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U.S. Women's National Team vs. New Zealand Quote Sheet


Quotes from the U.S. WNT's quarterfinal win against New Zealand at the 2012 Olympics

U.S. WNT vs. New Zealand
2012 Olympic Games – Quarterfinal
St. James’ Park; Newcastle, England
August 3, 2012

U.S. National Team head coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On Abby Wambach’s continued run of good form:
“She will be ready for the next game. Everything she does on and off the field, she leads this team. If you look at this game today, she scored a huge goal. She’s in a good place that’s for sure.”

On the decision to take Alex Morgan out of the game in the 80th minute:
“We thought that we needed a little bit of a spark and she’d been running quite a bit. She’d created a couple of chances…but we also know that we have a lot of energy on the bench. I’ve said it from the beginning that this bench will win games for us. As a coach you have to act as like that as well and I thought it was good timing for Syd to get us a couple of minutes and that spark. The fact that Syd Leroux comes in and changes the game a little bit is huge for us and for her.”

On the team’s defense in the Olympics:
“I think the team is defending well. We’ve been consistent with some of the players in the back especially with Rachel Buehler and Christie Rampone. Instead of subbing in and out, we’ve been consistent with those two and they make players around them better. We started with Kelley O’Hara a while ago when Ali Krieger got injured, so we’ve tried to find a solution and in the beginning I have to admit it didn’t look that good. If you believe in something, you go for it and instead of looking at one or two players; you look at it as a unit. The back four has been solid in the back, that’s for sure.”

On Sydney Leroux’s play:
“Her attitude is great on both sides of the ball. She’s not only fast, but she’s strong and committed. She knows her role. We talked about that from the beginning. In order to help the team it’s coming off the bench. In practice, she scores goals especially when we play 5-on-5. She’s a goal scorer, she’s great in the box. Today she gave us a little more outside the box and was a great fighter. It reminds me a little bit of last year of Alex Morgan coming off the bench. This is a little bit different, but a similar idea. She gains confidence; I gain confidence and the team gains confidence with the way she is playing.”

On the USA’s lack of finishing chances becoming a worry:
“No. As long as we create chances, when you look back at the way we play for 90 minutes you gain confidence instead of looking at how we didn’t put (the chances) away. Yes, it would easier for all of us if we put away the chances in the first half. The fact that we’re winning, it’s in the back of our head when we’re going to the next game.”

On if being a favorite puts extra pressure on the team:
“It’s a winning team, so they’ve been living with the pressure. I just look at the team and it feels like they perform under pressure. They like the pressure. The harder it is, the more you get out of the team.”

U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On the USA’s chances and finishing their chances:
“It’s good to get the chances. New Zealand, North Korea and Colombia were good at disrupting the flow. Today was a little bit more soccer than we’ve seen in the last two matches. Truthfully, from a forward’s perspective, Alex and I would like to be finishing more of the opportunities that we get. It’s just the way it goes, though. At the end of the day, we’re not going to be too hard on ourselves. We’re in the semifinals of the Olympics and hopefully if we get one more win we’ll be playing for gold.”

On Sydney Leroux’s performance off the bench:
“For a kid like Syd to come in, she’s got no expectations. Her job is to come in and make things miserable for their back line, pressure them and run. She did just that. She did her job and it paid off for her. She gets a great goal. We needed that goal. That’s a breather. You never know what’s going to happen with a one-goal lead. She had the most sincere celebration and it’s because I don’t know if she could believe that she just scored a goal in the Olympic Games. It made me emotional because that’s what’s special about being in the Olympics – seeing a kid come in, perform and do something that they didn’t even think was possible. It was brilliant.”

U.S. forward SYDNEY LEROUX
On her goal:
“It’s so amazing. If you saw my face, I was pretty excited. I’m so happy that I get to play with these girls and they inspire me every day. To score a goal for the USA is a dream come true.”

On providing a spark off the bench:
“I don’t have anything to do other than go crazy. That’s my favorite thing – to defend and slide tackle and just to get in there and cause havoc and I love it.”

On the players’ reaction to her goal:
“They were so excited and happy for me. They’ve been so great. Having me on the team and taking me under their wing, I can’t explain how important they’ve been for not only soccer, but me as a person. I learn something new every day.”

U.S. defender RACHEL BUEHLER

On the match:
“I think it was great game for us. New Zealand was a strong opponent, they pressured hard and they had a lot of heart and athleticism out there. It was great that we were able to get the goal and follow it up with that last goal. For Syd, it was great for her to come in and make an impact and it solidified it for us and took the pressure off a little bit. It was a great win and we’re excited to go to the semis now.”

On the team’s defensive performance:
“It was a lot of long balls in and that’s always dangerous because you don’t know how it might bounce and it can be difficult to clear things at times. I think we did a good job covering for each other and dealing with their athleticism up top. They’re fast and will pressure you and do anything to get onto the ball and we did well holding our ground and being a unit and covering for each other.”

U.S. goalkeeper HOPE SOLO
On the team’s defensive performance:
“We’ve been focusing so much on our back line defense, but really it’s been the team defense. You can see Abby (Wambach) and Alex (Morgan) pressuring the ball a lot up top, so we’re asking them to work harder defensively. Our central midfielders Carli (Lloyd) and Lauren (Cheney) are picking up the second balls and trying to double back. It’s more of our team defense that’s coming together.”

On Sydney Leroux’s play:
“Everyone was so excited for her. We knew a big-time goal for her eventually would come. She’s proven in practice and in games that she can score, but lately she hasn’t found the back of the net. I’m really happy for her. That was a great step by Pia and our coaching staff. Abby was almost in tears of joy for her because Syd was completely surprised by her performance, you could see it in her celebration.”

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