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Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. WNT 1, Iceland 0

U.S. Head Coach Pia Sundhage
On if she was pleased with the match:
“Yes and no. It’s great to be a winner, 1-0, on a fantastic goal by Natasha Kai coming off the bench, but the first half was crap, if I may say so.”

On the match:
“We tried to get numbers around the ball in the middle, but when that didn’t work we wanted to stretch them out a little bit because Iceland plays with such a big heart, and they gave us a hard time in the middle. We struggled with completed passes to get possession, but with the subs, [Heather O’Reilly] on the right and Tarpley on the left, we stretched it out even more. I thought it became a little bit better and the wind might have been a factor in the first 45 minutes. Overall, the best part of this game was a great goal by Natasha Kai.”

On the second half:
“We made some changes, two things. Megan Rapinoe moved central sitting underneath [the other forward] and she stepped up big time compared to her first 45 minutes. The other thing we tried with 10 minutes left, we brought in Rachel Buehler and Shannon Boxx [moved into the midfield]. I think that was a move where you gain some confidence, and you try to push it to get that goal. I felt that it was tactically an interesting game especially in the last 30 minutes.”

On the match:
“When we play against that compact defending, we need to stretch it a little bit more and get to the end line and we didn’t do that. We made some not so good decisions. But that’s all good because we need to learn from every single game, and this is a game where we will talk about how we can improve.”

On Kai’s goal:
“When she turned I felt that it was a goal, and then I heard it. It was brilliant.”

U.S. Forward Natasha Kai
On her goal:
“We talked last night in the meeting about making early runs. I saw [Christie Rampone] with the little head nod and gave me the sign to make that little outside bending run and it worked. She played a great ball behind the back four. I brought it down with my chest, flicked it over the defender and volleyed it with my left foot in the corner. 1-0 we win!”

On the match:
“In soccer, you are not going to score a lot of goals. The weather was a factor, but being professionals, we have to take everything we get. We are all fighters. We fought to the end and came out victorious with one goal and that’s all it takes to win.”

U.S. Midfielder/Forward Megan Rapinoe
On the match:
“It was a hard-fought game. They brought the fight the whole time. The wind was awful. The ball was getting caught up the whole time, but those are things you had to deal with, and we got the win.”

On Kai’s goal:
“Sick. So sick. Right? She brought it down, a little touch over the girl and a sick volley. That was great for her confidence to get a goal like that. It was amazing.”

On moving from left midfield to the withdrawn forward role at the start of the second half:
“She put me up top, kind of holding, and I was able to find the space. I think they were kind of stretched out a little bit more in the second half so space sort of opened up in the middle, and I was playing off Carli and Ang, and it kind of opened up a little bit for the outside middies.”

On how hard it is to play against a bunkering team:
“Very hard. You have to be so patient, especially this team, we love to attack, kind of maybe impatiently sometimes. You just have to be patient and let the play develop. You can’t really force anything.”

U.S. Captain Christie Rampone
On the match:
“It was a very frustrating match. The wind, the field, and not being able to control the ball and get into our rhythm were pretty frustrating. At the end of the day, we kept fighting and fighting and got that last minute goal so it’s something to take away, but we definitely have to do better next game.”

On getting the last minute goal:
“It’s just a good mentality with the USA team. We persevere. Things weren’t going right but we were still trying to bring the ball down and work on things. Some touches were off and some passes were too far with the wind, but we never gave up and that shows character which is what this team is all about.”