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Post-Match Quotes: MNT vs. Jamaica


U.S. MNT vs. Jamaica: Quote Sheet
FIFA World Cup Qualifying
Oct. 11, 2013

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
On the win against Jamaica
“We are extremely happy to finish the [Hexagonal] in first position, leading the CONCACAF group and being number one in CONCACAF right now. Everybody’s excited about that. It has been a lot of work tonight. Obviously the first half didn’t go the way we hoped and we struggled to get a rhythm, a pace in the game. We adjusted a few things then and picked it up really well in the second half.

“Excited to see this group coming along, the personalities slowly come through there. If you look at this year, 2013, it’s just a tremendous experience for all of us with the fan support every place we play has been sold out. It’s really an enjoyable moment for all of us.”

On the final 30 minutes
“We expected a tight game. Jamaica’s not coming here to give us the points. They are disappointed with their run. They know they can do better than where they are right now. They were very well organized. They closed the spaces down in the first half. We know them physically, they’re a strong team and can always hurt you with a counter break. They hung in there; they were all over the place and made sure we don’t find the gaps we need to create chances.

“Even if we had four or five chances in the first half, I think Aron [Johannsson] had a couple of those, and we said simply at half time ‘you guys have to raise the bar here, raise the tempo.’ That’s what we did, and after 55, 60 minutes, we passed it through faster, there were a lot of passing sequences one touch only, and that’s when you open up any team. So, the changes came, and I felt on the bench, it’s just a question of time until we get that first goal.”

On the opportunity handed to a few players in the match
“What we want to see, is that over a time period, they grow, that they get more confident. I think Geoff has played that role already a couple times and he looked comfortable. He had a good game. With Aron, it’s just about ‘get out there now, get connected with the team.’ I think he was happy to have Jozy [Altidore] with him out there because they played a couple minutes together at Alkmarr. He created chances , he knew where the ball would end up. He missed those chances , but he was there. It’s good to see. In the second half he ran out of gas a little bit, that’s why we subbed him out.

“Mix you can see, there is also a player, who is coming through. He’s one of our Olympic kids, who gets more confidence every time he comes into camp with us. His vision, his technique and one-touch passing ability is maturing and that’s what we want to see.”

On the impact of the substitutions

“The substitutions after half time, we discussed that did that coaching staff, as we always do. We felt like we had to do something. Landon [Donovan] had problems getting into the game, but he wasn’t the only one. We could have moved Landon up top with Jozy, but we felt like Aron gets those chances, he puts them in. It was a simple performance based decision, so there’s no problem at all.

“The plan was to bring Sacha [Kljestan] after half time, and do we move Mix [Diskerud] forward, or do we bring on Terrence Boyd, another real striker. Those discussions are ongoing, on the bench, at half time. It’s just normal. Da Marcus Beasley’s substitution was because he had a hamstring problem, which makes him questionable for Panama. It’s ok because Ed Castillo was in a great mood today and found his space. Edgar is another player who’s matured a lot over the last two years, playing week-in week-out in Tijuana, in Copa Libertadores last year against big South American teams, CONCACAF Champions League. It’s good to know he can come in, create stuff and he should have scored a third goal.”

U.S. Men’s National Team forward LANDON DONOVAN
Thoughts on the match
“It definitely wasn’t our best half. It certainly wasn’t my best half. I think it was frustrating for all of us, but in the end it’s about finding a way to win games. A lot of the time you play poorly and lose and we still found a way to win even though we didn’t play great. So it was still important to win that game.

On winning the group
“It’s important to win the group and this time’s a little different than in the past. It takes a lot more points generally to win the group but this time it has been more closely contested. So for us it’s important again as far as FIFA rankings go. It’s important and there is an outside chance we can get seeded and we want to take that in to Panama.”

U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
Thoughts on the backline and Geoff Cameron’s performance
“Geoff [Cameron]’s calm on the ball. I thought he did well. It’s not always easy to slot in there. But he seems to get his opportunity and perform well and he’s making his case for himself. It was good all around defense tonight and I think that has kind of been our rock so far in qualifying. You can’t do it without a good solid foundation.”

On the competition at center back
“It’s a good problem to have. As I’ve said before, you start getting into World Cups and your playing four or five games. It’s hard to have the same lineup all the time due to injuries and cards and suspensions. You want to have guys that feel comfortable stepping in that aren’t going to feel shaken by the environment. It will be interesting to see how it works out over the last six or eight months of preparation.”

On young players getting their first qualifying starts tonight
“I think Aron [Johannson] was really sharp up front. He pairs really well with Jozy [Altidore]. Jozy likes to sometimes run the channel, hold the ball up and you need that guy underneath to kind of be buzzing around and feed off Jozy’s layoffs. He did really well in that role. Mix [Diskerud] is a good player and he keeps the ball moving. He’s good on the ball and he makes people miss, so all around I think our midfield and strikers had a good performance.”

On what the subs added in the second half
“They were impactful which is what you want from your substitutes. Sacha [Kljestan] was very calm and composed on the ball which he is. [Graham] Zusi coming in off the wing and was classy. He’s a really good player.”

On the fans in Kansas City
“It's great; Kansas City, Columbus, Seattle, those are the venues and it's awesome. Even D.C. this summer for the centennial game was huge and every time we come to Kansas City it's a wonderful place to be. We feel welcome and the crowd doesn't disappoint us. I think we'll continue to come back here because we perform and get really good results. That's what you want when you play at home.”

U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder GRAHAM ZUSI
On his role as a second half substitute
“You always want to be on the field as much as possible. You sit there and try to read the game when you're on the bench. When I learned that I was going to come out in the second half, I was pretty excited to get in there and try to make a stamp on the game.”

On providing a spark offensively
“I knew we were struggling a bit to get in behind them and create chances. My job coming off the bench was to try to cause a spark and get things going a little bit.”

On scoring the opening goal
“[Alejandro] Bedoya did well to get in on the right side. I think his initial pass was blocked but he stuck at it and did really well to get that second effort into me. After a little bit of a mishit by me, I saw it going into the bottom left.”

On the significance of scoring in front of a home crowd
“This was a nice one to get, especially to do it in front of the home fans. It made it extra special for me and I'm sure for them as well. I believe Besler (was the first to join the celebration). He made a long run forward to celebrate with me; a special moment for both of us.”

On the competition for spots on the squad
I think it's needed. There's a great depth to this team. We're pushing each other each game and in practice, as well. That competition, like I said, is needed for a team to do well.” 

On finishing first in the Hex
I think it does (matter). I think it does (matter) for our confidence and for the possible seeding in Brazil as well. We want to win as many games as possible and possibly sneak into that top 10.”

On now facing Panama, who he scored his first international goal against
It was my second cap for the team and I was able to get my first goal. It was definitely a special moment down there. I'm looking to repeat and get another win.”

U.S. Men’s National Team defender MATT BESLER
Thoughts on the night
"It was pretty special for me. The last five minutes, when we scored the second goal and the fans really got into the game, I kind of looked around and took it all in. It's something I will remember forever.

“I've been looking forward to this game for a while and it lived up to my expectations. It was a great feeling from the beginning, the game went well and afterwards, the celebration was awesome.”

On Jurgen Klinsmann’s message at halftime
“It was pretty clear. We just needed to play better. We needed to play cleaner with the ball, pass and move and play simple. We were trying to hit that killer pass in the first half and kept losing the ball. But once we got the ball on the ground in the second half and started moving around things opened up for us.”

On the partnership with Geoff Cameron
“I thought we did well. Our movements, we were always together and always covering each other. I thought Geoff played well.”

On the competition at center back
“There is a lot of competition at every spot, but especially center back. There are four or five guys that have come in, done well and shown they can play. It's good, though. It's great for the team. We are going to push each other to a higher level and it's going to get tight before Brazil.”

U.S. Men’s National Team forward ARON JOHANNSSON
On his performance
“I thought I did OK. I think also, it was not our best game so far. But in the end, we came through and won 2-0, so it ended well.”

On the atmosphere
“It’s a little bit different than I’m used to, but the fans were amazing today and they cheered for us the whole 93 minutes. It was just something else.”

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