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June 18, 2010: U.S. Men vs. Slovenia

U.S. vs. Slovenia Post-game Quote Sheet

U.S. MNT vs. Slovenia
2010 FIFA World Cup
Johannesburg, South Africa
June 18, 2010

U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach BOB BRADLEY
On what the foul was that disallowed the United States’ third goal:
“I’ve heard a few things. Honestly, I think that on that set piece, most of what took place was that Slovenian players were holding our players. The one thing I’ve heard was that one player from Slovenia had his arms around Michael, Michael was trying to break loose from being held, and the foul was called. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but that’s one version.”

On what he told the team at halftime and what he saw in the first half:
“The starting point is to understand that there’s 45 minutes to go, and everybody needs to understand how we’re going to push the game, so right away we made two changes. Early in the game we said it would be a tactical game, so things are still in the process of being sorted out. As is often the case, a play can tip the scale one way or another. They were able to find Birsa coming inside, which is something he does well that we know about, and he hit a great shot. So at that point we were trying to push back into the game. I thought as the half went on we were able to start to get some good attacking movements, there was one right before that second goal that you felt was going to be the equalizer at that point. At the end of the half they were able to put a very good play together where we’re caught a little bit in the back, but nonetheless give credit to them for a well executed play and finish.”

On the perseverance of the U.S. squad:
“I think this team has shown that it keeps fighting until the end and we have now had the experience of pushing games when we’re behind. It’s something we feel good about. It’s a credit to the mentality of the players and to the fact that they’re going to fight for 90 minutes every game.”

On his thoughts about Group C after two games:
“We always look at it from our standpoint and we have a third match where we’ll still have a good chance to determine our ability to move into the final round. We’ll watch Algeria-England closely tonight and be ready to go.”

On whether he gauges this result as one point gained or two points lost:
“There was one moment in the second half where it seemed a point gained, and another moment where it seemed two points lost, and now the game’s over. We knew going in that we’d give ourselves a very good chance to advance with a win and our goal was to win. Our mentality was to win. But it was still a situation where we couldn’t lose and in order to still have that real chance, then at the end of the day the tie keeps us alive and that’s the most important thing.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Midfielder LANDON DONOVAN
On the way the team started the match:
“We started the match poorly. We were tentative, I think we sat too deep which caused us problems. At that point you have no choice but to push the game. It’s easy in hindsight to say we need to start that way, but we do need to start games that way. Especially going into our third game, we have no choice but to win if we want to advance so that’s the way we’re going to have to play.”

On what the team talked about at halftime:
“We all spoke about first of all believing that we could do it. My guess is there aren’t many teams in this tournament that could have done what we did, and arguably win the game. And that is what the American spirit is about and I’m sure people back home are proud of that. That was the first thing that was said, and the second was that we need to score as early as we can. We knew if we did that we’d have a chance to get back in the game.”

On his goal:
“Steve clipped a good ball down the line and the defender got caught in between and missed the ball. From there I wanted to make sure my first touch was at the goal. As I looked up my first thought was to pass the ball, I think Benny and maybe Clint had both pulled away and their defenders stayed with them. If there had been an option across the goal, I probably would have rolled it across the goal. But in the end I decided to take a touch, aim high and aim at his head, and I don’t think he wanted to get hit from there.”

U.S. Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On the outstanding play of Michael Bradley tonight:
“That’s Michael. I think he was pretty energized at halftime, as a lot of us were. He wanted all the talk to stop and for us to put our money where our mouth was and in the second half I think he did a good job of being that example. He was the one taking the fight to them, being all over the place, kicking and scratching and biting. He was taking a lot of chances in the way of getting himself in the box. I could see when I was playing it long to Jozy and Clint, I could see him taking risks getting himself forward. It paid off.”

On whether the team plays better when they are playing emotionally:
“It seems that way. We seem to play better when we’re behind and that’s all got to change. I think a lot of teams play better when they’re emotional. Sometimes it’s about throwing the game plan out the window and standing toe to toe with the next guy and winning your battles. I think all those things are very important.”

U.S. Midfielder MAURICE EDU
On whether they were surprised by the Slovenia team:
“We knew going into the game that they were a strong team, well-organized, and that they had some key players who could create things. I think we’re a little disappointed to give up those two goals the way we did. But, in saying that, I think we showed a lot of character and strong mentality within our team to come back from that and get the result.”

On whether he thinks they will move on to the next stage:
“That’s been our goal. I can’t predict the future but that’s our goal. We’re going to go into the next game and try to win that and advance. We have a few days of training now to get our minds focused on that next game and we’ll go from there.”