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U-20 MNT Round of 16 Quote Sheet

Head Coach Thomas Rongen:

On playing Uruguay instead of Costa Rica:
“Uruguay might be a better opponent for us, for the simple fact that playing against teams from your own region is always difficult. Playing a familiar opponent like Costa Rica would have been a double-edged sword because we know each other so well.”

On the play of Uruguay so far:
“Uruguay is a good team, and they have a few very talented players. They present a challenge as we know they’re very capable of playing well here, they tied Spain and that is not an easy thing to do.”

On preparations for the Round of 16 game:
“We’re confident, and not intimidated, but they did show up against Spain and maybe that is a wake up call for our team to stay focused and sharp going into this game. They obviously present a strong challenge for us, but we’re going to do everything we can to prepare.”

On playing another South American team:
“We’ve shown we can play against South American teams, and we know it won’t be easy. Behind Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay is a team that is right up there in South America, and we know they tied Argentina in their qualifying process.”

Midfielder Danny Szetela

On what he learned after losing in the Round of 16 in 2005:
“I think in 2005 we beat Argentina and a lot of guys thought with Italy being a third-place team it wouldn’t be real tough test. We learned our lesson then and now we have to concentrate on Uruguay and understand that they are a really good team

On what he told his teammates about 2005:
“I told them we need to keep our focus. We made some history by beating Brazil, but we have to put that game aside and turn our focus on the next game. I think that’s what happened last time. We took our focus off of Italy a bit, so I think it is very important to keep our mind on Uruguay.”

On Uruguay:
“They finished third in their group, but they tied Spain. We just need to go out there and keep doing what we’re doing to hopefully get a result.”

Defender Nathan Sturgis

On what he learned after losing in the Round of 16 in 2005:
“Last time we were pretty much in the exact same position. It’s hard to say what it was, but we just came out flat against Italy and they ended up beating us. Once you’re out of the group stage, you have one bad group game and you’re done. I think this time around we just need to realize that we need to come out and play well if we want to advance.”

On what he told his teammates about 2005:
“Me, Danny (Szetela) and Freddy (Adu) all talked about it and said we can’t come out flat and need to come out focused. We may have won our group and had a big win against Brazil, but we need to put that behind us and focus on our next game.”

Forward Josmer Altidore

On Uruguay:
“Uruguay is a very tough opponent. I think we’ll have to come out and play our best. We only have one chance and if we come out flat it’s over. We have to keep the same intensity, the same effort has to be there and we have to play for each other as we have in the other three games.”

On how helpful facing Brazil and Chile in the past month:
“It will definitely be helpful that we’ve played a couple South American teams as of late. There aren’t many teams that play with the energy and speed like Brazil, so getting to see that style already is helpful. But Uruguay is a whole different team and they’re have their own tactics as well, so we need to be on top of our game.”

Defender Julian Valentin

On Uruguay:
“Uruguay is going to be a very good team and we’re excited for the challenge. We’ll have to prepare really well in the next couple days.”

On talking about the 2005 team that got knocked out in the Round of 16 after winning their group:
“I definitely think it was a good thing to talk about. It’s easy at this point to maybe take our foot off the pedal or lose focus, but having some guys that were there before in Freddy (Adu), Danny (Szetela) and Nate (Sturgis) will really help us re-focus and work even harder knowing each game we will be fighting for our lives.”

Defender Tony Beltran:

On playing Uruguay:
At this point in the tournament every team is a good team. We have to prepare ourselves as if we’re playing Brazil again. We know the coaching staff will do a great job preparing us as much as possible.

On preparing for Wednesday’s Round of 16 game:
We have to stay sharp during training and stay mentally focused. We’re at a high right now coming off a big win over Brazil and winning our very difficult group. We’re playing well and we have to come out and play, knowing that it’s another big game. It’s win or go home now, so we have to keep that attitude.

Midfielder Dax McCarty

On Uruguay:
“We expect Uruguay to be similar to every South American team we’ve faced. They’ll be pretty skillful and I’ve seen them play and they have a pretty good forward. He’s somewhat of a target forward and we’ll have to do a good job of shutting him down. We just need to play our game, come out and play like we have in the past two games and we’ll have a good chance.”