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Post-Match Quotes: U.S. U-20 MNT Defeats Cameroon 4-1

Post-Match Quote Sheet
USA 4, Cameroon 1
FIFA Under-20 World Cup
Sept. 29, 2009

U.S. head coach THOMAS RONGEN
On the night’s match:
“If you win 4-1 you’re clearly happy, but I’m more happy about the fact that our team responded well to a disappointing opening game against Germany. It showed some great character and resilience to manage this game, and it was a huge game for us. We felt we needed three points to get ourselves back in the race for the group, and we did that. I’m very proud of the way that the team handled the loss against Germany and focused our energy on Cameroon. We made a few changes that helped us and that was a result that we desperately needed.”

On whether the U-20 team can repeat the success of the full team in the Confederations Cup:
“Our next game against Korea is the only focus for us at this point and this group is fairly wide open. We just have to look at the game on Friday and get ourselves in a position to get to the second round. That was our first goal, advancing out of group play and then taking every game as it comes.”

On whether the Men’s National Team has influenced the U-20s:
“Our senior team has inspired us. I think we’ve proven now that we, at all levels, can reach a FIFA final. There is great energy within our country, we’re still not a soccer power, and our goals have to be realistic. To say we can win the U-20 World Cup might not be completely fair but we work as hard as we can to get the results we need to make our country proud.”

On what he is expecting from the game against Korea:
“Going into this tournament, looking at our group, I felt that it was an interesting group. Everybody can take points from each other in this group, I firmly believe that. The way the games have gone so far has proven that. Four different styles of play are represented in this group. All three teams pose different challenges for us and at this level we want to both win games and further develop our players. We expected a tough match, and maybe looking at a 4-1 score line is a little flattering in our favor. I’ve been to three U-20 World Cups now and I’ll see Korea for the third time, so I’m familiar with their style of football. They proved against Germany that they belong and that they’re a very good team, so we’ll prepare our team as best we can to get a result against a very formidable opponent that we respect.”

On his team’s response in the second game:
“Anytime that you can respond to a 3-0 loss in the way we did today, it’s important. Our character was tested, there were some things written in the American press about our performance that wasn’t very kind and I think the players took that to heart. We knew we were a better team that we showed in that game. At the end of the day, as a coach you try to push the right buttons but in the end it’s really the players that dictate results and I think as a group they showed their level of commitment that was very good here.”

On the scoreline:
“Cameroon had three or four very good opportunities to get back into the game and didn’t capitalize. I expect that Cameroon will show up against Germany, and they’ll have to, to make it hard on them and we’ll do the same against Korea. There is everything to play for still.”

On changes from the Germany match:
“In the first game we picked players who we felt were the sharpest going into this tournament based on training and two games we played. Saying that, some guys underperformed and we added a little bit more experience in the team tonight with Bryan Arguez, who had a good game for us and gets a goal. We had Dilly Duka, who proved in the midfield that he belongs. Danny Cruz gave us energy on the right side and put in a very workmanlike performance, and obviously Sheanon Williams was injured for our first game. They brought a little bit more composure, a little more possession that we didn’t have against Germany and we were able to stretch our opponent with pace up top, which was our game plan tonight based on the analysis that we did of Cameroon.”

U.S. forward BRIAN OWNBY
On his role in tonight’s game:
“The coaches told me I’d be going in for Tony, and they just wanted me to stay high in front of the defense and work on a counterattack, which worked out at the end of the game there with the goal. They told me to just use my pace. Leading up to the game, (Thomas) told me he was thinking about using me as a sub either out wide or up top, and I didn’t think I was going to go in. I really wanted to finish one tonight and I thought I’d get a chance because Cameroon was playing so high looking for goals.”

On how coach Rongen approached the second game:
“Everyone was disappointed after our first game, but Thomas kept our heads up and made sure we understood that there was still six points out there. He got us really pumped for this game and coming out with a win, we owe a lot to him.”

U.S. midfielder BRYAN ARGUEZ
On the team’s spirit coming into this match:
“The USA came out with a lot more fire for this game. Everyone wanted to get the three points and stay in the tournament. We came out stronger, better in defense and just playing our game. We knew we’d have to do those things to win tonight.”

U.S. forward BREK SHEA
On the mentality of the team:
“Today we came out fired up, we knew we had to win. We came out and got a goal before the first half was over, and that really fired us up. We just kept going at them. Today you saw how we play. We hope to have more of that in the third game against Korea.”