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Post-Match Quotes: U.S. U-17 MNT 3, Italy 1


U.S. Head Coach John Hackworth
On the victory:
“We came out and we executed our game plan. We didn’t finish any chances in the first half which was unfortunate because I really thought we played well for 45 minutes and we should have gone into halftime with something better than 0-0. But we came out of halftime with the correct mentality. We talked about it being 0-0 and, although we played well, we hadn’t done anything yet. We said we had to go out and search for that first goal like your life depends on it. And they did.”

On what they did well:
“We put pressure on Italy early and moved the ball really well. We got behind them and created opportunities for ourselves, which was the key battle for us.”

On the play of Nikolas Besagno:
“I thought Nik did an outstanding job. We thought that was probably a move that would be good for us because he gives us a physical presence and is extremely good in the air. He’s played there before and I just can’t say enough about him. Unfortunately, he got hurt, but I thought he did a heck of a job when he was in there.”

On Italy scoring to cut the lead to one:
“Things got a little crazy. We can’t give up these fluke goals. It’s a hope and a prayer ball and somehow it goes in the goal, which is unfortunate. Why my back four was leaving No. 10 (Andrea Russotto) as free as they were was driving me crazy. But, we adjusted and in the end I think we played good soccer all the way through.”

On the play of David Arvizu:
“You have to give credit to David Arvizu. He played a fantastic game and I can’t say enough about him because that is what he’s capable of doing. He was very unlucky not to get a goal in this game and hopefully he can find one later on in the tournament.”

On the play of goalkeeper Bryant Rueckner:
“Rueckner is still my main man. He’s the guy that got us here. I thought he played really well. We actually do the same thing a lot. That play is very difficult if (the ball) doesn’t touch anybody. The goalkeeper is playing for the deflection and if nobody touches it the ball is going to just travel the same direction.”

On their next match against Ivory Coast:
“We’re going to come out and play the same way. We’re going to play 100 percent for a result and try to secure ourselves a good spot in the quarterfinal.”

U.S. Captain Ofori Sarkodie
On the first goal:
“It was a great ball sent in and it just happened to fall right in my sight. I turned and the first thing I thought was get it away from the ‘keeper because he has a pretty big wingspan and can get to a lot of balls. I tried to trick him a little bit by hitting it with the outside of my foot and get it as far into the side netting as possible.”

On shutting down Italy’s attack:
“I think that is real credit to the midfield. They stayed really compact and were taking our organization very seriously. They were getting to balls that we were expecting them to get to, which made our job that much easier. We won the individual battles it took to win the game.”

U.S. Forward David Arvizu
On his play:
“I thought I played pretty well and was disappointed I didn’t score, but the main thing is that the rest of the guys were able to score and that’s all that matters.”

On what the win means to him:
“We knew we could keep up with these teams even though a lot of people doubted us. I think we are showing the rest of the world that we can play.”

U.S. Defender Nikolas Besagno
“I just wanted to get out there and do my role as center back and win balls in the air. Ofori and I were just trying to hold down the center back position and not allow them any shots.”

U.S. Midfielder Ryan Soroka
On scoring the 1,000 goal in U-17 World Championship history:
“Scoring any goal feels so good, so really it’s just another goal. I’m glad I was able to get the mark, but I had no idea about it at the time obviously. I was more happy to just secure our win with the third goal.”

On the game:
“I think we possessed the ball really well and controlled the game for the most part. They started pushing toward the end, but we found an answer to put the game away. Italy was a good squad, but we were able to do what we had to for the win.”

On if this win gives them confidence moving forward:
“I think it definitely gives us confidence. This is a big time win for us. The second game is always the hardest game to win because there is the chance of a letdown after your first game. But we were able to pick it up and hopefully we can keep our confidence rolling.”

U.S. Midfielder Kyle Nakazawa
On what they did well:
“Once we found the ball we were able to keep the ball really well. We were also able to connect passes together in the midfield, especially in the second half.”

On his free kick goal:
“I’ve been practicing free kicks all week from that area and I knew I was going to get a chance. Once I did, I just had to execute. I just found my spot in the back of the goal and went for it.”

On how well they played:
“I think this is one of the best games we’ve played, considering the circumstances. We play best under tense pressure when we need a win and playing against one of the best teams in the world in Italy I think helped us thrive.”

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