US SoccerUS Soccer

Post-Match Quote Sheet: U-17 WNT 3, PAR 1

U.S. U-17 WNT Quote Sheet

U.S. head coach Kazbek Tambi

On the match:
“We had a good game plan and we know we wanted to score goals today as well as get the result. Unfortunately, it took us a while to put away chances. We had several chances early on and I think if we stuck one or two of those away, it would have made for an easier game. But once we got our first goal, we just kept pushing and pushing and I was really pleased with the kids. They didn’t get discouraged and kept going after it and got three goals eventually.”

On making eight changes to the lineup that faced Japan in the first game:
“We respect Paraguay. They are a strong crew, but our strategy was to get fresh legs on the field. We figured if we had fresh legs that would help us in terms of creating early chances and keeping the pressure on Paraguay. In essence, the game plan was working, as in the first 10-15 minutes we had three or four chances and if we stick them in the net, then maybe it’s a done story, but unfortunately we didn’t.”

On the France match to earn a place in the quarterfinals:
“France is a talented side and it’s going to be a great game. It’s going to be a terrific competition and a great test for our kids. They are relishing the opportunity to play in a game like that.”

On coming back from a goal down to get the win:
“It was a group effort. You had a lot of kids who were a little frustrated because we hadn’t put the chances away, but as a group, we talked to them at halftime and told them we had to keep plugging away and that we would get the chances, we just had to put them away.”

On scoring three goals in the second half to earn the comeback win:
“It’s a tremendous confidence boost for our kids, knowing that we started slow in terms of not putting away our chances and on top of that we gave up a goal against the run of play. Our kids demonstrated great character in terms of getting together, refocusing at halftime, stepping up and having the kind of second half that we had. We are very pleased with the result. It would have been great if we had gotten more goals, but at the end of the day there were numerous chances that didn’t go in both halves. That’s the nature of our game and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about our players.”

On if the U.S. has played its best so far and the overall lessons from the tournament:
“It’s hard to say. At this point, what is the best? This tournament to some degree will be the dictator in the short run of who is the best. It’s the first time anyone has competed for a U-17 world championship. I have no idea where we are as compared to the rest of the pack. You just take it game-by-game and I think at the end of the tournament everyone will have a better idea of the standard and what the height of the U-17 age bracket looks like. It will also be a tremendous tool for us in terms of assessing our game in our country and basically learning the lessons of a World Cup. We will take back home the insights that we gain here so we know what to work on with our own kids. This is all an experiment, as it is for every coach here, so we are all learning on the job, both players and coaches. After this experience is over, we’re going to be able to sit back and really see where the game of soccer is going in the world in this age group.”

U.S. midfielder Kristie Mewis

On going down a goal and having to come back:
“It was a bit of a scare, but I knew we’d pick it up at the end because we always do. I did feel the pressure, as it’s hard to come back from a goal, because you first have to get one to tie. It was tough, but I’ve know this team for a while and I knew we could do it.”

On being one of the three players to start the Japan and Paraguay matches:
“We didn’t have starting lineup on, but everyone on our team is really solid so I knew we would come together and make it work.”

U.S. forward Vicki DiMartino

On her goal:
“There was a ball that got hit on top of the 18. There were two Paraguayans and Olivia (Klei) and she got a little flick on it. During training we’ve been working on breakaways and for the first time ever, I felt calm in front of the goal and I was able to put it right past the goalkeeper.”

On coming on at halftime with her strike partner Courtney Verloo and both scoring:
“It felt good. We’re always charging for the goal and trying to create chances. We knew we had to get the job done right when we got on the field. I had confidence in Courtney and I am sure she felt the same way about me and we were able to get it done.”

U.S. forward Courtney Verloo

On her goal:
“It was kind of a blur, but I remember turning across the top of the box and seeing the ‘keeper shift right a little so I hit into the left corner.”

On coming on at halftime with her strike partner Vicki DiMartino and both scoring:
“We were obviously under a lot of pressure with the score at the time, but we talked about it before we went in and told each other to work hard together and for the team and knew we could pull through.”