US SoccerUS Soccer

Quote Sheet: U-23 MNT 0, CHN 0


On the team’s performance:
“I thought we were well prepared for the game. After an up and down first half, we took to them in the second half. In my opinion, we were unlucky not to come away with a win. It was our first game together as a group, and it took a little while for us to sustain a rhythm on offense. We’re still learning where we need to be positionally with respect to our defensive shape as a whole. Those are some things that we have been constantly going over in camp, and I think there was good progress made as the match went on.”

On dealing with the Chinese attack:
“Going into the game, I thought they were going to play more of a short passing game. Instead, they liked to change the point of attack with balls from either their centerbacks or the defensive midfielder to try and stretch us out. We addressed our shape in defending against that strategy at halftime, making sure that the weak side flank defender wasn’t pulled in too tight.”

On the atmosphere in the stadium:
“When you play in another country you expect to have a hostile crowd, but the crowd seemed to enjoy good soccer by both sides. The energy that the fans brought to the game definitely gave both teams a spark. In that type of atmosphere, everyone tends to step up their game a little bit more. You realize that you are putting on a show to some degree.”

On what he has taken from the camp so far:
“The biggest aspect for me is that the team has had a couple weeks to bond together, and to begin to understand how the coaching staff wants us to play. It’s been a good camp to continue to grow as a player for both my club and my country.”

U.S. midfielder STUART HOLDEN

On the team’s performance:
“I thought it was pretty good outing considering that it was our first competitive game together. Obviously there are things we need to work on and things we can do better, but some of the creative attacking movement going forward was fun to be a part of.”

On the team’s attacking approach:
“We have wingbacks that can get around the outside, and the midfielders were told to tuck in and play tight. We have some good players in the midfield, and with the creativity we have in those spots their defenders are forced to make decisions on how to defend. Our movement created gaps in their defense, and we were able to find seams through the middle.”

On assessing the performance in the attacking end:
“It was good until up until the final moment, whether it was the last pass or the final shot. Those plays let us down in the end, and we were unable to put away our chances. Overall I thought we did well, but I can’t say it was really good because we didn’t end up with any goals.”

On the atmosphere:
“It was a lot of fun to play. The crowd was really loud and full of energy. I think people came to see a good game, and were encouraged by good play from both sides.”

On playing for the United States at this level:
“I felt a huge amount of pride wearing the badge of the United States. My only other experience was with the U-20s, so this was special for me. Hopefully I can continue to represent the U.S. in the future.”

On what he has taken from the camp so far:
“So far it’s been a very successful camp in terms of getting the ideas across from the staff to the players of how we want to play as a unit and what is expected of us going forward. As far as team chemistry, this group of players has really started to bond together and get more comfortable on and off the field.”

On whether playing in the country that will host the Olympics has given added incentive to qualify:
“In the U.S., the Olympics are really seen in the media as the biggest event in the world. To have the chance to represent the USA would be incredible. Being here gives you the chills thinking about what could be like next summer.”

U.S. midfielder ARTURO ALVAREZ

On the team’s performance:
“I think we did pretty well after only two weeks together. It’s a lot of new guys trying to play together as a unit. For playing in China against the home team, I thought we did well both defensively and offensively.”

On assessing the performance in the attacking end:
“We have good midfielders, guys that can play one touch and guys that can take people on. Last night in the game, we had a lot of good combinations that got us space to take shots. We got a lot of good shots, and with a little more luck we could have got a goal. Moving forward I think it’s clear we have some really good attacking players.”

On his performance:
“Going forward and attacking is my strength, and I think I did pretty well. I created some good chances for myself, took shots, and kept the ball well. Defensively, I’m pretty happy with my job. I helped the team as much as possible. We looked at a lot of video regarding our defensive shape, and I think Peter [Nowak] was happy with how we went about things defending.”

On whether playing in the country that will host the Olympics has given added incentive to qualify:
“For sure. I think it is great coming to China to play the team that will be representing them in the Olympic and getting a little taste of what it will be like. If the atmosphere is great now, I can’t imagine what it will be like for Olympics. Being here has given us extra motivation to work hard and make sure we that we qualify for the Olympic Games.”

U.S. goalkeeper CHRIS SEITZ

On the team’s performance:
“I think last night was a good staring part for us. It was our first time together with Peter as our coach. Coming into a hostile environment and getting result is a good thing. While there is a lot we can do to improve going forward, I know that we are definitely capable. I think we have a chance to get a better result on Sunday.”

On getting a draw against the host country:
“Anytime you can go on the road and keep a clean sheet it’s a good thing. We’re not used to playing against a team with the style that China had. They made lot of quick changes to the point of attack, with a lot of long switches. Once we made adjustments at halftime with our positioning, it was evident that we adapted well on both sides of the ball and played better.”

On earning two shutouts in two games for the U-23 MNT:
“Anytime the team can get two shutouts in two games you have to be pleased. Things are going well for us as a defensive unit. I have a lot of familiarity playing with these backs in other age groups, so there is already a comfort level. When you are in a game like that, that familiarity helps settle you down a little bit.”

On whether playing in the country that will host the Olympics has given added incentive to qualify:
“Absolutely. It’s always important before a big tournament to get to the host country to have an idea what you are playing for and what’s at stake. Being here and seeing environment and how excited they are definitely adds a little bit more incentive to qualify. You see what you are aspiring to accomplish.”