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Quote Sheet: Sundhage, Lloyd and Rodriguez Preview Japan Match

Head coach Pia Sundhage
On the Norway match:
“If you look at the bigger picture, if you have to lose a game, this is a game you can lose because we have two more chances playing against Japan and New Zealand to advance. Despite the fact that we gave up two bad goals in the beginning and lost Lori Chalupny, who has been in the starting eleven for many games, I think the team did a great job coming back and creating chances.”

On what the team talked about in the locker room after the game:
“In the locker room afterwards we talked a lot about communication and body language. Today, they are ready to go and can’t wait to play against Japan.”

On the U.S. attack:
“I don’t think we have THE goal scorer, so that means we have to be even more patient to keep possession and emphasize that even more to get numbers forward. I think it’s important for the team to feel that everyone is attacking, of course, that’s hard yesterday when we were giving up early goals, but I think we tried hard and we will try even more against Japan because that’s the way you win against them. It’s not about launching long balls and getting in the box. That’s not the way we will win against Japan. It’s about finding the rhythm. It’s up to the two center-backs and two center midfielders to dictate the tempo. That’s something that we talked about and will talking even more about.”

On if she will make any changes to the lineup:
“We have not decided that yet, but I am person who wants to give a player a second chance. There might be one, maybe two changes, but right now we have not decided. We also have to look into whether Lori Chalupny can play or not. We will have practice tomorrow and then we’ll figure out if we want to make changes in the lineup, but for sure there will not be many. The team did what they could against a good team so I think they deserve another chance.”

On if the team is extra-motivated:
“First of all, I don’t think it’s about motivation. They are very motivated and excited going into this next game. It’s about finding the right feeling and atmosphere on the team so you are not too nervous. This team is ready to go.”

On Japan:
“I watched Japan’s game against New Zealand. They didn’t have a good start and they had a hard time playing under pressure, but they came back well in the second half. When they have a lot of time and space, they knock it around pretty nicely in the attacking third. They don’t hit too many crosses, but they are tricky, technical players who play one-two touch and try to find that shooting chance. Over the 90 minutes, they played poorly, and also very good, so in our match, a lot depends on how we play and how we start the game.”

U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd
On the keys to the game against Japan:
“We need to be patient and keep possession. We need to build off the good things we did against Norway and establish our will right away. Being more patient in the attack will help us play those dangerous final passes and hopefully create some good chances to finish. We have confidence in each other on the field and need to play together in all parts of the field.”

On the importance of the match:
“It’s obviously a very important game for us. We all need to come out mentally strong and focused because we have to win. We feel every game in an Olympic is a must win, but this one more than ever.”

U.S. forward Amy Rodriguez
On the Japan game:
“This is a really important game for us and obviously we need to start with more focus. I think we need be more dangerous in the attacking third in this next game, really push numbers forward, get into the box and challenge their goalkeeper to make some saves or make plays on crosses.”

On what she wants to add to the U.S. team:
“If Pia does choose to play me at any point in the game, I am going to try to be as dangerous as possible and try to put the defense on their heels. Getting into the match at halftime against Norway, I felt we could have scored a few goals and we had some good chances. We need to bring that feeling to the next game and be a bit sharper in our shooting.”