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Post-Match Quotes: U-17 MNT 3, El Salvador 0

The U.S. Under-17 MNT opened qualifying for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship with a 3-0 win over El Salvador. The following are quotes from head coach John Hackworth and select players.

U.S. Under-17 Head Coach John Hackworth
On brining on Carlos Borja in the second half:
“Carlos was huge for us. He came in and settled thing down for us. He did what we do everyday which is just move the ball, play simple soccer, keep it, change the point of attack and that’s what we needed right there because we were in a bit of a panic mode. We’re deep and we have good players and that’s why we went to Carlos right away. He came in and did a fantastic job.”

On El Salvador’s attack early in the second half:
“We were up 2-0 and it seemed like we were just fighting and fighting to try and survive and get the ball out (of our defensive end). And really what we needed to do was put our foot on it and get a little control of the game.”

On the three U.S. goals:
“We thought we’d be able to get the ball wide and made good runs in the box against them and we did. All three goals were something we worked on every single day in practice. I would have liked to finish a couple other crosses that we knocked in and had open looks, but the ball bounced past our feet. Unfortunately, we didn’t put those away, but all three goals were what we’ve worked on. The last goal was the best soccer I think we played all night. We had good possession, one-touch passing, good runs in the box and a good tuck-away.”

On the players dealing with the pressure of the first game:
“These kids for the last year-and-a-half have waited for this day and that’s an awful lot of pressure. Dealing with it is tough and I think they felt a lot of that pressure, which is why I don’t think all they guys relaxed and did what they normally do every day. We’ll adjust though.”

Defender Ofori Sarkodie
On getting an early goal:
“I think early goals always boost us up. We think we can control the game and we want to get one right away, have high pressure as soon as we can. I think that did a lot for us.”

On the team’s confidence:
“Our team confidence is looking pretty high right now going into this next game. We’re looking to stay sharp, come out early and do the same thing we did today hopefully.”

Midfielder Carlos Borja
On coming in and helping settle the game down:
“I just tried to play it simple, which is what I do. It wasn’t anything different for me.”

On winning the first match of qualifying:
“I think the win is very good for us. It showed how much we want this, but we still have two games left.”

Forward Preston Zimmerman
On the three goals:
“We’ve been working a lot with our front four of me, Jeremy (Hall), David (Avizu) and Ryan (Soroka). We do a lot of pattern plays on goal the past week, getting a lot of repetitions. So when the game comes it is basically the same thing we’ve been working on and we all make our same runs and try to get on the end of stuff.”

On his assist on the first goal:
“I thought he was going to hold it up and turn, but headed it to me and all I could do was flip it to Ryan (Soroka) with a guy on my back. He scored a great goal.”

On finally scoring after a number of chances:
“I had a lot of chances, but it was one of those days. I kept telling myself I was going to score and when I saw the cross come in it was actually one of the first times it wasn’t a header. I was able to get a foot to it and put it home.”

Goalkeeper Bryant Rueckner
“In the first half we were just trying to get as organized as possible and then from there we got it into the midfield and then to the forwards. (El Salvador) played pretty direct and we did well to shut them down.”