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Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. vs. Morocco

Quote sheet
May 23, 2006


On the game:
“First of all I think our opponents played a better game than us tonight. They had a definite game plan and the objective was to keep the U.S. team off the scoreboard and they certainly accomplished that. They shortened the game with fouling, delaying and all fair and within the rules of the game. They did a very solid job. They caught us at the end of the game with a mistake and got a goal. I think they would have been very, very happy with zero-zero.

“On the other end, we weren’t sharp. We were a little leg weary, a little over-trained at this point. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change anything we’ve done. Our objective is still to look ahead to June 12 and not necessarily these games, although we certainly would have like to have a positive result tonight.

“Our team looked a little tired at times and I thought our passing was poor tonight. (We had) an inability to cross the ball. Tough to break down the Moroccan team that got 8, 9, 10 players behind the ball the whole game. Give them a lot of credit. They took their chance well. We didn’t do a good job creating chances, our last pass was poor, and our crossing was poor tonight. After 90 some-odd minutes, that is the difference in the game.”

On the play of John O’Brien:
“I thought he played OK. Our plan was to give him 45 minutes tonight and Wolff 60 minutes. That was by design. He probably could have played a little bit longer. Again, we are trying to get him back into things and pushing him a little bit too much at this point would have been a mistake.”

On if he is concerned about the lack of chances created by the team tonight:
“Well, I think you have to look at the game. We have players that will create chances. I don’t think you will see a game in the World Cup that will look like this one tonight. It wasn’t good tonight, but we are a little leg weary, we’re over-trained. We pushed them a little hard.”

On what Bobby Convey brought to the game in the second half:
“Some good plays, some bad plays. To his credit he brought energy to the game right away at the start of the second half and created some things. I don’t think he pulled off any goal-scoring opportunities for us, but I thought Bobby brought some energy to the game.”

On the atmosphere at The Coliseum in Nashville:
“It was great. Tremendous support from the community here in Nashville and the state. I’m sorry we didn’t deliver a win for them.”

On the whether there might be a change in the workouts ahead in light of his comments that the team might be a little “leg weary and over-trained”:
“No. We are training for June 12, not for May 26 or May 23.”


On his right hamstring strain suffered in the 11th minute of the game:
“I’m going to get an MRI. It just tightened up on me. I stretched out for a ball, and just to be cautionary I came out.”

On the timing of the injury:
“It is close to the games, so obviously it is not the best timing. But I’m hoping I’ve gotten away with something very minor. I’m optimistically thinking that is not going to be something long term, but tomorrow I will know better.”

On his recent fitness status:
“I felt fine. The training we did last week, I had no problems and in the last 6 or 7 weeks of my season, I’ve felt fine. So it is just one of those things that just happened.”


On losing the ball that led to the goal:
“I knew where the other player was and I took a bad touch and they took advantage of it unfortunately, for us. It is definitely my mistake. Those are things you have to live with and improve on.”

On his performance tonight:
“Obviously mistakes are a big part of this game. And those are not allowed to happen at this level.”

On the tactics employed by Morocco and the adjustments the U.S. needed to make to get a result:
“We are seeing this more often, where teams are taking a more defensive posture against us and we need to be better about building the ball and creating chances. That is something we didn’t do tonight. That is something we need to improve on and move on.”


On his evaluation of his performance:
“I did some things that I wanted to do. I was able to defensively get in on some tackles and was sharp in that and I was also able to make a couple of passes happen, so that was successful for me to.”

On his passing in the game being pretty good for someone in his situation:
“I had a couple of good passes, but I had a couple of bad ones too. There is definitely room for improvement. I’ve been out for awhile, but like I said I am happy with how it went today. I felt fine.”

On Morocco as an opponent:
“I was pretty impressed with Morocco, they kept the ball pretty well in the center of the midfield. They played with one attacking and one defensive (in the midfield) and for a little while we had a trouble with that. We could have done a better job keeping the ball.”

On whether the loss is discouraging heading into the World Cup:
“You are always a little bit discouraged when you lose, but at the same time we know what is more important. That’s what our focus is on. To keep getting better and learn from these things.”


On his play as a second-half sub:
“I’m hungry to play and when you get a chance you have to take the opportunity and it comes down to a the coaches opinion if you play or not. No player likes to sit on the bench and watch, so I want to try and play and help the team as much as I can.”

On his near miss free kick that almost tied the game in injury time:
“I’ve been working on that all year, and it has gotten better for me. It was a little disappointing obviously to miss by a couple of inches. That’s how it goes sometimes. Hopefully next time I will be in the same position and it will go in. It would have been a good ending, but that is how it goes sometimes.”

On what the team can take from this game:
“We need to play a lot better. I think we were a little bit tired and everyone was just a little bit off. We still have a few weeks to the World Cup and we need to improve how we played and just keep going. The first game isn’t until June 12, so these are games were we need to use to prepare for those games and see what works and see what doesn’t.”

On whether the week of intense fitness training might have been a reason for the team’s performance:
 “There are a lot of different things you can say, but they played well. We were a little bit tired, but that is how it goes sometimes. This is about preparation and you have to be ready for the first game of the World Cup.”


On the team’s formation against Morocco:
“We played a new formation that we only trained in three or four times before we played. It is not a formation we are used to. For me it is, because we play a 4-3-3 in Holland, but at the same time a lot of guys weren’t used to it and how to shift and move as a team. It just wasn’t there. That is why in the first 25 minutes, Morocco was able to control the ball a little bit.”


On whether the week of intense fitness training might have been a reason for the team’s performance:
“Mentally I think that game is something where we just have to figure it out a little better. We weren’t sharp. We didn’t play extremely well. It is one of those games where we need to try and think of something else to break them down, and we probably didn’t do that well enough.”

On Arena’s comment that you are “unlikely to see a game like this in the World Cup”:
“You probably aren’t going to have team’s sitting back and hoping they are going to get a breakaway. But again, as soccer goes you sort of how to figure out a way to win the game, and we probably didn’t do that well enough.”

On what the team can learn from a game like this:
“It shows us something. There is always something you can take from this game and learn from it and hopefully make us better.”