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U.S. WNT vs. Canada: Post-Match Quotes - Jan. 31, 2014

WNT vs. Canada: Post-Match Quote Sheet
International Friendly
Jan. 31, 2014

U.S. WNT head coach TOM SERMANNI
On the difficulty of playing against Canada:
“They do make it difficult, you know that before the game, but I thought we played really well in the first half. I thought the quality of our soccer, the rhythm of our play was really good except the final little bit into their penalty area where they defended really well.”

“I think in the second half, the game got a bit scrappy. That doesn’t suit us. Granted we’re not great at scrappy, but I think also there was a little bit of fatigue setting in because it’s the first game of the year and we’ve had a long time off. Overall, we knew what to expect from Canada. As I sit back and assess our performance now, I was really very satisfied with it.”

On University of Virginia and former U-20 WNT standout Morgan Brian making her first start for the senior team and playing the full match:
“We were toying with the idea of bringing her off with 10 or 15 [minutes] to go, but we were a bit concerned about bringing someone in [who was] not in the rhythm of the game and that being disruptive for us. She did extremely well. I didn’t think she would go 90 [minutes], but she did extremely well to go 90, and I think she showed unbelievable class and quality throughout the game tonight.”

On the impression Brian made on him when he first took over as head coach:
“I didn’t know her at all to be perfectly honest. We brought her into camp midway through her junior year on the recommendation from Steve Swanson, and boy, as soon as she walked into National Team camp she looked like she belonged there. You see her tonight out there, and she walked out onto the field like a seasoned international player.”

On Canada’s physical style of play:
“It didn’t affect us too much. The amount of [their] fouls and yellow cards was testament to how well we played in the first half. Canada didn’t really get a lot of the ball in the first half, and we had a lot of possession and did really well with it. In the second half, Canada came out to push and press and really disrupt our game. I think fatigue and the way they pressed in the second half impacted our game a little bit and we lost our rhythm the longer the game went on.”

On a victory for the team to start 2014:
“I was delighted, really happy. I was a bit anxious about this game because we haven’t played a game in a long time. Players have had time off. Canada has played some internationals recently and they’ve been in residency for two months. They we’re really well prepared for this game. We were, as I expected a little bit rusty, so when I put all those factors together I was really delighted with how we played tonight.”

U.S. WNT midfielder MORGAN BRIAN
On finding out she would make her first senior National Team start :
“We found out in the team meeting just [the day before the match]. I think everyone’s first career start with the National Team is a really good experience. [Lauren Holiday] helped me a lot tonight, the whole team did. Playing with the Youth National Teams is always a great experience, but pulling on your jersey for the first time and getting your first start for the full National Team is just awesome.”

On there being any nerves before getting her first start:
“There definitely was. I think it was good nerves though. With the National Teams there are a lot of opportunities to play in big time games, so that’s really helped a lot. Tonight, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be.”

On finding the rhythm of the game from the start rather than from the bench:
“There are pros and cons to both. Coming off the bench is nice to pick up your team and get some excitement into the game, but starting the game, you get the feel for it and you’re already with the team, building rhythm, so that’s a plus for that.”

On the physical style of play employed by Canada:
“You saw it in the game. They were coming in hard, so you just have to move the ball with one-and two-touch. Just move the ball, keep it and spread it. That’s all you can really do.”

On being on the receiving end a hard foul that earned a yellow card for Canada:
“I’m definitely going to feel that tomorrow, but it’s part of the game and it happens like that. We were expecting a physical game. Hopefully the leg will be fine tomorrow.”

On balancing her opportunities with the National Team and school work at the University of Virginia:
“You just take it one day at a time and cross the bridges when they come and if they come. Right now, I’m just taking it one practice at a time with the national team and one day at a time at home with Virginia and that team. Hopefully, I can keep playing here and doing well for Virginia as well.”

On the play the led to her goal:
“Becky [Sauerbrunn] is so good a bobbing and weaving through players. She got through, played a one-two off press and chipped the ball over. I got past their outside back and was waiting back post and hit it, and it went in.”

On hoping to score in the second half after the team missed some opportunities in the first half:
“I always hope we’re going to get one. That’s how we play. We push to the very last second and I’m just happy we came out of this game 1-0. It was a very hard-fought game. It was a good game, it was physical, and I’m glad we came out on top.”

On the team’s level of play in the first half:
“We knew that this game was going to be physical and knew that that could kind of take over. I think we dealt with it really well. We became physical too. That’s how you have to play against teams like that. We handled ourselves really well. In the first half, in the first little bit, we were a little shaky, but then, we brought ourselves together and we were really pinging the ball in the middle of the first half. I thought lifted us a little bit.”

On a winning start to 2014:
“Right now, we’re still trying stuff out and seeing what works. The depth on this team is amazing, and I’m so happy I get to play with these 24 girls. It’s been great.”

On the close result of the game:
“It’s really a close game any time you play a rivalry game I think. There’s so much emotion and so much that goes into the game behind the scenes, just knowing [Canada] so well, knowing they’re just a short trip across the border, they are one of our biggest rivalries for sure. That being said, you expect it to be a really difficult game. They’re a physical opponent. They’re relentless. They go into every single tackle, and you have to make sure you play your best game if you want to beat Canada.”

On joining the Houston Dash and beginning her NWSL career this season:
“I’m really excited! I’ve heard wonderful things about Houston the city. I’ve done a little research and I’m excited to pop on down there. I think that they’re putting together a world-class organization on the women’s side. Bringing Brian Ching in, a former player, to help manage the women, I think is a great step for the game. Having that kind of experience on a team is going to help grow the entire league. I think that’s one of the reasons U.S. Soccer really encouraged Huston to join the league because they’re putting together a world class organization there and I’m really excited to be part of it.”

On if she knows Canada goalkeeper and future Dash teammate Erin McLeod:
“I know of her. I met her once over the years, but nothing substantial. The soccer community’s really small. She said [after the match] she was a little worried when I went down (with cramps). ‘That’s not the person I want to go down, who plays in front of me.’ I’m sure we’ll be fast friends.”