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Quote Sheet: U.S. U-17 MNT Tie Ivory Coast 1-1


LIMA, Peru (Sept. 23, 2005) - The U-17 MNT tied Ivory Coast 1-1 to wrap up group play at the 2005 U-17 FIFA World Championship.

U.S. Head Coach John Hackworth

On the victory:
“I think Ivory Coast is a very good team. Overall, we didn’t play to the best of our ability. We didn’t execute our game plan, but we had moments where we played good soccer. I’m disappointed that we got a draw because we had them until late in the game and I think we had a letdown on the corner kick. Normally, I think we defend that corner a lot better than we did on that particular occasion.
 
In the big picture, we didn’t have enough of the ball. We didn’t possess it the way we are capable of doing. At the end of the day we finished first in our group in a World Cup, so you can’t really be too down. But we know we can play better and I expect we will in the quarterfinal.”

On the players being tired:
“This is their third game so no question about it. We tried to get some fresh legs in there. We had four guys we put on that should have been fresh and they were, but I really think it was a matter of Ivory Coast playing a good game. They won the midfield battle in my opinion and we could never get our rhythm established. We were forced to defend a lot for long stretches and that tires you out.”

On the first goal:
“That is always a concern when you score early in a match. Instead of playing the game the way it is supposed to be played, you regress a little bit, you defend or you protect that lead. I definitely think that affected us because until that first goal it was only four minutes in, but we were doing what we wanted to do. If we would have scored another one it would have been a totally different game, but it didn’t happen. In the end, we fought well and did what we had to do for the draw and move onto the quarterfinals.”

On the play of Dan Kelly:
“Dan Kelly is as fresh and ripe to international soccer as a kid can get. He’s a player out of Tennessee that just joined our program this summer. I think all things considered, he did a great job. To his credit, to be in this kind of environment, on this international stage, he did a good job. We needed to give Kevin Alston a rest and we knew Dan would be able to play well.”

On losing Amaechi Igwe for the quarterfinals:
“We are going to miss (Igwe). Hopefully, we can get Nik Besagno back and put him in center back, which will allow us to put Blake Wagner out wide.”

U.S. Defender Daniel Kelly

On starting at right back:
“I just tried to keep composed and give them some pressure so they would make mistakes and then wait for Jeremy Hall to come help. They just kept coming down my throat, so I just tried to stay composed.”

“We didn’t really play to the best of our ability. We were missing some guys and could have played better. It was a little disappointing, but we came out with the result so that was good.”

U.S. Defender Amaechi Igwe

On the handball that caused him to get his second yellow:
“The ball was played through in the air and it was like an instinct. I put my hand out and it hit the top of my arm. I didn’t think he’d give me a yellow for that, but obviously he did.”

On if there was a bit of a letdown:
“We wanted to win our group, so it wasn’t hard getting up for the game. They just came out of the second half and played better than us. We weren’t playing our game.”

U.S. Goalkeeper Bryant Rueckner

On their quarterfinal match:
“I’m looking forward to the next game. It’s a great tournament and I just can’t wait to play again. It doesn’t matter who we play, we are just going to do our best to get the win.”
On the final minutes:
“The last minutes were pretty intense and I was able to make a couple saves. They were able to get that goal on the corner kick, but otherwise I think we did well to hold on.”

On how he played:
“I think I definitely played better than I did in the first two games, but we also played well as a team. I put those games behind me. I had talked to the coaches and they told me I was going to be fine and they were right. I just want to play the next game.”

On missing Igwe:
“That is going to be a big miss, but we still have backups that are really good in that position.”

On their goal:
“It was off a corner and we had two players miss it actually and it came to one of the Ivory Coast players in the middle. He just put it away. I didn’t have much of a chance to make a save.”

Gabriel Farfan

On his first start:
“It felt really good. I finally got my first chance and I think I did pretty well. We could have played better as a team, but we got first place in our group and that’s what we wanted.”

On the goal:
“The ball was knocked to me from Preston and I saw Jeremy in the box, so I just tried to get it in there somewhere. He was able to get to it and head it in.”

U.S. Midfielder Jeremy Hall

On the goal:
“It was a set play and Amaechi (Igwe) threw it in. From there, Preston Zimmerman headed it to Gabe (Farfan) and he got it to me. I saw the goalie was cheating and I just chipped him.”

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