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Post-Match Quotes: USA 2, Mexico 4

U.S. head coach BOB BRADLEY
On the match:
“It’s a difficult way for us to end the tournament for sure. As a team we made a lot of progress and we were looking forward to this matchup. It’s a very good game. It’s fast. There’s a lot of very good attacking on both sides. We certainly congratulate Mexico. Give credit to them for some of the soccer they put together and like I said we put a good amount into it and we’re disappointed to let one slip away.”

On each team being tested:
“I think that they have some very good attacking players and I think that we do too. I think sometimes a final becomes a real test of both teams going after each other. That was the way we chose to play this game knowing that it would still require good reactions defensively to deal with those situations. In there, there are some plays where our reactions don’t end up being as good and sometimes there are some plays where at the end you give credit. Dos Santos’ fourth goal is a great piece of skill.”

On the injury to Cherundolo:
“Both teams had to deal with losing some players, some key players, but certainly Stevie’s an important part of our back line. When you play Mexico, because of the way they play, it’s a real challenge to the back four. We felt that our back four had played well this tournament, had some shutouts. Mexico came out and put a lot of pressure on from the start. I think we were figuring out ways to deal with it. Losing Stevie hurts in that moment. We moved Eric Lichaj to the right and Johnny Bornstein comes in, but that not having that experience at that point was a tough one.”

On taking a 2-0 lead:
“The game is going fast at that point and you know that in there they are going to push and your ability to still deal with them, knowing that there is a possibility that if you do it well you could even get a third goal before half. And the 2-1 because a weird one because it’s right in off the throw in. They make the substitution for Salcido, he comes in right off the throw in. Chicharito has come off our back line and then one pass and Barrera is in. That is a tough one because if you feel like you can play a little bit at 2-0, still find a rhythm with the ball as they are coming forward there’s going to be some more chances that would really change the game before the half.”

On Mexico’s attacking play:
“They are a dynamic team as you say. On the attacking side they have a very good mix of attacking talent. They play quickly, the come at you quickly from the flanks so there is a lot to deal with. We respected all that, but again, we felt like we could put them to the test, and I think that happened and on the night they make a few more plays. We give credit to them.”

U.S. midfielder LANDON DONOVAN
On the game:
“We started the game pretty well and then made the most of two chances. We had a little let down and let them back into the game and they got a little bit of a sloppy goal to tie the game and then we didn’t come out well in the second half.”

On Mexico’s performance:
“You have to give Mexico a lot of credit. They are difficult team to play against, and they have a bunch of guys that can make special plays. Tonight I thought Gio was excellent, Barrera was excellent. Actually of all things we did a good job with Chicharito, preventing his chances, but they just had too much for us and they were good.”

On the game:
“Early on we tried to find a balance of having the ball ourselves and playing and finding the right ways to get after and attack them. Obviously it resulted in two good, early goals for us. I thought after that they really had to push things and really put a lot into it to get back into it. Credit to them, they make some good plays to get back to 2-2. When you get into a second half like that, in a final, everything’s on the line. They made a play or two, they got a break or two and we weren’t able to come up with anything. It still in the end tilts the bar in their favor.”

On why the team did not bunker in after going ahead 2-0:
“In any game you try to find a balance in playing, passing and attacking, but also being solid defensively and closing things down. You go up 2-0 relatively early in a game like that and you can’t just say we’re going to sit back and defend our 18 yard box for 70 minutes. You have to find a balance.”

On the team’s mentality after losing the final:
“(The loss) motivates us even more. You walk away on a night like this and nobody has a good feeling in their mouth so it’s part of being a competitor. Nights like this you leave everything you have on the field and at times it doesn’t go your way but it only motivates you more to work harder, to get better, to know what we need to bring on nights like this when things are at the absolute highest level. It’s not a nice feeling, but having said that we’ll be back. I know that.”

U.S. goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On Mexico’s team:
“They’ve got some special players. I thought we’d knocked the stuffing out of them at two-nothing, really hit them where it hurt. Take your hat off to them. They are a good bunch of players.”

On Mexico rallying back from a 2-0 deficit:
“Our game plan worked to a ‘T’. They came out and possessed it and spread us out. We picked and chose our spots when to and when to get them. Our combinations were really good up front. Again, we hit them. It’s beyond me how they rallied back from that.”

On whether it was a surprise that the U.S. pushed for the third goal after going up two:
“No. Sometimes you lie in wait and it kills you. A bend but don’t break defense can break. We felt good about what we were doing, playing from a good shell and then springing and breaking and we did that really well. There was no sense in retreating. That’s what we didn’t want to do. Every team in this tournament has sat back and waited on them, and they just picked them apart. We didn’t want to do that.  Part of going for the third goal was just being aggressive.”

On the loss of Steve Cherundolo to injury:
“Losing Steve hurt because he’s a guy you just know is going to bottle that player up on his side of the field. It ends being virtually two changes because you switch another guy’s position. It was tough. You roll with the punches, but it hurts.”