real disappointed. This is the lowest I’ve ever felt as a pro athlete. This is going to be hard to get over, but at the end of the day, things like this happen. You know, sometimes they make you stronger. For me, I never want to feel this way, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to never feel this way again.”
U.S. forward TERRENCE BOYD
On the team’s play following the loss to El Salvador:
“For us, it’s a nightmare right now because we’re the team that had the most quality in CONCACAF, in my opinion. It’s just a bad day for us, but we have to keep going. I’m proud of my team, and for the first time I really felt what it’s like to fight for your country.”
“It was an amazing game for the fans, I think. Unfortunately, we didn’t qualify for the Olympics. Life goes on, and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of these guys at the World Cup in Brazil.”
On El Salvador’s last goal:
“This is soccer. At the end, it’s just a game, but it hurts. Sometimes it’s the best thing you can do, and sometimes it’s the worst sport ever. It just hurts. For us, it’s like the world just ended. We lost as a team, and it’s just sad really. Life goes on.”
U.S. defender PERRY KITCHEN
On the final moments of the match:
“We knew what we had to do. We needed three points, and we had it. It was there. And in 90 seconds, we lost it, so it’s tough to swallow. It’s a cruel game, and the coaches told us to keep our heads up because we’re a really strong team. We were a family, and it hurts. But all of us have bright futures. We’re trying to keep our heads up. It’s going to hurt for a while.”
On the U.S. U-23 MNT team:
“We became a family over the four months. He loves all of his players, and it’s tough for him to see us go down like this. He knows how hard we’ve worked and how hard we’ll continue to work. He told us to stay in touch and that he appreciates all the work that we’ve put in for him.”
International football history is littered with examples of something that is often taken for granted about group play: no matter the teams, no matter the order, it usually takes all three games to guarantee your place in the knockout phase.
Who can forget the 2002 World Cup, when the U.S. was 17 minutes away from being eliminated before Korea scored the game-winning goal against Portugal and the team went on to defeat Mexico in the Round of 16? Or most recently, Landon Donovan’s 91st-minute goal against Algeria that not only put the U.S. through, but also allowed the team to win their group for the first time in U.S. Soccer history?
For the U-23 MNT, the situation is clear: a win and they are through to the semifinals. To have your fate on your own hands is what every team hopes for, and this group appears up for the challenge.
“Guys are good,” said U.S. head coach Caleb Porter. “They put yesterday behind them, and they are focused on El Salvador. They are looking forward to getting back on the field. The game can’t come quick enough.”
U.S. captain Freddy Adu, who was part of the 2011 Gold Cup team that rebounded from a group phase lost to Panama and reached the final of the tournament, puts tomorrow’s game in the simplest perspective.
“Tomorrow is our final, and everybody understands that,” Adu observed. “We know what we have to do to move on. Guys look motivated.”
Adversity is a part of any tournament and with loads of experience in youth international championships on this U-23 squad, the players have been through this before.
“It’s important to be able to respond in the right way because you’re going to go through adversity, and you have to have a short memory,” said Adu. “We’re going to work hard to right the ship.”
Ultimately, the focus and the belief within the U.S. team remains the same. And Porter firmly believes it will be on display Monday against El Salvador.
“We’re confident in our team,” Porter added. “The players are confident that we can get the job done. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to get the result tomorrow.”
At 20 years of age, Freddy Adu set personal career highs for the Men’s National Team in games played, games started, assists and goals in 2008. He also played a crucial role in the U.S. U-23’s trip to the Olympics, scoring four goals in three qualifying games, before eventually making two appearances during the group stage in Beijing. A veteran of four FIFA youth World Cups, Adu made the move to Europe in the summer of 2007, spending one season with SL Benfica in the Portuguese Liga. Prior to the start of the 2008-09 season, Adu embarked on a year-long loan move to France with AS Monaco. Still looking to find his feet in Europe, the technically gifted attacker enters 2009 looking to build on his progress with the national team.
- Scored his first goal for the U.S. with a trademark free kick in the final game of the semifinal round of FIFA World Cup qualifying against Guatemala
- A technically gifted attacker, Adu has played in three FIFA Under-20 World Cups, and is still age-eligible for a fourth
- Became the youngest player in Major League Soccer history, appearing in his first game on April 3, 2004 and scoring a goal on April 17, 2004 at age 14
- Was the first player to ever score a hat trick in both the FIFA Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups, with three goals against South Korea at the U-17 level in 2003, and three more against Poland with the Under-20s in 2007
- Became the youngest player ever capped with the Men’s National Team on Jan. 22, 2006, when he appeared as an 81st minute sub against Canada
Date of Birth
Jun 2, 1989