US SoccerUS Soccer
News

U.S. MNT vs. Honduras - Post-Match Quotes: June 18, 2013


U.S. MNT Head Coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
On the victory:
“First and foremost, a huge compliment to the team. It’s been exactly what we expected. It was a difficult game. We expected them to play very defensively, to be nine or 10 guys behind the ball to make all the spaces really tight. It was difficult to play through their wall, basically, but we found ways and we told them at halftime to keep pushing, to raise a little bit the tempo even more, to find Jozy more, to find Clint [Dempsey] more, to find those little gaps that they were leaving open.” 

On the big picture for the team at the end of this busy and important stretch of games:
“I think the big picture is that we’re growing with every game, especially difficult games like tonight against a very strong Honduras side. We have to find ways to break them down, find ways to create chances. The belief is there that sooner or later the ball will go in the net. I think the team understands that it’s not only a physical grind that you’re going through in these games, it’s a mental one. I think mentally we’re getting stronger, we’re getting tougher. We are now prepared to go through those games. At the end of the day you have to find those opportunities, and we do, and that should give the team more confidence. Every game is a new game to start. We’re always going to talk about the same principles but I think we see here a group that is really sticking together and therefore tonight really deserves a big compliment. I also told them a big compliment for the last three and a half weeks, how they brought all their energy into this camp.”

On Jozy Altidore scoring four goals in four games after a long scoreless streak:
“We are very happy for Jozy. We always told him from a coaching perspective that it takes a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of adjustment, it takes the right moment to be there, it takes a hunger. The energy he put in now in the last four or five games has been tremendous. It’s not only that he scored those goals but the work that he does for the team is awesome. How he starts, the high pressure that we would like more and more, he kind of shifts the defenders to the side, he chases the ball down, he wins balls back. That energy from Jozy is very important to that team. He can pump us up with Clint. He can lean on Clint if there’s a difficult moment. I think they really get a better understanding with every match together. And obviously the biggest thing for our strikers is always scoring. It gives you confidence. It gives you energy. We are very pleased with his path.”

On Fabian Johnson’s play:
“With Beas [DaMarcus Beasley] out, it was clear that we had to make a change and we wanted a goal. We knew it was going to be very difficult to break them down. We expected this type of a game. That’s why we wanted Eddie Johnson to grind them, to work on them, and having the option with Fabian overlapping and getting forward and creating something for us. He can do that from either position, as a left back or as a left midfielder, so it’s not a coincidence that the goal came from his side because that’s what we tried to push him toward. He’s an important weapon in our game.”

On whether he got a sense in camp that Jozy would break out:
“From day one on, Jozy was spot on. In the first training session in Cleveland, he looked sharp, he looked good, he looked hungry. Even if in Cleveland the game itself was a bit disappointing from a results point of view, we had the feeling that he had high energy, he was looking forward to it, he’s positive. He is coming off a tremendous season at Alkmaar on a personal level and that’s what we hoped, that in that stretch of three and a half to four weeks that he would keep on showing all those signs. That’s what he did.”

On the U.S. defense:
“Our backline is coming along. It’s not perfect. There is no backline that is perfect. It helps them, obviously, to keep the shutout, and it helps them to go through those grinds and those games where they have to be the first contributor in terms of build-up. They are forced to move the ball around quickly. It’s not only the defending side of it. If there’s a ball in front of you, your centerbacks, your fullbacks, they have to be spot on. They have to release the ball quicker to find Clint or Jozy or the guys up front. That’s what they’re learning right now. They’re coming through a period right now where they learn to think fast, to pass faster, and to decide everything faster, which is required on an international level.”

U.S. MNT Defender Fabian Johnson
On the U.S. attack:
“We have a lot of quality at that position. It makes a difference if you have Jozy [Altidore] or Clint [Dempsey] or Eddie [Johnson]. But it really makes the difference when JOzy is there to score.”

On Jozy Altidore’s form:
“I know Jozy is playing good but it’s the whole team that is doing great. Jozy is putting the goals in for us so its credit for the whole team.”

On moving forward in the attack:
“I think always when I’m playing as the left back, I’m always playing very offensive. I’m playing like this and it helps out the team.”

U.S. MNT Forward Jozy Altidore
On the goal:
“It was a good football. Good play by the boys. I think Graham [Zusi] played it to Fabian [Johnson]. It was a good play.”

On the team’s difficulty with breaking through the Honduras defense:
“Honduras played really well. They made it difficult on us. They were good defensively and they took time off of the clock with their antics. I think it took us out of our rhythm.”

On the last three weeks:
“I think for everybody, the results speak for themselves. I think everybody was so comfortable with each other. I mean just from the back, less long balls. Everybody tried to play more controlled balls. We tried to find a solution and that was huge because it gave us the goal.”

On his personal streak of good form for club and country:
“To be honest, I wasn’t really worried by it at all. Last cycle, I was there for the team. If we continue to create chances and continue to be aggressive, we’re always going to be successful.”

On Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi’s play:
“You look at the way these guys have been playing and the chances. You know it’s on us. It’s on me, it’s on Clint [Dempsey], it’s on Terrance [Boyd], Herculez [Gomez]. The guys that are playing striker to kind of be in those spots. When the chances aren’t coming, we need to put it in.”

On the first half:
“I thought you felt it. If we continue to play and continue to find solutions like we did, it’s a team goal. That’s what we need to continue to do. I thought we did that.”

On the team’s play:
“Overall, we’re being patient on the ball from the back. The long balls have been cut to a minimum, we’re finding solutions. We’re getting ourselves available. I think it’s finally coming along.”

On the difference from last year:
“I think the overall play, with everybody being comfortable on the ball, Jurgen [Klinsmann] always stresses that you know we’ve all got to make sure we’re sharp and everybody tries to make that pass. You look at it today, from Omar [Gonzalez] to [Matt] Besler, those guys have been great in terms of finding a solution and making the long ball the last option. When you do that against these teams, you make them defend and eventually they’ll crack.”

On the team’s standing in the table:
“It’s important. 13 points now, we’ve got look for the results. It’s up to us to remain disciplined. Win a game or two more and put ourselves in a good position.”

On moving forward:
“I think we’re far from a finished product, so we’ve got a long way to go. All I can do is try to be a sponge and try to learn everything and try to get better.”

On his 73rd-minute game winner:
“It was good ball movement. I forgot who laid the ball in to Graham [Zusi]. Graham is so good at being aware of his surroundings and he laid it off to Fabian [Johnson]. Fabian’s been doing that all the time in Germany and he laid a great ball off.” 

On his role as a lone striker:
“I’ve been playing as a lone striker at my club. I think it’s just a matter of us clicking as a whole. I think these past four or five games have been our best in the past few years. I think it’s no surprise that we’re being successful now.” 

Goalkeeper Tim Howard
Thoughts on where the team stands in qualifying:
“We try and keep our feet on the ground of course but going back we know what points total gets you to the World Cup and right now we’re close. It’s been a hugely successful summer.”

On Jozy Altidores summer performance:
“Like I keep saying, you know how many goals he’s scored this season? He’s a confident striker. We’ve seen it the whole time and I don’t know what’s clicked the last three months to keep him going but good for him. He’s scoring goals and creating chances so he’s been really good.”

On the teams struggles in the final third:
“That’s what we talked about. You know it was a mature performance because it is easy to send frustrated when they sit guys behind the ball which a lot of teams do and it makes it hard to break them down. But we created and the goal wasn’t even our best chance. Two headers, Jozy may have ended up not connecting well and missing, Eddie had a great chance in the first half and they were hard to break down. That’s what teams do when we play at home.”

Forward Clint Dempsey
On the position of the team in World Cup Qualifying:
“It is good. You couldn’t ask for a better situation. Nine points from three games, first place in the table, one win away from booking our ticket to the World Cup so hopefully we can get the job done in the next four games.”

On the second half:
“You could see what they were trying to do. They were looking for a draw, time wasting, staying compact and playing for the draw is what it looked like to me. We tried to break them down and do a better job of spreading the ball out and moving quicker and creating more chances so I think was the difference. It was a frustrating game. They tried to tuck everybody behind the ball and only play one forward.”

Midfielder Eddie Johnson
On the U.S. teams big picture:
“I think we are playing with a bunch of confidence right now. I think a 1-0, maybe a few more goals would have been a fair result tonight. I thought we came out tonight and really put them on our terms here and get the crowd behind us. You know Jozy has been on fire with four goals in five games. We couldn’t have asked for a better striker to step at a big time and carry the momentum he’s been having in Holland and bring it to the national team I mean we’re happy for him. And like you said, nine points from three games we couldn’t have asked for a better camp.”

On the team’s ability to win hard games like this:
“We knew it was going to be difficult because they are a good team. They’ve got some good players some technical players on the ball so you know you’ve got to be disciplined for 90 minutes because the can get you on the counter and the ability they have in their team.”

×