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Post-Match Quotes: USA 2, Norway 1

U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach PIA SUNDHAGE

On the match:
“It was a very important game for us. In 2008 we had a bunch of games where we scored late and refused to lose and we saw the same thing today. If you look at the last 10 minutes, there is something to be said about the way we played and all of us going out there and really wanting to get that goal.

“It was a good battle. All of sudden the coach changed four players (in the 61st minute), and then a fifth, and it’s hard to deal with. But even though they scored a goal, we came back and that’s huge. Tactically, the way we did it, having A-Rod in there, but also mentally, the attitude that we had to go for a goal.”

On playing on a muddy field:
“It is what it is. You have to adjust your game and I think we did quite well. That’s one of the reasons we put Cat Whitehill on at center back, to play that big ball a little more and stretch them out. She did great. We could attack in a different way because of her long balls.”

On the combination of Abby Wambach and Lauren Cheney up top:
“Usually you have one running and one target, but we have two targets now. Abby is phenomenal in the air and Cheney is good receiving the ball. That combination has turned out to be a good idea and one of the reasons is Cheney reads the game very well. That means we have A-Rod coming off the bench to provide some speed, which was important as she played the last minutes.”

On Abby Wambach’s match:
“It’s fun to score a goal, but not only did she score, it was the way she did it. She did it with power, she made the right decisions. Her whole game is exactly what we need from her. She was good today and she means a lot for the team.”

On dealing with adverse conditions:
“We just have to deal with the pitch. If it’s hard to play through midfield, I believe it’s still important to try to find Boxx and Carli and play it wide. If you look at (flank midfielder) Heather O’Reilly the first 20 minutes, I think she did very well. We found her with good balls and had a couple of crosses. Even if the pitch is not the best, I think we need to continue to play our game and believe in what we do even though it’s even harder because of the field. But we will gain some confidence from being successful. The game today will be good to take out some (video) clips and say, look you can do it regardless of the field.”


On the match:
“The surface was pretty interesting, it doesn’t really play into either one of our hands, but I think we did well with it today. I thought the subs that came on did very well for us. I thought Cat really settled us down in the back and gave us a lot of great balls in behind their defense. On a field like this, you really just want to get it as high as possible as soon as possible. Playing on the ground is hit or miss, but obviously at the end to tuck one in is great for our team.”

On the getting the dramatic win:
“Norway is a great team, a team that the USA always plays their best against, so to get a win against them is something that we’ll take and put in our back pocket.”

On notching her first two-goal game since June 19, 2008, before she broke her leg:
“It’s just one of those things, getting back in the rhythm, especially after a short off-season. Trying to be playing at the national team level is something I didn’t get much opportunity to do last year when I was recovering from my leg break. Even though the WPS offers really, really great competition, it’s still not national team level and getting more experience on the field with the U.S. National Team is something that I definitely don’t take for granted any longer. Anytime I can get the chance to keep improving and get back to that old 100 percent Abby Wambach is something that I relish. Today, granted, I scored two goals, but I am still working my way back to the rhythm of the play. Our team is trying some new things and getting new personnel on the field to try new things so going into 2011 we can be a team to beat.”


On the match:
“I think we played awesome considering the circumstances, we just played with heart. That last 10 minutes we didn’t give up. It was a feeling. I felt like we were going to score, I never felt like we were going to tie or lose that game. Obviously the conditions were not ideal, but that’s just something you have to deal with in soccer.”


On the match:
“In the first half (when she was on the bench), I was noticing the field a lot and it was preventing us from playing the game that we really wanted, which is short, quick passes and one and two-touch soccer. We had to kind of play out wide and longer and spread the field out because the best footing was out wide. Norway is a great team, they’ve always been a great team and been one of our biggest nemesis. When they bring in their top four players when our team has been playing the whole game and they are already tired, that’s a little bit intimidating. Unfortunately, we allowed a goal, but it was neat to see the team come together and rally and score in the 92nd minute.”

On her long ball that led to the winning goal:
“There were a lot of big gaps when it came to their defense today and I noticed that Cheney and Abby were finding them really well. I was like, you know what, we don’t have much time left, let’s try and aim for that gap and I know that Cheney can out-run these girls. I thought she was going to score, but at least it got the ball down there and that’s what led to the goal.”