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Quote Sheet: U.S. Reaction to 2-2 Tie vs. the Netherlands

Head coach Peter Nowak
Opening statement about the game against the Netherlands:
“It was quite a fight tonight. We had to adjust after about 20 minutes, changed our set up and started to play our game. After that we had a couple of good chances, and I told the boys at halftime that they had to believe. With the names on the Dutch team and their big clubs, it doesn’t matter. If we were going to put forth the effort then we could still win the game. You could see in the first half that we could win the game and we scored two great goals. Before the game we talked about how to play our game and how to exploit the spaces that the Dutch team will leave us. I think we had the chance to finish this game and win it, but now we still have some unfinished business. We’re going to Beijing to finish our business on Wednesday.”

On facing Nigeria without Bradley or Adu:
We will have time to think about that over the next couple of days. Freddy and Michael will not play, but as I’ve said from the beginning it’s all about the group. The 18 players we’ve chosen have to be up to the challenge.

On how he feels about tonight’s result:
Before this game no one really gave us a chance, and we competed. Maybe in the first couple of minutes we were a little nervous, but then we settled down. We can look at this game as the glass is half full. Of course we’re disappointed because we came very close. There’s nothing we can do about it now. We have to finish our chances and be alert from the beginning to the end. For those 70-something minutes we did a great job and the Dutch, I think, got a little lucky.

On the upcoming game against Nigeria:
As I said to the boys in the locker room, it’s just how the game goes sometimes. You have to handle it right, and not get your heads down. We have some unfinished business, and we’ll go into Wednesday’s game against Nigeria fully prepared. Any result other than a loss will give us a pass to the quarterfinals. Maybe we should have taken care of this business tonight but before this game I don’t think anyone gave us a chance to play the game like we did tonight against the European Champions. Let’s not forget about that. They’re the European Champions and we came close to beating them tonight. I gave the boys a big compliment in the locker room. They’ll be disappointed tonight but tomorrow it’s back to business.

On the changes he made in the 25th minute:
We knew that it was possible for them to come out with the two wingers and Ryan Babel in the middle. We just needed to set up a little differently. We moved Freddy so he could run between their center back and right back. We moved Robbie Rogers to the left side and kept Sacha [Kljestan], Michael [Bradley] and Stuart [Holden] in the middle. Then we took the pressure off of Michael Orozco with Robbie doing a good job over there and Freddy doing a pretty good job on the other side. We need to be able to adjust and after 25 minutes when we made the switch, I felt like the game went our way.

U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley

On whether he was disappointed in the team’s play in the final 10 minutes:
“I’m not sure how else we should have handled the last 10 minutes. They put four forwards on the field and they had 10 minutes to save their lives. We knew they were going to start throwing balls forward and give everything they had. To be honest, I thought we handled it pretty damn well until we gave up a free kick in a bad spot. When they have good players, they can make you pay for those kinds of things and so they did.”

U.S. Forward Freddy Adu

On how the U.S. played tonight:
“I think we opened up a lot of people’s eyes tonight. We’re here to play, and to go as far as we can. We’re not worried about who we’re playing, we just want to go out there and play our game and know that we’re a handful for anybody. I’m very proud of how this team played tonight.”

On whether he is disappointed with the result:
“It was a bittersweet ending. You’re so happy with the way you played but then that last goal takes a little bit away. We’re going to rebound though and try to get the result on Wednesday.”

U.S. Midfielder Stuart Holden
On how his team played against the Netherlands:
“I think in the first 30 minutes they were the best team, but I felt like we really took control of the game after that. I think we’re a little unfortunate to come out with a draw. Taking nothing away from the Netherlands, they’re a good team but it was just an unfortunate thing at the end for us.”

On the team's current first place standing:
“Coming into the tournament I think we were considered underdogs in this group. I think we’ve really kind of made our mark on this group and the other teams are taking us a little more seriously after our first two performances. I think Nigeria will know that we’re a formidable opponent. We have confidence in our group and I think we can take a lot of positives from tonight that will help us in that next game.”

On whether losing Freddy Adu and Michael Bradley to suspension will hurt the team:
“They’re two important players, but this is a strong team from one to 18 and we know we have guys who can step in, fill those roles and help us get a win from Nigeria. Obviously we would like to have them out there but we can’t worry about that.”

U.S. Midfielder and Sierra Mist Man of the Match Sacha Kljestan
On his goal:
“We had possession for a little while. I think we kept it for a few touches and then I played it to Stuart (Holden) and he played it back, and then I played it to Freddy (Adu) and just made a run. My guy didn’t stay with me and Freddy played a great through ball. I cut inside of the last defender and hit it as hard as I could, luckily, it went in.”

On his emotions after scoring:
“It was a great feeling. It’s always been a dream of mine to do something special in the Olympics. I felt on that goal I accomplished a good play along with the team making a good play all together. I was happy and wanted to celebrate, so I’m glad everyone came and joined in. It was a special moment for me.”

On whether the team's mentality changed after the 25th minute:
“I’m not sure that our mentality changed, but our mentality from the beginning was play hard, don’t give them much and take our chances. I think Coach Nowak recognized their game plan and changed some things around. We also knew we needed to get Freddy more involved. He’s our playmaker. Once we recognized that I think the game definitely changed.”

On how the team played tonight:
“It was so exciting to be a part of that team today. The way we played out there was so amazing and I just felt so good about playing for this team. It’s tough to look at the result, but we’ll keep our heads up.”

On being down a goal at halftime:
“I think in the locker room at halftime we all felt like we had outplayed them in the last part of the first half. I think from then on we came out with the right mentality and played well.”

On the upcoming match against Nigeria:
“Nigeria might not be as technical as the Dutch, but their athleticism and the quality of players that they have is pretty good. We’re definitely looking out for them and I obviously think it’s going to be a tough game for us to win, but we thought that about tonight as well.”

On whether he is disappointed in the result:
“It’s tough. I don’t think I’ve felt this way in a while but this team wont put our heads down, I know that much. I’m more proud than ever to be an American right now and to play on this team. It’s an unbelievable feeling to have played that way tonight. I think it’s the best feeling in the world to play in these Olympics.”

On the team's confidence after scoring the first goal:
“I think after we scored the first goal we picked up our level even higher. Our confidence just continued to grow for the last 60 minutes of the game. I think when we’re confident, that’s when we play our best. Tonight was a good performance from the U.S. team.”

U.S. Forward  Brian McBride
On moving forward:
“The one thing we’ve been doing is improving as we go along. Tonight was a good game for us. We’re of course disappointed that they scored the equalizer, but we just need to make sure we get this out of our head and concentrate on the positives. When we’re together, we’re a good team.”

On whether he’s seen Nigeria play:
“Just in bits and pieces, but they’re good. They’re a team that can beat you in a lot of different ways and have quite a bit of pace. We have to make sure we play smart and that our shape is good, and probably figure some things out on the fly.”

U.S. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan
On the team’s performance:
“We’re confident in our abilities as a team, and I think when we’re all on the same page it shows on the field. If you watch us in the second half of this game, we’re ready to play whoever.”

On the Netherlands’ second goal:
“Going into that situation, knowing it’s basically going to be the last chance of the game, as a goalkeeper you’ve got to trust the wall and unfortunately tonight the wall decided they were going to go up and over and they went under. We jumped and he hit a screamer low and hard, and when that happens there’s not much chance as my main focus is the other side of the goal. Unfortunately, we just picked the wrong option tonight.”

On the team’s mentality:
“Our main focus right now is Nigeria. It’s not going to be easy. We need to make sure we regroup physically, we’ll be fine mentally, and make sure we go and get three points against Nigeria in Beijing.”

U.S. Forward Jozy Altidore
On his goal:
“It happened so fast. It stared with a throw-in from Marvell, and it was pinging around the box and I got it to Orozco. I just put myself in a spot where I thought the ball was going to end up, and luckily for me it actually took a deflection off the defender and came right to me and I just tapped it in.”

On his celebration:
“I was just pumped. It was a fun moment. I went to where I thought my mom was sitting to try and point her out, but I don’t even know if I did. It was a lot of fun.”

On the overall performance of the team:
“I think we’ve been trying to send a message out to the world for a long time. This cycle has done a great job of showing people that we too can play football properly. I think people are learning the hard way, including the Netherlands first hand. We just try to let our actions speak louder than our words.”

On Nigeria:
“Nigeria is a good team. They are very technical players, they play very freely. They can punish you in a lot of different ways. We know what we’re up against. But we feel we can play with everybody, and that’s the feeling we’ve had since day one inside this camp, so we’re going to take the same attitude as we did against the Netherlands.”

U.S. Defender Marvell Wynne
On settling down after the Netherlands goal:
“Maybe that’s all we needed. Instead of trying to figure out what they were doing, we knew we needed to attack them. It seemed our movement worked for us and things fell into place. We started playing really well.”

On Nigeria:
“They will run a lot and be good technically. We’ll do everything we can to get a point or three points and move on to the next round.”

On how Nigeria will play knowing they will be attacking:
“If they want to win, they’re going to have to push numbers forward, so we’ll look for counter-attacks. We’ll need to be calm and try and hold the ball as well. It will be a tough task handling their pressure, but we’ll prepare for it.”

U.S. Defender Michael Parkhurst
On the match:
“We had the game won, but at the same time there’s nothing we can do about it now. We’re still atop of the group and control our own destiny. We know a tie puts us through and a victory guarantees us first place, so overall we’re in a good place. We just need to take care of business on Wednesday.”

On preparing for Nigeria:
“Nigeria is going to be a tough team. They are always strong, especially in these tournaments. We saw them play a little bit today and they are extremely athletic, strong and scored two very good counter-attack goals against Japan. At the same time, we’re a confident group right now. We think we played a really good game today, so if we put together another 90 minutes like the last 70 we played today we’ll be able to get a result and go through.”

U.S. Defender Michael Orozco
On his assist on Jozy Altidore’s goal:
“I was trying to go up and get into the attack. I wanted to get a cross in or a shot on goal. I got the assist, which was good.”

On getting ready for Nigeria:
“Our mentality is to try and get the three points. We’re not thinking about anything else. We just want to get a win and go to the quarterfinals, semifinals and go get a medal.”

U.S. Defender Maurice Edu
On the mentality of the U.S. team:
“We came into the game confident. We know we have a good team. When we look around the locker room, everybody trusts the guy next to him and they’re willing to lay it all out on the line for the next man and play for each other. That defines our team. We all want to work for each other and work hard for the greater good of the team.”

On bouncing back from allowing the late goal:
“You have to take the good out of the game, the positives out of the game. A lot of people picked (the Netherlands) to earn a medal in this tournament, an for us to come out there and dominate them and put together a good performance provides us with confidence going into the next match. Hopefully, we just play off of that.”

On preparing for Nigeria:
“The best way to prepare for every game is to go out there and try and win. We can’t worry about the other scenarios, we just have to go out there and win that game. We control our own destiny at this point.”