Quote Sheet: U.S. MNT Defeats Japan, 3-2, to Remain Unbeaten in World Cup Preparations
U.S. MANAGER BRUCE ARENA
On the fitness level of the U.S. team:
"It was great. Over the last three weeks, after our guys got their legs from the preseason after they had been off so long, I think you could see the sharpness coming. We told our team the week of the Norway game we could see them come alive as players, as I said they had there legs back and were much sharper on the ball. We could see over the last two to three weeks that the passing has improved, they’re creating a bunch of chances and they have preformed well, so I wasn't surprise they way they moved the ball tonight."
On the performance of Clint Dempsey:
"Clint has played very well. You know I thought last year when we had him, he was not a player that had the fitness level of the international game nor did he have the mentality or understanding to play on both sides of the ball, and I think that the experiences of last year have helped him and he has dedicated himself to getting fitter coming into this camp. He is a player that is dependable on both sides of the ball and he is a guy that can score goals as well. His improvement has been great to see and he is another player who is positioning himself for a place on the World Cup roster."
On how the many substitutions affected the game:
"I think that one of the points in the game tonight was there were so many changes. When Japan made those changes in the second half, they were really able continue to force the tempo. It got sloppy a little bit. We were certainly tired staying with our first eleven and that impacted the game. Then when we made the changes it hurt our continuity a little bit and the flow of the game. It did get sloppy, but I was really pleased with our performance for the entire evening."
On the roster for the March 1 match against Poland in Kaiserslautern:
"It's hard to answer that question right now because for the first game against Poland, the roster is going to be dependent on our players’ fitness in Europe. If we can, were going to want to take a look at as many European-based players as possible, because that is the only date we have for them. Our game against Germany on March 22nd will likely be a majority of these players. The March 1st game is the only chance I get the entire year to look at our European players, so obviously I am going to hope some of them are healthy and they are in good form."
U.S. DEFENDER EDDIE POPE
On tonight’s effort:
“Our guys up top are unbelievably fit and unbelievably fast. Our midfielders can really get out there, especially one on one. They’re good finishers. We got a lot of really good crosses in tonight”
On fighting for a spot on the World Cup roster:
“Everyone here wants to make this team very badly, so we’re all working hard. We all know that you’re only going to get so many opportunities to show in a game. Every time you play a game it’s one less, so we’re all fighting for spots.”
U.S. FORWARD TAYLOR TWELLMAN
On what has helped him get on a scoring streak:
“The only thing that has changed is that you guys are talking about me. I’m doing the same things I’ve always done, which is work hard and try to get in front of the goal.”
On having fun playing:
“Anytime we win, it’s fun. Anytime you’re playing and winning and things are going well, things are a lot more fun.”
“There’s going to be skeptics every game with me. That’s just what I’ve realized it will be with the national team. A lot of people will say what they want to say. I don’t worry about it. If Bruce likes me, that’s all that matters.”
U.S. MIDFIELDER CLINT DEMPSEY
On playing in more games:
“I’ve been playing more minutes, playing in more games and playing in important games. I played against Norway and I played in this important game against Japan. You feel the pressure because you know the World Cup is coming up. These are big games coming up. I felt like I was able to go out there and showcase what I’m able to do and hopefully that’s enough to get on the team. Obviously, you never know, but I just wanted to be in the mix.”
On the keys to the game for the U.S.:
"I thought we did a good job of getting at them early and putting that pressure on them. They (Japan) are a good team on the ball. At the first part of the game, it seemed like it was even and then you could see it sway a little in our favor."
On Japan coming back in the second half:
"I thought Japan was a good team and if you give them time on the ball they can hurt you and that is what we did, we gave them time."
U.S. GOALKEEPER KEVIN HARTMAN
On the play of the central defenders:
"They (Pope and Conrad) are both so athletic and calm on the ball. They understand the game so well."
U.S. FORWARD JOSH WOLFF
On playing with Taylor Twellman:
"I think Taylor and I matched up pretty well tonight. We linked up on a couple good plays."
On fighting for a World Cup roster spot:
"I think a lot of spots are competitive on the field right now, but as a forward I keep plugging away. I think most guys this year came in probably the best shape for a January camp, and I think that is why you see us playing as well as we are right now."
U.S. DEFENDER TODD DUNIVANT
On if he’s made an impact to be considered for the World Cup:
“I’m trying to take it one game at a time. I’m not thinking about the World Cup. We want to focus on these games because they are big games for us, especially for these domestic guys such as myself who haven’t had a huge opportunity, so you have to take advantage of these chances.”
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