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U-17 MNT vs. Costa Rica Post-Match Quote Sheet

Head coach John Hackworth
On the match:
“It was a very tough game. We got two early goals and played some very good soccer in the middle part of the first half, but we kind of let off there at the end. We came into halftime and talked about playing soccer, playing the game we’re capable of playing. I thought we came out and did that for the most part in the second half. They get a good goal against the run of play and that puts us on our heels. I thought we recovered really well and managed the game by possessing the ball. We had a couple chances and didn’t put them away, so it went right up to the end. It was a fantastic result for us.”

On Costa Rica:
“Give full credit to Costa Rica. They are a fantastic team and any time we play Costa Rica it is a tough match. They play with a lot of passion and a lot of enthusiasm. I’m sure they will do very well in the World Cup.”

On if playing four games in seven days caused some fatigue for the players:
“No question. This is unbelievably difficult, both from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint. Sheanon (Williams) gave it everything he had and came to me and said, ‘I can’t go, my legs are done.’ But we’ve said all along we’re a deep team and Howard Turk came in and provided some quality minutes for us. But yes fatigue was an issue and we battled through it tonight.”

Midfielder Gregory Garza
On his goal:
“(Billy) Schuler gave me a great ball from inside the 18-yard box and I just tapped it in. I was in the right spot at the right time. We were really determined to win this game and I think it helped a lot to get that first goal.”

On what they talked about at halftime with another 2-0 lead:
“We just talked about keeping our intensity and keep it rolling. We wanted to defend with the ball and give it everything we had. This was the game to win the group and we were determined to do it.”

On winning the group and qualifying:
“It’s amazing. Now we have to look forward to South Korea and the World Cup. We have to get prepared for that and be determined to do well there as well.”

Goalkeeper Zac MacMath
On what their mentality was going into the second half:
“Do anything it takes to stay focused and make sure we don’t give up goals. We gave up one goal, but it was fine. We got back together and just kept on fighting.”

On dealing with Costa Rica’s push forward late:
“I could see that they were going to start shooting from outside. Most of the balls were deflections out of the box and it was crowded, so I saw most of them late, but we were able to keep most of them out.”

On Costa Rica’s goal:
“The goalkeeper took the punt and we let it drop. It kept taking bounces and I didn’t know if I should come out or stay, and I kind of got caught in the middle. He did a good job to finish as I came out and tried to be big. He just looped it as high as he could to score.”

On winning the group:
“It feels great. I’m shocked. I was so nervous the last 30 minutes of the game. It’s just a relief.”

Forward Ellis McLoughlin
On how tough it was to sit out the last two matches:
“It was hard, but for me I just focused on Costa Rica because I knew that was my next game. Our team did well when I was out, but it was hard.”

On scoring the winning goal:
“It was perfect. That’s what my job is, to score goals. That’s what I came down here to do.”

On wining the group and qualifying for the World Cup:
“We accomplished both goals; we were two for two. Now we just have to focus on Korea because tomorrow is a new day.”