US SoccerUS Soccer
Michael Bradley

Quote Sheet: USA 0, Spain 4


U.S. head coach BOB BRADLEY
On the game:
“Spain’s a great team any time, and it was a tough test to play them on the eve of the Gold Cup. We’ve always chosen to take these challenges and to play against the best teams because it’s the best way to see what the game at the highest level is all about. It’s the best way for us to improve. We know there are things that we can take from this game that will not only help us during the next three weeks but help us as we keep trying to move forward.

“The trick on a day like today is trying to figure out who are the guys that we think can potentially go 90 minutes and how to have enough of them on the field at the beginning that you have some options and that you feel like you have everybody ready to go. We’ve done it different ways but we felt today that that was the way to go.

On the younger players gaining experience:
“These are good games for Timmy Ream. When you play against top teams, because they’re so creative, so mobile, they play in the spaces in front of you. If you’re leaning a little bit they find ways to get behind you. There are still some positives. I like the fact that he’s trying to make the right pass out of the back. If you look back on the game against Paraguay I thought our game out of the back was good …. These are the kinds of lessons that help players.”

On playing the top team in the world:
“When you challenge yourself against the best teams you have to accept that this is the way it can be sometimes. If we didn’t think we could handle it we wouldn’t play these games. It’s never easy when you’re behind 3-0 at halftime. You take a guy like Tim Howard and all the games he’s played and how much he’s meant to us. We just told him at halftime, 'you’ve been in these kinds of games. Don’t let it get you' and that’s that. I follow the game all over the place and I’ve seen what Spain has done to many teams, and what Barcelona has done on many days. The players that they have in Spain right now, the ability they have is special. We’ve played them three times now and after all three we’ve walked away incredibly impressed with how good they are, and how they’re able to move the ball so intelligently, so skillfully. If you’re trying to close them down, the ball is already off somewhere else. Not many teams in the world can show you that.”


U.S. midfielder CLINT DEMPSEY

On the upcoming Gold Cup:
“We know it’s going to be a tough tournament but we want to do well and we want to win it. That’s the objective and the first game is Canada and that’s what we’re concentrating on right now. We need to start the Gold Cup off on a good note and win the first game.”

On what he takes away from the game tonight:
“We tried a number of players out today to get a feel of what Bob [Bradley] wants to do in the first game as far as what he thinks his strongest lineup is going to be. So it’s just giving people a chance to go out and prove themselves and see if they can get into the starting eleven. It was a chance to work on some fitness, play against a tough opponent and see where we’re weak and we can look at tapes and figure out how to improve that.”

On whether it was difficult that he did not get the start:
“No, Bob talked to me before the game. I knew I wasn’t going to play 90 minutes. It didn’t make much sense because I played a long season in England and, looking toward the Gold Cup, you want to make sure you’re fresh for that because there are still a lot of games to be played for that.

U.S. goalkeeper TIM HOWARD

On the Spanish attack:
“You don’t have enough players to mark everybody they throw at you. That’s why they’re so good. It’s a difficult task but some days are like this, unfortunately.”

On if the loss is demoralizing:
“No, we’ve been in this position before. If we let one decision rock the whole boat, then we’re not much of a team. This is a strong team and we’re strong willed. I think you’ll see the right mentality again on Tuesday. It will be difficult. Tonight, we’ll get on a plane, we’ll be upset and we’re professionals and it hurts. It’s never nice to get your butt kicked but sometimes you get up and move forward and we’ll do that.”

On the mentality of the young team:
“We’ve got all the right pieces in place. Today wasn’t our day. Not just the young kids, all of us. It just goes to show you how far you still have to go, even when you play at the top level, to be like those guys because they’re fantastic. We had our moment against them a few years ago and we know what that felt like and now we’re on the other side of it.”

U.S. midfielder MICHAEL BRADLEY

On adjustments the team can make before they play Canada:
“We will just have to try to look closely at ourselves. Obviously, they’re a good team and they don’t need much in little situations to make passes and then give themselves a chance. Certainly, as we move forward not only in the Gold Cup but also in qualifying and hopefully the World Cup down the road, these experiences will help us.”

On whether there is a sense of relief that this Spain team was the toughest they will face:
“No, not really. You step on the field and you want to compete and you want to win. Certainly to win a game like this, everybody has got to compete at the highest level. Everybody’s got to be sharp, everybody’s got to be able to make all the little plays along the way and I don’t think we did a good enough job in that part today. So, like I said, we’ll look at ourselves closely and use it as we move along here.”

On whether he felt the team got better after halftime:
“Yeah, I think there were a few times in the second half where we were able to, through a little bit of movement, a little bit of mobility and a little bit of confidence, to put them on their heels a little bit but it still didn’t amount to enough and we weren’t able to sustain it long enough. All in all it was a tough afternoon for us, but it’s still up to us to show the character to respond and to make sure that as we get into this Gold Cup, we use it as a way to make sure that we’re at our sharpest.”

On whether there was value in the game:
“Sure. Whether it’s in the Gold Cup, qualifying, or the World Cup that’s now three years down the road, all these games that are along the way do a lot to prepare us. I said last go around that we played a lot of big opponents in friendly games and it still meant that by the time we got to the World Cup, there was a feeling in our team that we had been there before and we had played these kind of hard games before and played in big atmospheres. We had played in big games and so the hope is that all these experiences along the way, they add up and in three years in a World Cup we can step on the field and there’s a collective feeling in the team that we’ve been there before and we know that it takes to win these games.”

U.S. defender TIM REAM

On the loss:
“You learn more from these games than maybe winning a game like that. Obviously, they’re the top team in the world and they’re going to do things that make you look silly. You learn positioning-wise where to be. You take the little things and try to learn from them.”

On whether Spain did anything they weren’t expecting:
“No, not at all. They just execute so much better than any other team. Even when you’re expecting certain things to come, they still pull it off, which is a sign of a good team.”

On how this affects the buildup to the Gold Cup:
“I don’t think it really affects it in a negative way. Obviously, we can take a few things form the second half, mainly keeping the ball a little bit better and creating a couple of chances there. We just have to take that and roll with it and go into the Gold Cup against Canada on Tuesday strong.”

On whether it is hard to think of the game as a learning experience during it:
“Yeah, during the game you don’t think of it that way. It’s after when you start analyzing and thinking about the game that you really learn from what can be done better.”

On how frustrating it is to be out there:
“It was definitely frustrating in the first half. Giving up three goals is hard to swallow. The second half it was a little bit better on our end. We felt better in the second half. We felt we moved the ball better and we created a few chances, which is a good sign for us.

U.S. defender CARLOS BOCANEGRA

On the game overall:
“You have to give them a lot of credit. We had some guys that got into the game and played with some heart. Eric Lichaj did a good job up and down the outside at least trying to get forward when we could. It was hard – you play Spain like that and then they don’t make you look so good, unfortunately. But we have a good team and we’re confident, so Tuesday is what really matters.”

On how the team can shake this off and prepare for Tuesday:
“This game, we’ll go back and talk about it for five minutes at the hotel and it’s going to be behind us. The only thing we can take from it is some video clips on some defensive positions and some defensive setups and when we win the ball how we can pass out of some situations better. Other than that, this game is finished.”

U.S. forward JOZY ALTIDORE

On whether this game affects the team for Tuesday:
“No, I think this is one of those games where you want to come out and it is a good entertaining game for the fans. Not only that, it’s good to test yourself and see how far you’ve come. At the same time, it’s a whole different competition and whole different team that we’re going to be up against in the Gold Cup.”

On whether staying central in the first half was part of the tactical plan:
“I mean, you go into every game with a tactical plan and as soon as the game starts, it tends to get thrown out the window. For us, nothing really worked. I thought Spain had much of the possession and going forward we were flat, so it was a tough game.

On whether he felt isolated:
“A bit. I think that was due to the fact that we were always afraid of them going on the break and when they won the ball they did a great job of keeping it.”

On changing the mindset for the Gold Cup:
“Yeah, it’s a totally different game so it’s a totally different mindset. I think today, you know what to expect from Spain. Going into Canada, we have to be a little bit more confident and be the team to force the issue.”

On what he liked about the U.S. performance:
“There’s nothing much to like. I guess that we didn’t quit. We kept playing, but it was a tough game for us today.”

U.S. defender STEVE CHERUNDOLO

On what they could take from the game today:
“Spain showed us that we have some deficiencies. We need to work on them in training and that’s something that not only the young but the old guys can learn from. We need to be better day in and day out and become better soccer players. That needs to be a long term goal for U.S. Soccer.”

On whether the problem was organization or losing one-on-one battles:
“Both. Part of playing a good team is setting your teammate up so he has an advantage to win a one-on-one battle. Spain does an amazing job of moving the ball around and putting defenders in bad spots to give the offensive player the advantage one v one. It’s a little bit of both – winning individual battles but sometimes you’re put in positions that you’re not usually put in and sometimes you have no chance.”

 

×