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Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. Tops Mexico to Win Gold Cup

Post-Game Quote Sheet
USA 2, Mexico 1
2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship Game

U.S. Head Coach

On the result:
“This is the kind of effort on the inside of our team that we keep talking about. A result that didn’t come easy. A result where we had to come from behind. A result that comes from the effort of our entire group. We are proud of defending the Gold Cup championship and keeping the trophy in the United States.”

On winning with some new faces in the lineup from 2005:
“Every big game is a test and throughout each camp we talk about what it takes to become a really good team: how to become stronger, how to trust each other. It was the work of a lot of the players that won the Gold Cup two years ago. Again, there are some carryovers, those are players that we have asked a lot more of, and we are very excited about the fact that we can continue to get stronger as a group and win this. It means a great deal to all of us.”

On Benny Feilhaber
“Throughout the year we’ve been able to get younger guys on the field in important games. Benny has played well throughout the year. There’s always tough decisions as a coach. We tried to make sure that everyone understands going forward we need everybody to be part of something. If you understand that, when certain games come, everybody is ready to do their job. Benny obviously added a lot today. One of the things that he always does well is that he is comfortable on the ball in the midst of all the pressure that was in the midfield today he was still confident that he could make plays, which was a plus in a game like this.”

On Jonathan Spector and Frankie Simek at right back:
“Jonathan Spector as a right back is a player who is not phased by big games. I have watched him at times for West Ham and it doesn’t matter if he is up against Cristiano Ronaldo or whoever, Jonathan has this way to survive on the field. With Frankie (Hejduk) being out, we felt like he could give us that effort. And with that I’d have to mention Frankie Simek, because being thrown in at that point in the game is always difficult to deal with a player like Guardado who is very good. Again I think it is a testament to the fact that these young guys have learned throughout the year, they come from environments where I think they are pushed week in and week out and that is important to us.”

On Ricardo Clark:
“Pablo has given us a great tournament, but I think we could see in the first half that he did not have his legs today. It’s a game where at that point we are behind and have to take chances, and Ricardo’s a player that in the midst of all that has great instincts, athletically he’s a gifted guy. He was able to add energy to the midfield and work with Benny and we needed that, because honestly in the first half today we didn’t have enough energy in the midfield. That is something we have done well this tournament and I don’t think we came out with the same kind of effort there. At times, they put us on our heels.”

On Landon Donovan switching positions to midfield:
“Halfway through the first half I felt that with the pressure in the midfield at times we needed to be more direct, and that’s not something that’s going to work with Landon up front. When he was coming underneath and Pardo was picking him up and doing a very good job. In those moments you are trying to figure out how to push him to find a little more space and I thought that we were effective at that point we were with Brian and Clint and later with Taylor that when balls went forward both DaMarcus and Landon could be on the move and find a little bit of space. That was a product of the game.”

On the missed chances and scramble to hold on to the victory:
“Finishing games has not been our strong suit in the Gold Cup. At this point we can laugh about it, but nonetheless it’s something becomes important because you know in big games when it’s one goal that the other team will throw everything they have at the end. In the moments when you get chances to build on that lead you have to take advantage of it. For today we can laugh about it, but it is something that has to improve.”

On Landon Donovan:
“Landon is such and important player for us. He is one of our most talented players. He has great experience and we have challenged him throughout the year to understand what it means to take a bigger role, how you have to carry yourself, how you have to speak to the press, how you have to talk to your teammates all the time. The opportunity to play a huge role with the national team is something that very few players ever experience. As much as he’s played with the national team for many years, to be one of the players that has that responsibility is a new challenge for him. I think the fact that we won this tournament that he has given us a great effort in whatever role we have given him is an indication that all of those challenges are taking him in the right direction.”

U.S. Goalkeeper
On his save in the closing minutes:
"I'm still in shock you know. It's just one of those things where you practice all the time, and sometimes it comes off for you. I saw the ball break through and I tried my best and today it was good enough. It's one I'll remember forever. Sometimes the team needs you to come up with a big save, and you know you can make a difference. I was elated."

On the team’s first half compared to the second half:
“We felt like they were on top of us a lot, but they only scored the one goal, and thankfully it came late in the first half so we could regroup. We knew we only needed a goal to get ourselves back in it, so we were really calm and composed and we came out and did the job.”

“We’ve been talking for about a month about how we need to become a band of brothers, and today we talked about not getting divided. So when that goal went in, we thought ‘if a goal is going to divide us, we’re cooked’ so we talked about sticking together, showed a lot of character and a lot of heart. A lot of that has to go to Bob Bradley for the way he prepares us.”

U.S. Midfielder
On his game-winning goal:
“The first thing I was thinking of when the ball was coming in the air was that I’d had a couple of shots in the El Salvador game that were the same as that one. I was just looking to get good contact on the ball and send it toward the goal. I knew as soon as I hit it that it was going in. It felt great.”

On the team’s first half compared to the second half:
“For me it took me awhile in the first half to get going. I was making some bad passes, but you get used to it a little bit and get used to the tempo. In the second half obviously we got a wake-up call at halftime and we got the motivation going again. We knew if we got one goal we’d have the motivation on our side. We came out hard and got that goal and the second goal just came.”

U.S. Defender
On the result:
"I think we showed a lot of heart today. We stuck together as a team. We were down 1-0 at halftime but we didn't feel like we were out of the game. Ching did good to earn the penalty and we were right back in it and unbelievable goal from Benny. That was a a special goal for a special game. It was a great atmosphere. You need people to make big plays in games like this and that was a great one."

On winning the championship:
“It’s nice to win the Gold Cup, but it’s a little bit sweeter to beat Mexico to do it. And we came from behind. It was nice knowing that we drained their spirits and everybody was pumped up in the locker room.”

U.S. Midfielder/Forward
On the result:
“Awesome. It's weird because you get in the game and you almost forget it's a final because it's just Mexico again. We realized at halftime this was the last 45 minutes to get it done. It’s not like you are in qualifying and you have more games. It was now or never. I think we did the right things and made the right plays to win the game.”

On Benny Feilhaber’s goal:
“I was wide, a little bit right, and as it came I was like ‘don’t shoot it. Oh. That worked.’ Like we said (in the locker room) if you don’t try it you don’t score it. Maybe it’s one in 1,000 that you score that goal, but he tried so give him credit.”

On the second half:
“I think they wore out, to be honest. They haven’t been in that situation much against us, so I don’t think they understood enough how to just kill the game and win the game. It opened up a little bit and Chingy made a great play to get the penalty. That turned out to be, really, the difference. He's in there to do that. He's tough to play against. He turned the guy well – he turned another guy again and should have scored – he used his body well, and the guy had no choice but to foul him.” (Note: The defender on both plays was Jonny Magallon)

U.S. Forward
On Mexico scoring the first goal:
“I think it was a wake up call to us. I don’t think we started the game the way we wanted to and there were definitely some nerves out there, but I think we settled down and once we did I think we took it to them a little bit.”

On the penalty call:
“The guy stuck out his leg and tripped me. I think I would have gotten to the ball and had a shot if he didn’t. I wouldn’t have had an open net, but I would have been one-on-one and had a decent shot at goal. It was a PK.”

U.S. Defender
On the result:
“It was definitely a very emotional match, especially because we went down in the first half. Winning any tournament is special, but I think it’s a little bit special playing in our Confederation’s Cup and we play Mexico in the final. It’s a great win for us, and a great step forward in the direction we want to go to as a team.”

On the U.S. vs. Mexico Rivalry:
“I wouldn’t say dominance. Soccer is a very unpredictable sport. I think Mexico could have as easily won the game today. Tim Howard came up with a big save at the end of the game that could have pushed the game to overtime. They had a couple of shots with headers in the box, but it didn’t go their way. I think we missed some chances ourselves, that’s the way the game goes. You just have to roll with the punches.”