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Post-Game Quotes: USA 1, Venezuela 0


U.S. Men’s National Team head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN:
On the team's performance:
“Overall I thought we had a very good performance tonight. We had 10, 12 chances and they had no chances. We controlled completely and that gives them confidence. We wanted to give them a feeling of this type of game that they can play with these nations. We did an extreme amount of work these past two and a half weeks, and we were glad to see the players get the reward.”

On Jermaine Jones and what went in to decision to make captain:
“It was certainly a difficult situation for Jermaine with the suspension in Germany. I spoke with his coach and the club and we agreed it was beneficial to all of us to have him come in. He arrived the night of the 14th and the next day he practiced twice. Everyone could see why he was playing with a Champions League team. He elevated the group within one training session with his energy and with his leadership. His vision on the field makes a big difference. These young players are all hungry that want to make the next step that want to know how to get to the next level. Jermaine jumped in and talked with the guys and took care of it, and that’s why it was an easy decision to make him a captain. We also wanted to give him a signal that we want this type of leadership from him.”

On whether the conditioning work paid off:
“I think that’s a good question for the players. I think it’s very difficult to bring a group for only two and a half weeks from an off season and get them ready for international competition. That is pretty much impossible. You take it just the way it ends up. You hope they have the legs to carry them. We also stretched it out for the past two and a half weeks. We did an extreme amount of work, and that’s what we told the players before the match: you had a tremendous attitude and effort for two and a half weeks, now go out there and get the reward. I think they experienced it now, where you can push it for two and a half weeks and get a win.”

On Ricardo Clark:
“I wanted to bring him into camp and see for myself why he was struggling. He had to get his fitness up to the level of the other players, so every day we pushed it a little more and a little more. I knew that when he’s on the field, he is a very technically gifted player. He can play one touch football. We needed to find a way in the second half to move the ball quicker, to get the ball in the box and be a little more aggressive. He gives us more speed with his distribution and we are very happy it worked out for him this way.”

On Heath Pearce and A.J. DeLaGarza:
“You’re curious to see and work with them coming off their seasons with their club. We played intense scrimmages and the way they integrated themselves was wonderful. A.J. is the type of player where he can play right back like he did tonight or in the middle. Heath is the same type of player. They understand their roles, and they both do that very well.”

On the players who got their first caps tonight:
“It was very important that they knew they were part of a group. We told them that they had a whole group of players out here to help them. Even if a mistake happens, you shake it off and move on. When you have your first camp, you’re nervous, you’re shaky, but the way the group helped them was really cool to see. It speaks for the group. It speaks for their characters that they help these young players coming in.”

On the impact that switching to the 4-4-2 formation had on the game:
“It added more danger in the box. We went with one striker, and when the time was right in the second half we pushed it up with two. We did that in practices and scrimmages. It’s good to see that the players can play one system and switch to another in the middle of a game. If we had Juan available maybe we would have started with the 4-4-2, but we didn’t so we switched to it to push the game and push the ball in the box more. It was just about getting one goal sooner or later. We got it—a bit late, but not too late.”

U.S. team captain and Budweiser Man of the Match JERMAINE JONES
On the game:
“I was feeling good. We had good training sessions this week, and we developed a good relationship. I think the game showed that we all connected together, and I think we showed a good game tonight.”

On the goal:
“I think the two corner kicks before were dangerous as well. I had it in my mind that maybe this was my last chance and I needed to hit a good ball. I was happy to see Rico was in the right place and scored the goal.”

On being named captain tonight:
”I think what was important to see tonight is that everyone was rooting for other guys. I was happy to be the captain tonight, but the important thing was that we played a good game tonight as a whole
team.”

U.S. midfielder RICARDO CLARK
On playing with Jermaine Jones:
“I think it’s the first time we’ve been on the field together and with games there is a better understanding of each other, but it is definitely a good start. It felt good to be with the National Team. Germany’s training is pretty rigorous, so it is not too hard to stay fit. I just wanted to provide some energy coming onto the field, and it is an ideal way for me to make an impression. I hope there is more to come for the National Team. Goals help to build confidence.”

U.S. midfielder BREK SHEA
On switching from the left side to the right:
“I’m trying to throw the other team off so they don’t get used to our tendencies. Sometimes we did it on purpose, and other times we did it to help each other out and we just stayed there. I don’t think it was my best tonight, but in the team won so it’s good. I’m fortunate to keep being called in, and hope to get better each game.

U.S. goalkeeper BILL HAMID:
On making his debut for the National Team:
“It’s good to put the uniform on and play for our country. It was a good game, a tough game. We had a good run and continued to create opportunities. Our defense played extremely well and were composed and organized. We played a full 90 minutes, and we were finally rewarded at the end. Hats off to the whole team for the effort.”

On whether it was easy to settle down in his first game with such good defense in front of him:
“The first couple minutes of the game the butterflies were flying. Once I realized the guys were doing well and felt comfortable, it gave me a bit of confidence to settle down and do what I needed to do.”

U.S. midfielder BRAD EVANS
On making changes in the second half:
“In the first half we were feeling them out. We came in after halftime and said “Let’s go for it.” When we watched them on film, they really pressured Costa Rica when they played them last time. It made it difficult for Benny to find the ball and the forwards to get a hold of the ball and spread it out wide. Our fitness showed through, and in the second half we got a spark from the guys on the bench and we pulled through.”

On coming in to hear a big ovation:
“The crowd was great tonight. I think having 22,000+ fans says something about Arizona soccer, which is big. I didn’t see too many Venezuela fans. It was mostly U.S. fans so it was tremendous.”

 

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