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Post-Game Quote Sheet: MNT vs. Scotland

Post-Game Quote Sheet: MNT vs. Scotland
International Friendly
Nov. 15, 2013

U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
On the match:
“Overall, a fair result. Scotland had a couple of good chances, and we had Tim Howard, especially on that free kick. We created enough chances, especially toward the end to score a goal and maybe get away with a win. I liked the improvement in the second half. I liked the higher tempo, the higher rhythm. First half, I didn’t like. We were too slow, not urgent enough, so we corrected a couple things at halftime, and it looked much better in the second half.”

On the match being a worthwhile fixture: 
“It was great to be here to have this game, we really appreciate that. I think you can clearly see that is a Scottish side on its way up. They confirmed what we saw in the last couple months. It’s a team that can hurt you at any moment with good players, good individuals and they have a certain presence on the field. They were ready for the fight; therefore, I think it’s a fair result.”

On moving Aron Johannsson forward to play closer to Jozy Altidore: 
“Those are things we are working on, bringing [Johannsson] on in the beginning, bringing him on as a sub. He’s still fresh to our team, he’s getting more and more comfortable in the group, and I think you see the qualities that he has. It’s good to see that process. Now, if we want to do that from the beginning or as a sub, it’s important to see that he has the confidence, the qualities to step it up. It’s really nice to watch.”

On Jozy Altidore’s performance: 
“Jozy’s good. He’s been battling upfront against two center backs and he gave them a real work load tonight. It’s better if you give him three or four clear chances, and he puts one in. That was not the case. He didn’t have those chances.”

On the impact of Brek Shea: 
“In the first half, both teams tested the ground a little bit too long. We adjusted to the tempo overall, and we said we wanted to play out of the back with urgency, with speed and we played out of the back but not with urgency. In the second half – we mentioned that at halftime – the players came on and were hungry, they wanted to prove a point. I think Brek brought a lot of energy to the field and did well. He can surprise people, he can create something out of nothing and we are glad to have him back.”

On Sacha Klestjan getting the start: 
“He did OK, but it was tricky for him because we wanted him to play in between their two lines, the back line and the midfield line, and to find him in those spaces closer to Jozy, rather than further back. His instinct tells him to drop a little deeper because that’s what he does at Anderlecht, and then suddenly we had three midfielders in the same area with Jermaine [Jones], Michael [Bradley] and Sacha. That’s not what we wanted. We wanted to find people between their two lines of four, so it was a bit tricky for him.”

On Geoff Cameron playing center back rather than right back: 
“It’s good to know that he can play right back, as well. We see him more as a center back than a right back, but if necessary, it’s a good option to have to throw him in as a right back as well. Whatever the case is at Stoke City, so be it. It’s Mark Hughes’ decision, it’s totally fine. We see him more as a center back.”

On Eric Lichaj and the team’s options at fullback: 
“We wanted to give Eric a chance to come in here, and I also personally wanted the chance to see him. It’s one thing seeing him in games at Nottingham Forest and another seeing him in this group. How does he fit in? He’s a great guy, the team likes him, there’s good chemistry. You also want to give him an opportunity to play. Our right back is Brad Evans. He has that spot right now. Behind Brad, there’s some space. We tried different people out there. Geoff Cameron plays that role, Michael Orozco can play it. We’ll see in the next couple of months what happens with Steve Cherundolo and so on. It’s important to have Eric here. He hasn’t been here under my guidance, but I know all the other guys. Every training session helps me and my coaches evaluate him. He does well with his club. He’s in a good run, so we thought it was good timing.”

U.S. MNT Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On the keys to keeping a clean sheet: 
“We matched up with their key players well. We identified them earlier in the week. We were resilient. I thought in the attack we probably created a couple more chances than they did, but over the nil-nil it was probably a fair result. Defensively, you always want to build on good results, good performances and a clean sheet. That’s what you need to feel good about yourself.”

On what the group can take from the match into its final game of the year against Austria: 
“I think away from home we were resilient, and we got a draw. It’s not the end of the world. It’s still a good result for us. I believe if you draw a game and win the next one it becomes a really good week. We’re going to Austria, another tough game away from home. If we can get the victory and end on a high, everybody’s going to feel really good.”

On returning to the field for the U.S. MNT after a two-year absence: 
“I was excited to get on. There were a lot of familiar faces I’ve played with on the team, and also in Scotland, there are players I’ve played with before, so it was exciting to get on. Hopefully, I can get some more minutes in the next game.”

On the overall match: 
“The few chances we did create, we should have taken them better. Maybe on another day they all go in. Today they didn’t, and it was an evenly matched game throughout both halves. Personally, when I came on, I didn’t want to go forward too much because I didn’t want to give up the goal, so I was in two minds. We did alright, got the draw.”

On the difficulty of breaking Scotland down offensively: 
“It was a tough game. We started off all right, but as the game went on, we were a little bit too slow with our movement off the ball and even with the ball. We weren’t sharp enough, tempo wasn’t high enough, and maybe the intensity just wasn’t there. I guess that’s what a friendly match like this will do. There were some bright things to take from this game, like always, some positive things. We got a result away so it’s not too bad.”

On the positives the team can take into the Austria match: 
“We created some chances, did some alright to good things when we had the ball in possession, but the key was the tempo. If we raise the tempo a little bit by moving off the ball a lot more, find those players in between the gaps and play quicker, it would help our game.”

On creating some chances toward the end: 
“That’s sometimes what happens in games when it goes on and there’s a few minutes left in the game. It starts to open up a little bit, and I think I took advantage of that and got in a few opportunities to score goals.”

On the difficulty of breaking Scotland down offensively: 
“Like we knew before the game, they’re a very physical, strong team. They’re compact in their defense so they’re hard to break down. Unfortunately we couldn’t do it today.”