US SoccerUS Soccer
Carlos Bocanegra

Post-Match Quotes: U.S. MNT 0, Costa Rica 1

U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
On the game:
“I never like to lose a game, but it was a very good performance. I was pleased with the way the players tried to implement all the work that we did on the training field throughout the week. The players are starting to learn what it means to play your way through and keep a high tempo and a high pace. We knew Costa Rica was hoping to break on counters. They had one good chance just before halftime, and then they had the chance where they scored that goal. “That’s the way they play their game and we have to respect and say congratulations to them. “We have to congratulate Costa Rica. We tried everything to get back into the game and score our goal and unfortunately we weren’t able to. I told the guys in the locker room that from performance point of view it was very, very positive. “

On the player’s fitness and tempo of the game:
“I want them to go through those kind of down periods in a game. We saw here and there players getting tired, where they had couple of minutes where they were really struggling, but they need to learn to go through those minutes and fight their way through. You saw that they got a second and third breath in periods during the game and did excellent with the way they combined and the way they looked for each other and the way they kind of passed their way out of difficult and tight spaces. There was confidence there, there was technical ability there, yet it’s difficult once a team like Costa Rica or any team in general goes one goal up. They put nine men in the box and make it very difficult. But from how we trained and implemented all that stuff, it was very good.”

On physicality of the game:
“The next step they need to get to at that point is to be even more determined. There needs to be another piece of determination, another piece of being greedy for that goal. A bit more nastiness is part of it too, but Costa Rica did very well and on all of their one against one’s they were very nasty. There were a lot of fouls. They tried to interrupt our rhythm. The physical part of it is where we need to step up more and be more hungry at that moment and finish off one of our chances.”

On whether this was a good introduction to what World Cup qualifying will be like in Central America:
“We know about that, and we know what to expect once we go down to the qualifiers in Central America and play those countries. It’s a very hot tempered environment. It will be very physical. There will be some very emotional situations there and it’s part of the game. We will be prepared for that and we will be prepared in a way to stay calm and cool and just continue to play our rhythm and our game. If you keep that tempo up you will eventually create some chances.”

On what he will take from this game and use for the game against Belgium:
“Every game you learn a lot things. The players come away from this game with a lot of good information. Every situation they saw out there was different and it was a challenge for them. For example, Saborio as a center forward is a handful, and I think Michael Orozco learned a lot today. Belgium will be another good experience for them. We want to try to develop that style of play that we are confident on the ball and that we try to pass our way through difficult situations and tight spaces. It will take time. “

“I felt really good about my performance tonight and the team’s performance. Unfortunately, if I’m honest I have to take a fair share of the blame for missing a chance early and we fell asleep on a play that made the difference in the game. Overall, it’s hard to be upset with how we played. We just have to be a little bit better in front of both goals. “

On how the time has been spent with Klinsmann so far:
“We’ve spent a lot of time training. We’ve spent a lot of time on the field trying to understand what he wants us to do, and I think for at least 35 minutes tonight we executed that perfectly. In the second half we were still pretty good, and as time goes on we’ll get better.”

U.S. Defender and Captain CARLOS BOCANEGRA
On facing Belgium in their next match on Tuesday:
“They’ve got some good individual players. It’s going to be a tough game and another challenge for us. They are a quality team in Europe and it’s good for some of our younger guys to get that opportunity. It will be a good test for us.”

U.S. Midfielder JOSE TORRES
On if it was frustrating the team was unable to score a goal despite playing well in the first half:
“That happens in soccer sometimes. You get chances in front of the goal and they don’t go in. Overall though, we had a lot of possession, attacked a lot from the wings and we played well.”

On what Jurgen Klinsmann told him before the game:
“He’s given me the opportunity to play free. He tells me to get on the ball and attack a lot more. That gives me a lot of confidence. When a coach tells you to get on the ball and try to help spray balls left and right, that gives you a lot of confidence. It’s not just me, it’s from Tim [Howard] all the way to Jozy [Altidore]. Everything is going well.”

On how he and the team handled the large number of fouls by Costa Rica:
“They get frustrated because you have the ball and we’re having most of the attack on their goal. They try to slow the game down by fouling, but I think we did a great job handling it.”

U.S. Midfielder MAURICE EDU
On playing in his role tonight on the field:
“I feel pretty good in that role. I think that comes down to the guys I have in front of me. Jose [Torres] and Landon [Donovan] did well to get on the ball and create, and that made my job a lot easier. It takes some of the pressure off me. They wanted me to break-up plays and get on the ball to start the attack.”

On if it’s frustrating not to finish despite playing well:
“It can be hard at times, and that can be part of the challenge. You have to stay mentally strong and just keep believing in the system and believing in the way you’re playing. Today was just one of those days where it just wasn’t meant to be I guess, and they capitalized on one of the few chances they did have. That’s soccer sometimes. Obviously, we’re disappointed with the result, but I think we can be somewhat proud of our performance, especially in the first half.”