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Quote Sheet: U.S. U-17 MNT Prepare to Face Ivory Coast on Friday

U.S. Head Coach John Hackworth
On facing Ivory Coast:
“I just want to make sure our team has the same exact mentality as it had the first two games. I think that’s important so we don’t lose the momentum we have. We are operating under the same premise that Ivory Coast is the most important game we are going to play and that’s what we’re focused on.”

On the possibility of a letdown:
“There’s always the concern of a letdown. The players know where we stand and they know that this game doesn’t mean a whole lot except for where we will be placed in the group, but they have consistently had a very good resolve. Once we set our priorities and goals for a match they do a good job of executing those. We’re enjoyed the victories, but we’ve woken up the next day and concentrated on the task at hand. They’ve done a good job and I expect our guys will be prepared for Ivory Coast.”

On getting a chance to see Ivory Coast play live twice:
“It has given us a good idea about what they are probably going to do tactically and what technical ability their players are. I think it will be interesting to see them come out as even though they can’t advance, they have a lot of pride and want to get a result.”

On any changes he may make to the starting lineup:
“If I saw that we have to have the same mentality and then just roll out all the reserves I don’t think I’m practicing what I preach. We’re going to go for the win and we’ll rest the guys we feel need the rest. The starters that are ready to go, they are going to play. If guys need a rest or have a knock and we think it would be better for the overall health of the team to save them for the quarterfinals, we will do that.”

On the stadium:
“This is a pretty cool stadium. It’s cavernous. You walk in here and it’s all on top of you. I’m excited to see what the crowd is like tomorrow in this venue.”

U.S. Midfielder Kyle Nakazawa
On not having a letdown against Ivory Coast:
“We know we’ve already qualified, but the first spot in the group is still open depending on the result of our game. I think that is one of the major incentives going into the match against Ivory Coast. We just have to approach it like we did against North Korea and Italy and come out with the same mentality.”

On the style of play of Ivory Coast:
“We know they play like a typical African team, similar to what we saw when we played Gambia before the tournament. They are very athletic and physical, but hopefully we can counter their play and get behind them to get opportunities on goal.”

U.S. Defender Blake Wagner
On not overlooking Ivory Coast:
“We know we’re going on to the quarterfinals already, but this third game is still a big match in our eyes because we want to win and continue to show people that we can play. We don’t want to take Ivory Coast lightly because they are a very good team despite their first two games.”

On dealing with Ivory Coast’s attack:
“It will definitely be a tough test for our defense. They are really physical, fast and athletic. They are going to be going at us right from the start. We’ll need to be aware of that and do what we can to be as organized as possible on the backline.”

On playing left back and center back:
“For the past year-and-a-half I’ve played left back and center back about an equal amount of time. It doesn’t really matter to me where I play as I’m used to them both. Wherever I’m needed is where I’ll play as long as I can help the team.”

U.S. Midfielder Ryan Soroka
On preparing for Ivory Coast:
“Even though we’ve gotten out of our group it doesn’t matter because we still have to concentrate on Ivory Coast. Depending on what happens in that game we will look toward our next match. We’re just taking it game by game.”

On if there is any pressure on them to win the group:
“Not really. We have goals we want to achieve, so we’re just going out there and playing to the best of our ability.”

U.S. Forward David Arvizu
On what they need to do to defeat Ivory Coast:
“We just need to keep playing like the way we did against Italy and do what we can to continue on to the quarters and semis.”

On his impressive performance against Italy:
“That’s the way I expect to play day-in and day-out. I’ve been trying to get that confidence and I think I’ve got it now. Hopefully I can continue to turn it on for the rest of the tournament.”

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