US SoccerUS Soccer

U.S. Coaches and Players Talk to Media in Advance of Semifinal Match-up with Canada

U.S. Head Coach Peter Nowak
On preparing for the semifinal match:
“We're all happy to be here and we're all excited to play in the semifinals. From the beginning, the most important thing was to have 20 players who are ready to go on any given day. We look forward to this game but we have a couple of days to change our mentality in order to think about what's coming ahead. Our first goal was to get to the semifinal and here we are. Our next goal is to advance to the Olympic games and win the final. Whatever the formation is going to be, we need to keep the same strong spirit that we had during the first stage of the tournament.”

On one game deciding whether they advance to the Olympics:
“It’s always like that all over the world and in every sport. The pressure is good and we know what our team is all about and we'll be ready. We need to keep the team unity and spirit. We can't be over anxious like we were against Cuba in the first game. We just need to play our game and make sure the result is what we want.”

On Canada:
“The challenge is to win the game. They are a very organized, very physical team and they showed yesterday that they can score goals. It’s going to be a tough measure to win, but at this stage we don't expect any easy games.”

U.S. Forward Jozy Altidore
On scoring being a challenge during qualifying:
“It’s been tough (to score). The teams have lots of players behind the ball and its been tough to penetrate them. Credit those teams; they did what they had to do to try to keep our scoring ability and attack down. We're going to look to be aggressive like we are every game.”

On Canada:
“I've played Canada a bunch of times and they're a very physical and very organized group. No games are easy at this stage.”

On how tough the games have been and if they will make any changes:
“Any time you play in CONCACAF it’s going to be tough. The defenders are very aggressive and the (opposing) coaches put a lot of players behind the ball. [The formation we play] doesn't really matter too much, it’s still hard to play a game against guys like that. At the same time, we could always be better in the way that we play. That is something that we've all addressed and I think we'll look to have a good performance against Canada on Thursday.”

On how the team’s preparation has helped them get to the semifinals:
“We've dealt with it well. Each time we came in we were serious, and we knew what we wanted to accomplish in this short period. I think since we've advanced to the next round in first place in our group it’s a testament to how we've prepared. Games like this bring out the best in a player. In one game you can be in the next round or your hopes of going to the Olympics can be gone.”