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U.S. MNT Post-Game Quotes vs. Mexico

Post Game Quote Sheet
February 7, 2007

U.S. Head Coach

On the game:
“Well the main thing is how proud we are of the effort. The camp has been a hard camp and the players have put a lot into it, and the talk throughout the entire camp was that at the end the spotlight comes on real bright for an important game. I felt really good about the way the players held together. Obviously there were some periods in the game where they had to deal with tough moments, and yet I still felt that on the field there was a mentality that all the work that had gone into the last month paid off for them and they got their reward. And that’s my main thought right now.”

On how the younger players performed:
“We keep talking about the start of this new cycle. There are two things that have to happen. One is we have to introduce new players into the team, and secondly we need players that have been part of the national team to step up and take bigger roles, to take more responsibility and to help the younger guys around them. If you looked down the center of the field today we had Timmy Howard in the goal, in front Carlos Bocanegra and Jimmy Conrad and Pablo Mastroeni and I thought all of those players did an unbelievable job of helping the players around them dealing with a game that most of them have never played.”

On University of Phoenix Stadium and Phoenix as a host:
“Tonight was unbelievable and obviously the crowd was very special. The grass was cut down short and the field was a little bit wet, so it made for a fast game and I think that every player would tell you that they would hope to come back here in the future.”

On how he feels about his era and his 2-0 record thus far:
“The work that we’ve put in this month has been very good, not only to prepare us for these two games but to establish a foundation for every camp. To establish an idea for every player that can play for the U.S., whether it is the full team of the Under-23 team. The mentality they need to have, how special it is to play for your national team and the responsibility that you have every time you step into camp to work the right way and make sure that the team is going to play well for all the people that support the program.”

On facing a very strong Mexico team:
“It’s always difficult to beat Mexico. It is a great rivalry. Our players get excited for every game against Mexico, so we knew their best was coming in tonight so we wanted to make sure that our players weren’t afraid at all. I think they believe in themselves and that showed on the field.”

On Pablo Mastroeni and Ricardo Clark in the USA’s defensive midfield:
“Both are great competitors and as we started this season, we felt that the games in January and the beginning of February sometimes are competitive and you need players in the center of the field that make it hard for the other team. I still feel that if you watch soccer all over the world it is difficult in the center of the field, because the best teams have players that compete and make it hard for the other team to get in on tackles. Obviously we still want to do better and better there with the ball. I think there were some moments where we were able to get a grip on things and settle in and pass it and keep it and spread the ball around. That’s something that still needs to improve, but as a starting point it gives us steel in the center of the field.”

On Jimmy Conrad’s early tussle with Jared Borgetti and the tone it might have set:
“Jimmy is a leader on our team. He was very, very motivated to play against a player like Borgetti. When you are in those match-ups you understand that the tone is set early. It’s important for him and it’s important for the whole team to see that that is the way we need to play the game.”

On the big picture of a result like this:
“I always focus on what we are doing and what we are trying to do at the moment is make the best decisions we can to start this cycle. To get players on the field. To put them in tough games. To see how they respond. To challenge some of the players who have been around to be better leaders and to lead on the field and I think those things are going in the right direction. The rivalry will always be there and is only going to get better. … The rivalry is great, but we are trying to focus on the things that we need to do to move our national team forward.”

On the decision to start Chris Rolfe and Landon Donovan up top:
“In training this month, those two have found a good way to combine with each other. They are both similar in the fact that they are good with the ball. They are crafty. We felt like they could find some spaces and play off of each other and make it difficult. In the first half there was so little space and it was so tight, that it didn’t materialize probably the way we hoped. I think one thing we mentioned to them at halftime was that they didn’t do a good enough job of coming away from the defenders and creating better angles for themselves. They almost stood with their backs to the centerbacks too much and that was playing into (Carlos) Salcido and (Rafael) Marquez’s hands. We were hoping that they could produce some soccer plays. That’s what those kind of players are all about, players that in a game where it is tight and fast they can still go by someone, players that can lay off the right pass. It didn’t happen as well as we would have liked tonight, but the experience of being in these kinds of games is just as important, especially for Chris Rolfe. Every time we get him on the field in these situations he is going to learn something and he is going to be better next time.”

U.S. Defender

On his goal:
“We’ve been working on set pieces and talked about them the last couple of days, and knew we had some dangerous guys. And we knew Landon could serve in some good balls. I took a step to the near post and kind of ran the guy who was marking me into some traffic and Landon played a great ball and I just picked a good spot and put it away.

On whether this kind of results means more because it is Mexico:
“Absolutely. It is Hugo Sanchez’s first game and he brought his ‘A’ team and we came with our young guys to do the right thing and to make sure that our young guys got the experience of playing in this atmosphere. And I’m just happy we came away with the result.”

On the atmosphere and predominantly Mexican crowd:
“It was great. I almost think I would prefer to have it that way. If we are really going to test ourselves, these are the games the critics say we need to have. We are still three-and-a-half years away from a World Cup, but this is a great step in the right direction for Bob and for our young guys to get some valuable experience.”
On his early tussle with Jared Borgetti:
“I watched the ‘Gooch (Oguchi Onyewu) 2005 World Cup qualifier and I thought ‘this is the way to go,’ it seems to get in his head a little bit. I thought I might as well see where it is at. I’m not as big as ‘Gooch, though. But it is not just Borgetti, it is all of them. You want to break up their rhythm. I think the best way to play against Mexico is to not let them get into a rhythm, to keep them in front of us, and not let them knife us with any one-twos.”

U.S. Defender

On the team’s approach to Mexico:
“I think our mindset here was to come in well organized, we’ve been training for five weeks now, and just changing our attitude a little bit. I think more than anything else we really focused on our team instead of the Mexican side and the young guys who were playing their first or second games really stepped up today and that is a credit to the coaching staff and the hard work we’ve put in in the last few weeks.”

On Jimmy Conrad:
“Jimmy is great. He controlled Borgetti and the two guys in the back did a great job. He put us up 1-0, and this kind of game is about taking advantage of the little chances and we are the team that did tonight. They had some chances, but we were the first team to make a mark and that proved to be the difference.”

On whether this was a typical USA-Mexico game:
“Absolutely. This was your typical USA-Mexico game. I think that it is one of the greater rivalries in the Western Hemisphere and both teams really get up for these games. Today we took advantage of it, regardless of who we had on the field. And I think that speaks volume about the five weeks we had in camp.”
On being named captain by Bob Bradley in his hometown:
“It was great show of respect from Bob, but every single guy on this team can wear that armband, and that is the way this team operates.”

U.S. Midfielder

On whether the U.S. is mentally better than Mexico:
“I don’t know. We clearly have done well and maybe mentally we have an edge. I think mentally we do have an edge. But we were also a little bit lucky and there were times when they could have scored. We did well with our chances in front of the goal, but I think mentally we were very good tonight.”

On Mexico’s second half pressure after the U.S. goal:
“We contributed to that a little bit, by making some mistakes and helping them out a little bit. But those are some things have to weather during a game, and we did that tonight and got through it.”

On Oswaldo Sanchez trying to kick Eddie Johnson after Donovan’s goal:
“It wasn’t with me, I think someone told me that he tried to kick Eddie, and they got it on camera, too. The sportsmanship is … well, it would be nice if you guys and the Mexican press talked about it, because it is really poor. They walk off the field and they don’t shake our hands and they don’t want to exchange jerseys. When we lose to them there, I shake their hands and say ‘Good job,’ but they don’t reciprocate that and it is disappointing.”


Mexico defender

On the team’s performance and how it feels to lose against the U.S.:
“I think the way the team functioned, the way it looked on the field, left us satisfied. If you consider that the team has only two days working together, the team showed a lot of character and order. All the same, it hurts because of the rivalry between the two teams and the importance of the match. However, we have to take the positive from the match.”

On the United States:
“They were a little opportunistic and stayed in their own end for the majority of the match, but they did beat us. Considering the tactics that they utilized, I think that is the credit I would give them considering the fact that on the field, they were not superior to us.”

On the reaction of Hugo Sánchez:
“Hugo told us he was satisfied and happy because of the attitude of the team and the way in which it played. We created a lot of opportunities but we just couldn’t convert. It’s just the beginning.”

Mexico forward

On México’s inability to score:
“There are always elements on which to improve. When it comes to having chances on goal, the key is to convert them and today unfortunately we couldn’t convert even one. In the second half, especially, we had a lot but unfortunately tonight the ball did not want to go in. After their goal we pushed forward looking for the equalizer but today we just couldn’t score. It’s not an excuse for why we lost but it’s what happened.”

Mexico goalkeeper

On how to beat the United States and tonight’s result:
“We can beat the U.S. playing exactly like we did today. If we play like we did today, we will win a number of games. Tonight we had a number of opportunities that we couldn’t convert and their goalkeeper was lucky on a number of occasions in which the ball landed right into his hands. We couldn’t score and had a couple of defensive lapses that killed us. But that’s soccer; if you don’t score, you don’t win.”