US SoccerUS Soccer
Alex Morgan

U.S. WNT vs. Sweden Post-Match Quotes

Post-Game Quote Sheet: U.S. Women's National Team vs. Sweden
2013 Algarve Cup
Lagos, Portugal
March 11, 2013

U.S. head coach TOM SERMANNI
On the match:
“It was a real battle and not unexpected. Sweden knew they had to win and they went out to try and win it. Particularly in the first 45 minutes they really rattled us and put us in several difficult situations. I thought the second half was much better. I thought we started to play the game as we can play it. We started to up the tempo and have a bit more confidence in our passing and we started to penetrate. It was a tough battle, but a good draw. Perhaps in the second half we had enough chances to win the game, but we’re in the final and that’s what matters.”

On getting better throughout the game in what was a physical, rough and tumble match:
“I think we showed a lot of character and that’s an important part of a soccer game. There are some days you can go out and play the type of football you want to play and there are days at the office when you know it’s going to be really tough, roll-your-sleeves-up, kind of battle and today was one of those games. You need to be able to adjust and play under both of those conditions. For the last couple of months, we’ve been working on how to play the game, if you like, but today we had to switch over a different kind of mentality and that was one to be competitive and dig deep and we did that in the second half. That’s the sign of a championship team that can come back from an early goal, come back from a first half that was not the best and to really turn it around in the second half.”

On making a tactical change in the midfield:
“We made a change to push Heather O’Reilly up forward in behind the strikers because we felt we needed a bit more pace and penetration up front. We moved Tobin Heath to the right-hand side of midfield to get a bit more creative ability. That put a little more pressure on the back four of Sweden and we started getting a bit more into the thick of things after that.”

On giving goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris her first cap in a huge match:
“We’ve got three goalkeepers and three that we rate highly. This (tournament) was a good opportunity to see them all and basically give them all one game. Today was Ashlyn’s turn and I think she did well for her first cap. It was a really high pressure game and especially when you lose a goal early on that she had absolutely no chance with. She was put in a few difficult situations during the game and I think she handled them extremely well.”

On Alex Morgan scoring her first goal of 2013:
“Definitely good for her confidence. She’s helped create a couple of goals and has been in goal scoring positions and been a little unfortunate. When you are a striker, it’s really important to score goals to keep that confidence up.”

U.S. goalkeeper ASHLYN HARRIS
On if she was nervous in her first cap:
“It was fun. It was pretty frantic, clearly, for those who watched, but I just tried to keep my cool and demand and take charge of the back and make sure I was instructing. I was relaxed. I felt really good. I was nervous at the beginning of the game, but I knew it was going to be a big game.”

On her first senior team cap at the age of 27 after being in the WNT programs since she was 14:
“I’ve waited a long time for this moment. It just shows that (the coaches) are not scared to put me in when it comes to crunch time and I appreciate that. It’s a proud time for myself, my family and my teammates. Everyone’s excited.”

On facing a talented attacking side like Sweden:
“They were coming at us, absolutely. (In the first half), they were dictating the game a little too much, but we figured it out and said ‘let’s play how we play and do what we do best.’ The game slowed down a little bit more and I’m happy with the performance. We gave up a goal, but that happens, and I don’t think she’ll do that again.

On giving up an early goal on a 40-yard strike:
“Those things happen. You just have to respond well. I didn’t get rattled by it.”

U.S. forward ALEX MORGAN
On her goal:
“Luck was a little bit on my side today. Pinoe hit a great ball in and actually that’s a goal I’ve been wanting to get. I’m always on the ‘keeper and not in the prime position to be the goal scorer for corner kicks…It was a good time for me to get my first goal at the Algarve Cup this year.”

On the match:
“It was super physical today. We kind of expected it going into with the match with Pia coaching Sweden now and the Sweden team wanting to show Pia where they are and welcome the new coach. So we expected that going into the match and we just needed to go with the flow and know that rhythm would be a little disrupted. Tomorrow, we’re going to have some bruises definitely.”

On playing against Pia Sundhage on the opposing bench:
“I think I tried to tune Pia out and that fact that she was speaking Swedish helped a little bit. After the match, it was a frustrating feeling having tied and having so many opportunities in the last 10 minutes, so I didn’t want to go over and hug her, but then I was like, no, she’s done so much for us, so I went over and gave her a hug, and as always, she was so happy to see all of us.”

U.S. defender KELLEY O’HARA
On the match:
“Sweden came out hard and I think they were in a hundred (pressuring high on defense). We knew that the game would start fast-paced, hard and physical and it was pretty much like that for 90 minutes. In the second half, we came out with a good game plan and stuck to what we wanted to do, which was get it wide and get it into the box and combine, and I think we did a good job.”

On the match after the USA equalized:
“We did an excellent job of game management in the end once we got that goal. We knew if we kept it that way that we’d be going through. We were looking for another one, but at the same time being aware of keeping the tie as well.

On playing against Pia Sundhage on the opposing bench:
“When she started to yell when I was on her side, I am so used to hearing her voice; it was like, ‘Are you talking to me? Oh, you’re talking Swedish. I’m not on your team anymore!’ So it was a bit weird.”