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June 13 Press Conference Quote Sheet

On Tim Howard’s status:
“He will be evaluated later today and then a decision will be made as to whether he will need further tests. Obviously, he was sore. He did a great job of taking a tough hit, staying in it and playing really well but we’ll access him later today and then figure out what we need to do from there.”

On the team’s historical struggles against Eastern European teams:
“I think that we’ve had different experiences in the past four years with this group against Eastern European teams. They are typically hard working, organized teams. They’re not all the same by any means but I think of the game in Poland, which was a good game for us obviously. More recently I think our game against Slovakia was a game where I thought they were well organized defensively, so there is a similarity between Slovakia and Slovenia. They are organized collectively; they make it hard on you. And again I think oftentimes they have players who may not be big names, but still if you know anything about where they play and follow them, they’re solid players with their club teams as well. No surprises, really.”

On overcoming the early deficit:
“I think the mentality of the group is strong. We’ve been hardened along the way, and we believe we can play with tough teams and top teams. There is a good sense of the way 90 minutes works, where at different moments in the game there is an ability to push a little harder. I think in particular last night, the response to the goal was to find a smart way to push because it’s so early in the game you can’t start taking huge chances. But in that period of time I think we were able to move and put good passes together and get back into the game. But, I do think it starts with the mentality there. It’s a group that has grown a lot and that sense of playing for each other for 90 minutes is pretty well established.”

On turning preparations toward Slovenia in just five days:
“In reality, we had five weeks to prepare for the World Cup, and the players will tell you that it was only in the last four or five days that we really turned the focus on England. As a coaching staff, we had done our homework along the way, but we’ve done that with Slovenia and Algeria as well. When you’ve played a match, the day after is regeneration and, for the players who didn’t play, training. As a coaching staff, we’ve gone through the tape and we’ll start to look for some things with the team and getting some things established with Slovenia. The time frame for us is actually the same.

On what will be different against Slovenia:
“On the attacking side of things it’s almost always the same. The ability to move the ball, create advantages and then, when those advantages come it’s timing and execution. I thought we had some moments when, had we been a little sharper with the final movement, final pass or the timing, we could have created even more chances. I thought our ball movement to get to certain spots on the field was quite good. At the international level that window is small and it closes quickly, and that’s just something you’re working on on a regular basis.”

On what Jose Torres may bring to the field:
“I think that the game last night was a fast-paced, hard game. Regardless of who is on the field, I think that players were getting closed down quickly, regardless of who was on the field. I think Jose has shown that he’s a good player, but I don’t think that changes what the game is like. The players we had, as far as seeing things and connecting plays, and in that kind of game the window is small. The timing of moves is fast and I think it was the same for both teams.”

On the challenges Slovenia poses:
“I think it will be a different kind of game. Obviously we’ll watch today’s game to get a different look at exactly what they do. They’re a hard working team, they’re organized. They have an ability at times to sit back a little bit more and still get you on the counter. My overall assessment is that the pure speed and physicality of last night’s game is probably on the very high end, and the Slovenia game will be a little bit more of a chess match.”

On handling the emotional part of preparing for the second game:
“When preparing for a tournament, and obviously the World Cup is the biggest one but having experience in the Confederations Cup helps, there is a quick turnaround where the game is played. The players that started have emptied their tanks, given everything they had, so it takes them a little while, and we do a great job with our strength and conditioning and training staff. You can’t talk in detail after the game, so now over the 24-48 hours you start to show certain things and talk about certain things so the players can digest that. Then you start turning it fully toward the next opponent with a rehearsed way of showing video, pointing out a few things, doing some things on the training field and getting ready. It’s something we work on all the time and it becomes the routine so I think the players know exactly what to expect.”

On the feedback he got from people back home:
“Friends are supportive. I get some supportive emails and text messages. I spoke quickly with my wife after the game, she and my daughters were at the game and part of the friends and families that are here and they were just excited about the whole game. They all put a lot into it on that end and it’s nice when they can enjoy the moment a little bit. I typically speak with one or two people who watched the game and I’ll get their thoughts and plug it in with what we’ve seen as a staff, and the comments there were positive. Sometimes you get something that tilts one way, but I had someone tell me we played well and someone else tell me it was a fair result. It’s standard, you listen to different things just to make sure you didn’t miss anything.”

On potential lineup tweaks:
“There is always a process of coming out of a game, assessing where everyone is physically, looking at the game, trying to project what the next game might look that. That usually results in a couple of tough decisions. We go through that process, talking it over as a staff, hear what some of the players have to say and making decisions again.”

On the defensive performance of the team last night:
“Defensively in these kinds of games there are two sides. There is the organization and doing things with a good understanding and that gets put to the test because the game moved at a fast speed. You can look very good sometimes in terms of how coordinated you are as a team defensively, but when the game goes faster and there are players on the other team who are capable of making something out of a slight advantage then that puts you to the test. On that side of things, there were some moments on that side of things that we think weren’t as good as we think it can be, but that happens even with the best teams in the most difficult games. What comes next is pure commitment to make a play. On that end last night, all around the field the efforts of the team were excellent. Guys were committed to do that little extra bit to chase a little harder, come away with a tackle, and I think that we’ve been able to do that in the biggest games against Spain. This one was sort of similar.”

On turning preparations toward Slovenia in just five days:
“We’ve spent four weeks preparing mentally and physically for a World Cup. Just like with our clubs, you prepare for an opponent and then you have a few days to prepare for your next opponent. It’s a pretty normal situation for us players to go from opponent to opponent and to prepare with video and stat sheets. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for us and we look forward to the next challenge.”

On Oguchi Onyewu’s performance against England:
“It was good to see him play 90 minutes again, and fighting, battling and doing the things that Gooch does so well. We’re happy to have him back."

On preventing the slow starts defensively:
“Well there is always an opponent on the field and last night it wasn’t just any opponent. I wouldn’t say we had a slow start I’d say maybe a small combination of little nerves and of England being really good. I don’t think it’s fair to compare from game to game either. More important was the result at the end of the game. The second half was more important than the first as far as the result. If we score a goal early and give one up late, I think we’re more disappointed than if we give one up early and equalize, then you’re happy with the point. So, at the end of the day, this team is still all about getting results and last night we found a way to achieve that.”

On whether nerves may be settled for players who made their World Cup debut against England:
“I don’t know if this game will be any easier. Certainly some guys will be a little less nervous. To have your first World Cup game against England is difficult, but I think judging by the performance of last night everyone made the most of it. I don’t think it will be any easier but I do think everybody will be gunning for three points come Friday, and that will be our goal.”

On Tim Howard’s performance:
“We know from the past that Tim is an excellent ‘keeper and we’re very happy he’s on our team. Anytime you’re in a big game like that and you get injured, there’s no chance you’re letting anyone taking you off that field. Tim is no different than the rest of it, and it speaks for his character. And I think anyone else on our team who would have been in that same position last night would have tried to finish the game, which speaks a lot about this team’s character which is probably the reason we tied the game last night and we have a point. Having a good goalkeeper at a tournament like this is essential so we’re very happy Tim is on our team and we’re certain he’ll continue with his good performances.”

On the team’s mentality after last night:
“Right now it’s all about recovery but last night guys were excited just to get the World Cup up and running, and getting that game behind us. I think the most important thing people tend to oversee is the importance of a point in your first game. It doesn’t matter who it’s against, a loss in your first game is devastating. So really the most important thing is that point. Guys are really excited now about our chances at making the next round, but more focused on recovery and happy to have this huge game with a very large media presence behind us with a positive result for us.”