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Post-Match Quotes: U.S. WNT 2, Denmark 1

U.S. Women’s National Team Quote Sheet

U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage

On the match and getting four quality games at the Algarve Cup:
“It’s so important for us to play games. We played different players. (Today) we stayed with the 4-4-2 formation, but still played different ways both defending and attacking, giving a lot of players many minutes, which was very important for us and I am very happy with the performance.”

On the USA’s defending against Denmark’s three forwards and the wind in the first half:
“You have the wind (as a factor in the game) and they were pushing forward with three forwards up top, but I am so happy about they way (the U.S.) defended as a back four. They did a great job with Christie Rampone as the conductor. She is a great leader. Even though sometimes they got behind, we believe in what we are doing and the fact that we are fast, we can deal with that situation. So the first 45 minutes was important for our ways to improve defending.”

On the second half:
“You go into the locker room and its 1-1 and you’ve given up a goal, but it’s important to emphasize the good parts of it. We knew that the second half would change a little bit. We emphasized transition from defense to attack, (asking) the two center mids, Leslie (Osborne) and Ang (Hucles), to demand the ball, even though it’s tight sometimes. But we need to get the ball to the midfield and distribute from there, and I think Angela Hucles had a pretty good second half. If whatever you say at halftime, you see in the second half, that is huge.”

On the play of 19-year-old Tobin Heath:
“She looking for that one-v-one and does some different things. She could have had three goals today. She is comfortable with the ball and the way she solves the situations, I like that, because she is unpredictable.”

U.S. forward Abby Wambach:

On scoring the winning goal:
“I had a great meeting last night with Pia, and essentially, I have to take the responsibility for winning games for my team. When it comes down to final games, the big players are the ones that make the big plays so that their team can win games. Today, I think everyone put in a great team performance. I don’t think any one player played exceptionally well, but I do think our team as a whole played well together, we preserved the win and came out on top.”

On the tournament:
“Every game we are getting better. As the tournament went on, the teams got better. So if our performance continued to go higher and higher with the better teams we played, I think that that’s a good sign for the future and for what’s to come.”

On what winning the Algarve Cup does for the team heading into Olympic qualification:
“I can’t say enough about how much I respect Denmark and this tournament…We won it last year, and for me, this tournament is great. You go away feeling good about yourself, you gain confidence, you gain experience for the younger players, but ultimately, qualification is on our minds. That’s our most important thing right now is getting to Beijing and the only way we can do that is by getting to the final game of qualification.”

U.S. defender Lori Chalupny

On the tournament:
“We faced a lot of challenges these couple of games, but everyone brought something different to each game. It was just a great team victory all around. Everybody contributed, we got goals from lots of different players and we had fun out there.”

On containing a skillful Danish attack:
“They played with three pretty high attacking players and wide on the weak side. So it was tough, when they were getting switches in the midfield, to cover that wide player. They are very good one-v-one and getting crosses, so definitely we had to be really sharp and battle for 90 minutes.”

On if the team is ready for Olympic qualifying:
“We’ve been building every game. I think we’re getting better each game. Everyone is feeling their positions now, kind of feeling where they fit in. I’m excited to see what’s happening.”

On getting used to a new tactical system of play under Pia Sundhage:
“Starting a new system, the more games we play, the more comfortable we get. We’re facing different challenges and learning how to figure them out as the game goes on, so each game that we play we just get a little more confident.”

U.S. captain Christie Rampone

On the tournament:
“Great tournament for us, especially going into qualifying. We got better each and every game…We are playing with a ton of confidence and you can see it out there. We are pinging balls together, we are reading the game better, our defensive line is staying high. I think we are just trusting each other out there. The communications is just really good, better than it’s ever been.”

On playing against Denmark’s three-woman front line:
“It was a great challenge, and definitely going into qualifying, that’s what we need. Especially in this tournament, trying to hold our line higher, it’s great because we have three athletic players coming at us and you can’t get better than that. We need those tests each and every day.”

On the younger players who got a lot of playing time at the Algarve Cup:
“The younger players are doing great…they are playing free and with confidence and you can see it coming together. You have a lot of older players and younger players and now we are just starting to get on the same page. I’m seeing their style, what they like to do, and their strengths and weaknesses. We are working together and using each other to make us better.”