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U.S. MNT vs. Korea Republic: Post Match Quotes - Feb. 1, 2014

MNT vs. Korea Republic: Post-Match Quote Sheet
International Friendly
Feb. 1, 2014

On if he has established a secure place on the team:
“My mind frame doesn’t change. Any time I get this wonderful opportunity to represent my country, I’m going to try to make the most of it. That’s always been my mind frame since day one and that’s how it’s going to be till the last.”

On taking advantage of being in the right place at the right time to score both goals against Korea Republic:
“I take pride in myself and try to study the game so I can find myself in the right place. Especially when you have great teammates like Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi and Brad Davis, it makes my job a lot easier. Credit to those guys as well.”

On where he sees an opportunity to make the final 23-man roster for the FIFA World Cup:
“It’s so far out, you can’t play the numbers game in this situation. You hope for a call-up and if you get one, you try to make the most of it whenever you can. Just let your work do the talking.”

On the confidence to continue finding scoring opportunities throughout the game:
“Especially as a striker, it’s a part of my game that helps put the ball in the back of the net. You always need that. But, I take pride in doing other things as well, doing the dirty work, tracking down players, winning tackles, things like that. It’s part of who I am.”

On Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann showing faith in him by naming him a starter:
“That’s why coach Klinsmann is a great coach. He makes those decisions. All I can do is go out there and make the most out of any opportunity I get. I thoroughly enjoyed this January camp, getting out there every day and showing what I have to this coaching staff.”

U.S. MNT midfielder GRAHAM ZUSI
On executing the week’s game plan in the match:
“A lot of work we put into this camp was that first decisive ball or bypassing some of their midfielders, getting our midfielders beyond their midfielders then playing the ball wide and attacking from the flanks. A big part of this camp was not the side-to-side build-up, it was that penetrating ball, which leads to a quick attack. Both our goals came from just that.”

On teams in the USA’s World Cup group being proficient on the counter attack and how the U.S. can defend that system of play:
“I think playing teams like South Korea can only better us in preparation for that. They’re an extremely disciplined team and when they win it they go with numbers quickly. For us to see that beforehand is a big help, and the way we preformed was encouraging to see us come out with a shutout first and foremost and then to also get a couple goals.”

On South Korea finding some success on the counter attack and how such a tactic could affect the team at the World Cup:
“We really emphasized at this camp being confident and playing not just lumping the ball forward and hoping to see what happens. We wanted to take this opportunity in a friendly to be confident and play. We could go to Brazil, play three games and sit back for 90 minutes and pray we get results. But, that’s not how we’re going to progress as a soccer nation, so we’re going to go with the confidence to play.

“My point is when you play you open up and try to be assertive. Sometimes you get countered and part of it is knowing how to put out fires. I thought Kyle [Beckerman] did a good job at that, I thought our back line did an excellent job. Our recovery after losing the ball tonight was great. Once in a while teams are going to do that and we’re going to do that to teams as well. It’s part of the game and especially now with how fast the game is, it can happen. So, either you can take advantage of them or the other team does and it can be the difference.”

On the experience of being named captain:
“It was really nice. I really enjoyed it. I liked being a part of this group a lot this month. [There are] a lot of eager, excited players, and I think I really took on the leadership in the end in the right way. I wanted to do that and I was very honored to have the arm band.

“I don’t know the statistics, but throughout my career when I would wear the armband, I would guess that I play significantly better. I take that role very seriously. I take it professionally. Again, someone can do the stats, but I think our team record is probably pretty good when it happens.”

On playing out of the back throughout much of the game:
“It went pretty well. You get picked off at times. The field was a little bit sticky, so at times, it was a little bit difficult. But, I’m proud of our guys for having the confidence to do it. The modern game is such that, the more you have the ball, the more you can wear teams down and generally speaking, the more successful you’re going to be. It’s a lot more enjoyable to have the ball instead of defending for 90 minutes. We’re evolving as a nation. That wouldn’t have happened five years ago even. We’re getting better and we still have a lot of work to do, but it was good progress.”

On the sold-out atmosphere at StubHub center:
“Really impressed with the crowd. I thought the energy was great. The National Anthem was great; it got everyone going. It’s a lot of fun to play in that kind of environment as a player, especially in our home stadium. I really enjoyed it.”