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Post-Match Quote Sheet: MNT 3, SWE 2


U.S. head coach BOB BRADLEY
On the match:
“It’s important to start the year off with a win. When you’re in a long camp, with three weeks and a lot of work, it’s nice at the end to have the reward of winning. From a coaching standpoint there’s always going to be things, at this time of year, that you feel good about, and there’s always going to be things that need improvement.

“We got a number of guys their first games with the national team, something that we want to continue to do in terms of building our pool. It’s a good feeling.”

On Sacha Kljestan’s hat trick:
“It’s nice to see Sacha get some goals. He’s worked hard in this camp and that was important for us. I’d also mention Danny Califf and Brian Ching as guys in this camp who have been leaders throughout. Brian does a lot of dirty work on the field. He did a great job in terms of holding the ball and setting Sacha up for the third goal, which came at an important time in the game.”

On the starting back four:
“I thought that the first half we were pretty solid defensively. The positioning of the group was good. Danny Califf is a player who is always good in the air.  The second half shows that there is still work to be done. Both Marvell [Wynne] and Johnny [Bornstein] got a little tired, and when that happened their positioning was not as good. The second half was not as good, but we’re pleased with the progress overall, and it’s nice to see some of the young guys have an impact.”

On Kljestan’s progress:
“In the last stretch of games, Sacha has grown with the national team, I think that’s obvious. If you look at our home wins against Trinidad and then Cuba, I think he played well in those games and I think that as a team we played well. We continue to challenge him in every camp. He knows, because he hears it from our coaching staff and I think he’s heard it from the Chivas coaching staff, the areas he has to improve still, in terms of consistency, reactions and other little things, at times, that make a difference. He’s a strong candidate to always be on the field now and it’s nice to see the maturity, but [with all our young guys] there’s still a way to go.”

On Robbie Rogers’ first cap:
“I think he made progress in this camp, and it’s nice for him to get a start. It’s probably also special that it was at the Home Depot Center in front of family and friends. We’ll make sure that at the end of it all, he doesn’t get too carried away because there’s still a long way to go.”

On Mexico’s recent injury trouble
"Mexico has a deep pool of talent, but the players [who could potentially miss the game] are good players. Nonetheless, we play a game that, as the first game of qualifying, you expect Mexico to come in organized and ready to give everything they have to make it a hard game. The respect that we have for Mexico is always going to be the starting point when we prepare to play them.“

U.S. midfielder and ussoccer.com Man of the Match SACHA KLJESTAN
On the culmination of the January camp in tonight’s game:
“We’ve been in this camp for three weeks and obviously we’ve put in a lot of work. I was very happy to come back for the game and play in front of my friends and family here at the Home Depot Center. It was a good game overall. We didn’t do as well as we should have in picking up second balls, but in other ways we did some pretty good things and I’m happy we can start the year with a win.”

On getting the 11th hat trick in U.S. Soccer history:
“Getting a hat trick is pretty exciting for me. I’ve never scored more than one goal in a game as a professional, so it’s definitely exciting. I’m just as happy about the win, and I’m glad we held on in the end. It was great to do it [score a hat trick] here at the Home Depot Center. I have a lot of friends and family that come and support me every game, so that was pretty cool to have them here.”

On his free kick goal in the first half:
“I have worked a lot on free kicks with Preki [Chivas USA head coach] this past year. He showed me to just take a deep breath and put the ball where you want it. I tried to focus a lot and put the ball where I wanted it, and tonight it went there. You just want to put the ball on target to give yourself a chance and luckily it went in tonight.”

U.S. defender and team captain DANNY CALIFF
On the team’s performance:
“I was happy with the game. I think towards the end of the game we got tired and a little sloppy, but it was great to get a win and I think we fought really hard, which was the key tonight.”

U.S. forward BRIAN CHING
On the USA’s third goal:
I saw Danny with the ball and I just made a run. It was a great ball by him, similar to one in the first half, and I just took it out of the air. I saw Sacha making a great run and he finished the move well.”

On his role with the U.S., particularly the frequent fouls he suffers:
“I think that’s part of my role, and it’s even the way I play with Houston a little bit. In the first half I could have been a little stronger at times, but it’s also the first game of the season and I needed to build my way into the game. Hopefully I did all right. I think we’ve prepared ourselves well for the qualifier we have coming up.”

On providing veteran leadership in the January camp:
“I think I took on that role a little bit. I’m not very vocal, but I like to lead by example. I think myself and Danny and even John Thorrington set a pretty good tone for the camp, and the young guys came in and did a good job of buying into what Bob wants. We came out and put a great effort in on the field tonight.”

U.S. goalkeeper TROY PERKINS
On conceding late goals:
“You have to remember that most of us haven’t played a game since early November, so we were a little unfortunate not to have a scrimmage or another match before this. All in all, it was a good game for us. We controlled the tempo and in the minutes where our play wasn’t great, we still worked hard and got into tackles.

“I think the second one I should have done better on, but you look back on it and with the win I think we did OK. For 60 minutes we did well, and for our first game of the year it was a good start.

On his first cap:
“I don’t think it’s hit me yet. For a long time I’ve always wanted to have this chance. It’s what you play for every day, to have this opportunity. It’s a dream come true. [Assistant Coach John] Hackworth told me that he called this when he brought me into the University of South Florida. You can believe that or not; I don’t believe it [laughs]. Overall, tonight was a great experience.”

U.S. defender MICHAEL PARKHURST
On the victory:
“I thought the game went pretty well overall. We came out pretty strong and had a very good first half. I thought we controlled the game and had a few chances. Sacha did really well on both free kicks. The second half we came out strong again, but didn’t finish a couple of chances and ended up letting them back in the game. We controlled most of the game. They scored two good goals, but overall we had enough pressure and enough chances to win the game in the end.”

“The combination of us getting a little tired and them pushing to get back in the game led to a few breakdowns and a couple of goals. Overall, the pressure we put on them was pretty good, and our organization and communication was good as well.”

On playing the first game of the year
“It’s a little tough because we haven’t played a game in awhile, and no fitness is like game fitness. Maybe that’s why we struggled a little bit towards the end of the game, but the substitutes came on and did well for us. It’s good to get that first game under the belt, especially with the win. That’s a good way to start the year.”

On getting the first win of 2009:
“It just gives everybody a little more confidence. Maybe the guys tonight aren’t the top 11 guys or the top 20 guys, but it’s important that when we come in we get good results to show the coaching staff that we can get the results that the national team wants. It gives all of us that played tonight confidence, and hopefully it gives the coaching staff confidence in us come the big games.”
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