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Post-game Quotes from Head Coach Bob Bradley


On his strategy going into the game:
“When you play Spain, you have to work very hard as a group to defend.  We made a special point of trying to close down Xavi as best we could, knowing that he gets the ball all the time, trying to make him play the ball square or backwards as much possible.  We really felt strongly that when we got the ball we needed to be aggressive.  We needed to play some of the kind of balls behind their defense that could cause them trouble.  We needed to have the confidence that we could keep the ball and move it.  An early goal is a great thing, but it also means there are some periods, because Spain is pushing so hard, it means you are just defending.  We did do a very good job of sealing down the middle of the field.  Most of what they could get was coming through the flanks.  I thought our backline did very well.  In the center, both Jay DeMerit and Oguchi Onyewu had very strong efforts.  Overall, it’s a team effort to make sure the defending is good and to look for moments to get a goal.”

On having Carlos Bocanegra back on the field:
It’s important in games like this to have a player like Carlos on the field.  He’s experienced. He’s one of the most important leaders on the team.  He played left back throughout the year for his club team, so in that regard we felt we could use him there and leave Jay and Gooch in the middle because of they way they were handling things.  It gave us a little more experience.  It gave us some strength, and I think in a big match like this all those things are very important.”

“For us it’s a big night.  The players all work hard.  We constantly talk about reaching higher and trying to accomplish new things. Spain is a team that we have the greatest respect for.  They are a super team.  Their ability to play, pass and move.  We knew it was a challenge, but we felt that we would have a chance and that we could win this game.  We had a real confidence that we could try to make it harder for them than some of the other teams they have played against, and we had the weapons that could cause them some trouble.  We have some speed up front.  We have some guys that come out of the midfield.  I think that those are all things that work for us.”

On the play of Jozy Altidore:
“I think the main thing is that Jozy, like all our players, was really motivated tonight.  The fact that he plays in Spain maybe gave him a little bit of extra motivation.  As you all know, in his first year in Spain playing time was hard to come by.  But you can see that it has motivated him.  He’s eager to show people how we can play, and some of that came out tonight.”

On what the team has learned in the last year since losing to Spain:
“What you learn is how to move forward as a team.  It’s everything that needs to be done on the field to play at a higher level.  It’s making sure that as a team that you are organized.  But that’s not enough.  It means you have to be able to make it harder on an opponent.  You have to be able to play the ball and move.  You have to be able to create chances.  It’s not one thing.  I always use the phrase that it’s a package of everything. I think that in the last year, more and more of our players are starting to realize that when you put all of that together, then you have a chance to be a very good team.  It’s a constant evolution to try and move the thing higher and higher, so that on nights like tonight, you can have a chance to go to the finals, play against the best teams, and feel confident that you not only belong on the field, but you can win.”

On the loss of Michael Bradley:
“Any time a player pours his heart into a game, to see a player lose a chance to play in the final, I think players all around the world understand what that means.  That’s as difficult as it gets.”

On whether this is the biggest victory in U.S. history:
“I think it’s always important to look and see all the different victories along the way that have helped to elevate U.S. Soccer.  It began with the famous one against England, but there’s been many since.  I think we are fortunate tonight that we can add it to the list.”

On whether he thinks the team can win the tournament:
“We’re excited to be in the final and have a chance to win the tournament.  The motivation will be high.  Regardless of whether we play Brazil or the Bafana Bafana, the challenge will be great.  At that point only two teams will have the chance to lift the trophy, and we will be one.”

On the atmosphere at the stadium:
“The atmosphere was great.  Every time we go into a stadium here, the people, the atmosphere, and the passion just lifts us.  Our experience in 2007 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup was a start, but the Confederations Cup has really been special in every way.  Every time we move around and meet new people, we are made to feel like they appreciate our team and appreciate the way we play.  So on that end, it’s been a great experience.”

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