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Pre-Match Quote Sheet - US vs El Salvador


Pre-Match Quote Sheet:
U.S. vs. El Salvador
2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Final Round
Sept. 3, 2009

U.S. Head Coach BOB BRADLEY

On how fit and sharp the team is compared to before the Mexico game:
“In a single fixture date, you don’t really have time in the camp to assess the sharpness and fitness. The only thing you do when they arrive is prepare them in terms of recovery and travel to play, and of course tactics. When you look back on the Mexico game, it’s a difficult game to fully assess in all those ways because of the conditions. So you look at the pluses, and like any game you look at things that could have been better. When you have a double fixture date and the days of training, certainly in terms of seeing where guys stand, it’s a better situation.”

On whether the Gold Cup is the reasoning behind some new additions to the roster:
“Yes, definitely. One of the things that we certainly got out of the Gold Cup was the chance to work with a different group, see how they responded during the entire tournament, give them ideas in terms of how we do things, and that helps when you need to dig a little bit deeper into your pool.”

On the previous El Salvador game that was a 2-2 tie on March 28:
“There were parts to the game that we felt should have been better. We were certainly pleased at the end, given the challenge of being down two goals on the road, to fight back. That said a lot about the mentality of the team. So that was the big positive. You know, we actually started that game pretty well. But we weren’t always sharp enough in the attacking third, and a game can sometimes change a bit on one play. We were attacking because they had a lot of people back, and their first goal came on a counter-type situation where we didn’t react well enough as a team. So we’ll look at all those things, and yet we believe that the improvement in the group over time is a big part of things. So we know as we go into this game that we’re confident and ready to play well and take three points.”

On the importance of getting the early goal and how it affects tactics:
“The ability in all games when you have the lead to find the right balance to still attack and recognize that the game’s going to change is important. Often times teams will take more chances and throw more people forward. To be able to deal well with that but still find the right way to get forward, get the right numbers forward, and take advantage of opportunities to get more goals is important.”

On how El Salvador might play different this second time:
“I think that their starting points are the same. It’s a group of players that’s been together. I think they are well coached and organized. We saw even in a home game that they had a real game plan on how they wanted to play us, and I think that’s one of their strengths in all of their games. So we expect that.”

On the benefits of being able to train in Park City before the game in order to get acclimated to altitude:
“It helps. And everyone here in Park City has been great. The people at this facility have really reached out, and the field’s in excellent shape, so it’s been a really good situation for our team.”

On the result he expects to get Saturday night:
“I think the group is ready for this final stretch of qualifying. Playing at home is always something that means a lot to all of us, so I expect a great effort and a great result.”

On Landon Donovan’s importance to the team:
“He’s always a threat. He’s a real important player for us. I think he’s had just a great year all around. You see him growing and maturing in a lot of ways, taking more responsibility, and it’s been nice to see.”

On Charlie Davies’ emergence on the national team:
“It’s been a good period for seeing Charlie develop. He’s a player that’s been in U.S. Soccer programs over the years, and always been one of the most talented players physically. After he made the decision to go to Sweden following college, we know that the first year can often be a hard one. But in the second year he grew, and I think when we had him for that good stretch through the Confederations Cup and into the beginning of the Gold Cup, it was the longest period where he was part of our group. He could see for himself that he was making progress, and it showed. He’s off to a good start in France, and I think when you put it all together it’s a credit to the way he’s matured so far in the early part of his career.”

U.S. Forward LANDON DONOVAN
On what the team is expecting from El Salvador on Saturday:
“We played them a few months ago in El Salvador and they'll be a different team from the one we played there. They'll probably be very defensive minded and our job is to break them down and try to score a goal early. If we score a goal early it should help us a lot. The longer the game stays at 0-0, the better it is for them.”

On the previous game in El Salvador, where the U.S. came back late to earn a 2-2 draw:
“We saw it as a game where we did most things right, but the couple things we did poorly they made us pay for. It's unfortunate we kind of turned it on so late. At the end of the day, when you have a bad day it's better to get a point then nothing, but that's a game we look back on and feel we should have won.”

On lining up against former U.S. Youth National Team player Arturo Alvarez, who Donovan played with at the Earthquakes:
“It'll be fun. When Arturo first came in the league I was with him at San Jose. He always had a lot of potential, and I think he's done a really good job of becoming a real professional. He's done well and I'm excited for him, but I won't be wishing him too much luck on Saturday.”

On the experience level of this iteration of the U.S. National Team:
“We're relatively young compared to other national teams [I've played on]. That has pluses and minuses. The experience factor isn't there like it was with other teams. We're learning, we're getting better and this is a big game for us on Saturday.”

On the pressure of playing an important game in front of the home fans at Rio Tinto Stadium:
“There's pressure [because we're at home] but there's more pressure because there are four games left and this is the World Cup at our fingertips. If we lose points in this game or the Trinidad game it's going to hurt us and there's no more room for that.”

On whether the standings in the Final Round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying have been a surprise:
“Not really. In the beginning we probably would have expected El Salvador and Trinidad to be a bit below the other teams. We would have expected the other teams to beat each other at home and that's what has happened. It's an interesting scenario, but these two games are games we feel we need to win if we want to get to the World Cup.”

On taking a leadership role with the team:
“It comes with the territory. I've played a lot of games and been in these situations before, but a lot of other guys have too. We lean on guys that have been there before, especially in a week as important as this, and I'm one of those.”

On the team's mindset heading into Saturday's game:
“We want to be aggressive. If we go out and play tentatively and things don't go our way, we'll be pretty upset. We're going to go out, be aggressive and give everything we have. We're a better team, and if we do that we're going to win the game.”

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