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Carlos Bocanegra

Post-Match Quotes: USA vs. Slovenia


U.S. head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
“It was an entertaining game. We knew going into the locker room up 3-1 at halftime that it wasn’t finished. They proved that and caused us big problems. The team stood against it and tried to keep going forward and create more opportunities. We saw again a lot of interesting things from our players that we wanted to see. As a group we are growing. There was a special atmosphere today because it was our captain’s 100th game. It’s a very, very special moment, and the team wanted to do well for him. He had an excellent game and is a real leader in the back four. Obviously we are pleased with the result, but also the performance.”

On the decision to start Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson and Edson Buddle:
“It’s really what we observe on a daily basis. We try to understand better and better every individual player that we have, and their qualities and strengths. We want to build a team over time based on their strengths. We know that Michael has tremendous qualities in terms of his commitment; he covers so much ground, stays calm and is very experienced. Fabian Johnson is now coming through the ranks and his big potential in terms of how he sees the game. He reads the game well, sees gaps and can play killer balls. For the last couple months we have been working on our strikers to get them fitter and fitter. At this point we see Edson at his best again. He’s healthy, sharp and hungry. It’s the same with Jozy. Now it’s easier to say we can go 90 minutes with both. Before we didn’t have that option. We had to sub one with the other. We thought about that before playing France, that this could be an option to play two strikers, and it worked out well.”

On whether the defensive lapses tonight cause him concern about the organization in the back:
“The concerns that you have when you are in a phase like we are now is how to build the concentration level throughout the whole 90 minutes. We are doing well in certain periods, really shifting well and being compact and not allowing many opportunities, even against France. When the tempo is that high and a team like Slovenia has very, very good individual players that can always create something out of nothing, you always have to be very alert. This is something that we have to improve. You can’t switch off for one second, like we did on the free kick in the first half. Timmy Chandler just wasn’t there. This building process also comes with a higher rhythm of training, with fitness, and with many other things.

U.S. midfielder and Budweiser Man of the Match CLINT DEMPSEY
On the victory:
“It’s great for us. We’re in a rebuilding stage, and we’re trying to figure out what our best XI is going to be for World Cup qualifying. It’s good to get a win, especially on European soil. I think it’s been three years since we’ve done that. So we’re excited about the win.”

On the goal:
“It was a great ball in from Michael. I tried to get away from my man and make sure that I put it on frame because I had a chance earlier in the game where I put it a little bit wide. I put it on frame and it went into the back of the net, so I was excited.”

On moving into a tie for fourth place in scoring along with Joe-Max Moore:
“It’s great to be alongside that type of company and be moving up the charts in the sense of goals, especially the majority of my career playing in the midfield. Anytime you can score goals and help your team win you always feel good about that. To find yourself when your career is done towards the top is a great feeling.”

On getting the win for Carlos Bocanegra:
“It’s awesome. It’s great for him. It’s a great achievement to play in 100 games for his country. Not a lot of people can say that. It was great on the night he got his 100th cap to get a win. All the boys are happy for him. He’s served us well as the captain for the last five years, and hopefully that will continue.”

On playing in the fog:
“That’s the first time that I have ever played in a game with that much fog. It was almost like it would get better and then get worse. You couldn’t really see from one end of the pitch to the other. Both teams had to play with the conditions, and we made the most of it.”

U.S. defender STEVE CHERUNDOLO
“This was the result we were looking for last summer at the World Cup. Tonight it was really important for us to come away with a win. It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but that wasn’t the objective tonight. The objective was to win a game on European soil and we did that. I think we can be proud of it.

On playing in the fog:
“All of us have played in that, and it does make it difficult. It makes it difficult judging the ball from one side to the other, and long balls are difficult to keep track of. It’s the same for both teams, so there’s really no excuses. I think we dealt with it fine.

On his friend and “roommate for life” Carlos Bocanegra getting his 100th cap:
“Roomies for life for sure. I’m really proud of Carlos. It’s quite an accomplishment. I really can’t say enough about the guy. He’s a great captain and a great friend. It’s really special sharing moments like this with not only teammates but such good friends. That’s what makes this team really special.”

U.S. forward EDSON BUDDLE
On the performance and the use of two strikers:
“I think it was great. I think the attitude was to go forward, and we played with two strikers, and it was good to receive the ball and to look up and have a partner up there and see Jozy. It was much easier to combine with two strikers and having Clint sitting right in behind.”

On his goal:
“Clint did a good job of pressuring. Jozy and I were high as well. I think Clint read the play well, and when the ball bounced to me, I took a touch and was able to find the target. It hit off the post and went in.”

On if he knew his touch was going in:
“It felt good. I just wanted to make sure it was on frame, and when I looked up, it was halfway there.”

On playing in the fog:
“It was a little tough at times when the ball was on the other side. It was a white ball, and I think we should have played with a yellow ball. It would have been a lot easier. But I think it was a bit challenging with the fog and the white ball.”

U.S. goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On the importance of this victory:
“It’s always important to get a win, and tonight was important for a lot of reasons. It was the last game of the year, we wanted to get back to winning ways, and it’s going to be a long time until our next game, so we wanted to have a good taste in our mouths.”

On the team’s performance:
“I thought it was a good performance. We were pretty clinical in the first half with the chances that we took. They’re a good team. They’ve shown they’ve got some really talented players. Individually, they’re good on the ball, but also collectively they move the ball well and they work off each other. The second was always going to be difficult. Our backs were going to be against the wall, they’re down 3-1, they’ve got really nothing to lose, and they are pushing forward with a lot of talented players. Unfortunately, we conceded the second one, which put us under a lot of pressure. The idea was certainly in that spell where they put so much pressure on us, maybe 10 or 20 minutes that we needed to see that out, kind of batten down the hatches and keep it up 3-1 so that we can get back on top of the game. But as it was, they got the second goal, and it got a little nervy toward the end.”

On whether spells of pressure like that are good experiences for teams to have:
“Yeah, I think it’s important. I’ve been in many games like that in qualifying where we get up on top, and a team pushes to come back into the game—which is what teams do, they throw caution to the wind when they're losing or they need a result—so that happens quite often. I think it’ll be a good learning experience for us as we start to push in the next six months or so toward qualifying. We’re going to need those experiences to draw from. That resilience is important.”

On the difficulty of playing in the fog:
“It was kind of like a rolling fog. There were times when it was high above your head, and there were times when it was thick and it was rolling along the floor. It’s hard to see down the other end, but once the game got closer in toward us in the back, it wasn’t terribly difficult. But with the lights and the fog, it makes it a little difficult to read balls. A couple of the guys out there said it was hard for them to judge the distance of the ball when they were making clearances.”

On Carlos Bocanegra’s 100th cap:
“We’re proud of Carlos. He’s done his country justice, and he’s made his family proud, and he’s made us, his teammates and friends proud. He’s been a fantastic leader. A lot of the boys have said, ‘we’d follow him anywhere he leads us,’ because he’s that type of person, he’s that type of character. He’s strong-minded. He should feel really good about an amazing accomplishment because he’s a world-class guy, he’s a fantastic defender, and as a leader, there’s not many better. Congratulations to him from all of us. For him to be able to get his 100th says a lot, particularly as a captain.”

U.S. captain CARLOS BOCANEGRA
On the importance of the victory:
“Big time. We have a three-month break until our next game, so to get the win tonight was the biggest thing for us. It wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve played, but the result was what we were looking for. We got some good goals from the guys, and some good attacking sequences. We’ve got to clean it up a little bit better in the back, but we got the win, and I think everybody’s pretty happy about that.”

On playing in the fog:
“It was like the Fog Bowl when the Eagles played. It was all right. You could see far enough in front of you and see when guys kick long balls. It wasn’t too bad.”

On giving up the goal:
“Edson had a great goal on the first one for us, and then they came back and scored on us. We could have very easily dropped our heads and just felt sorry for ourselves, but credit to the guys. They fought back. The attackers did great today—they’ve been getting a lot of stick. Clint had a great goal and a header on the corner. On the penalty kick, we had some good buildup. It was a great team effort, and we hung on at the end. We battled, we dug in, and it wasn’t pretty, but we won. And you know what? That’s what we needed.”

On getting the win in his 100th cap:
“It was great. I’m really happy we got a win for the team. Obviously with the 100th cap for me, it’s extra special, but it was all about the team tonight. We needed a win. We’d been struggling a little bit, and to split games in Europe after losing to France and getting a win against a good Slovenian team was important. I think we can go home with a positive outlook and looking forward to next season.”

On the achievement:
“It’s pretty cool. U.S. Soccer presented me with a nice crystal before the game, and Slovenia gave me a jersey. That was pretty cool; that was a nice, classy touch. I’m just glad it’s over now and it’s done with, and when I can look back on my career, that will be a really special achievement. I’m really proud to have accomplished this.”

 

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