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June 19 Press Conference With Bob Bradley and Jay DeMerit


U.S. MNT Head Coach Bob Bradley
On his thoughts on the disallowed goal a day later:
“On the disallowed goal, I end up feeling badly for the team and our fans because a 3-2 comeback win would have given us a real chance of advancing and would have been something that was pretty special for everybody. It didn’t happen that way, so we put it behind us. We understand that if we win we advance and we understand that there’s a possibility that we still win our group. We have moved forward.”

On why the team starts so slowly:
“The way it works is that if you get scored on first, everyone thinks it’s a bad start. In actuality, I don’t think the first 12 minutes were bad. I think we were doing a lot of the right things to play ourselves into the game. I think we found a way to start to look for seams in their defense, I think we had played some balls behind their defense that had started to open things up a little bit. In the process, there’s that feeling out period and I think we were doing a lot of the right things. They put a play together…our reactions maybe are a hair slow; at the end it’s a great shot. Soccer is a game that often times things change based on somebody making a play. It’s frustrating when you go through a stretch when it seems like in that feeling out process of the game you find yourselves behind too often, so we’re all looking hard at that.”

On whether FIFA should require referees to publicly explain their decisions similar to other sports:
“We’re all accustomed to the fact that if it’s an NFL playoff game and there’s a call that’s in question there will be statement by the league from the referees, but FIFA operates differently and soccer – world football – is a different game. We could have a long discussion with regards to whether or not you’re offside if a little part of your body is ahead a guy or behind, so I think there are some aspects of it that are not made 100 percent clear which adds to the discussion of the game. From our end, we get used to that. We all have friends and family that ask us the same questions that most of you ask us and you end up saying that’s just how it is sometimes and you move on and get ready for the next game.”

On what he’s learned from the first two games that will help against Algeria:
“I thought our midfield play against England was really good. You play against a very good team in the center of the field with guys like Gerrard and Lampard and I thought this was an even battle and gave us a real chance to win the game. We start the game yesterday and expect early on there’s a little bit more of a tactical side to it – can you start to find a way to open them up and find some of the channels for passes. In the midst of all that, if it’s 0-0 at halftime or 1-1 at halftime, there’s no discussion. The change that is made at halftime is because there is a real need to press the game, not because Jose (Torres) hadn’t done well or anything else. Now our ability to push the game, impose ourselves knowing that the game is going to open up a little bit more I thought that fit more to what (Maurice Edu) brings to the table. In the second half of the game when we’ve got to push the game, I felt that the work of the whole team, the work of the midfielders to push, close down, try and win the ball back was really good. Those were all positives.”

On if the lineup changes in the second half will influence his starting lineup for the next match against Algeria:
“Those are factors. We always take into account the different variables, everything from how the last game went to what we expect the next game to look like. We make changes in a game based upon how the game is going and what you think different players bring to the game at that moment. As I just indicated, when we made some changes at halftime it was with a clear idea that we were going to push the game and that the players and the changes would fit that. As you get ready for Algeria you look hard to see what that game will be like and now you assess where we are as a team with injuries, fitness and fatigue and make decisions.

On Landon Donovan’s performance:
“The goal came quick so that was the best thing that could happen for us at the start of the second half. I think we came out of the locker room committed that we were going to push things and when you get the goal so quickly it’s impetus to just keep going. Landon was a big part of that.”

On Jozy Altidore’s performance:
“Jozy is still a guy that in tough games continues to mature and show that he gives a lot when he’s on the field. As the game went on yesterday and the team as a whole is pushing and pushing, Jozy’s ability up front to stay involved, fight for balls, keep plays alive, be a threat to get behind people, those are all big pluses. His maturity is great to see and you always test yourself by how you play in big games. He continues to take more responsibility and keep going.”

On Algeria’s performance against England:
“Algeria is a team that has a way of getting a lot of numbers behind the ball, but they still are talented going forward with some of the skill and physical abilities of key individuals. As the game goes on England pushes harder so Algeria pushes deeper but that doesn’t mean England is going to win because there is still that possibility of Algeria putting something together and getting at them. It was an interesting game. It shows even when you have a talented attacking team like England, when you play against a team that is organized, numbers behind the ball, breaking them down, making the right play, to get a goal is still not always easy. Everything is to be played for in the group.”

On whether it’s possible a team can play at the high tempo like the second half against Slovenia for 90 minutes:
“It’s possible. Goals change what happens on the field, so I’m not sure that from the first minute you can play like that. We believe in the fact that early in the game that with some mix of passes both over the top and through the middle, you start to see how the game develops. The ebbs and flows of 90 minutes, those are interesting things. Every game is a little different. You can talk about so many games where at the end of the day the scoreline might be one-sided and everyone talks about how great one team was, when in actuality the game is right there on the edge for 30 or 40 minutes, and the team that ends up winning might not have been the better team, but then a play at right moment, momentum, extra sharpness when the other team takes chances, those moments make the difference. This is the part of our game you try to get across to players - that you want to have an idea of how the game will be played, but you have to have an ability to be able to take the game as it comes. You can’t always plan out everything that is going to happen.”

On the options at forward with Robbie Findley suspended for the match against Algeria:
“We used Edson Buddle as a reserve in the first game, and I thought he gave us a good effort. In the second half of the last game, we pushed Clint up closer to Jozy, and I thought he did a good job. When we talk about in the right moments coming underneath, finding seams, helping win balls in the air, I think those are things that Clint has shown he does well when he plays in that role. Last night we chose Herculez Gomez. He brings a little different dimension. He’s very mobile. I think we’ve got some different choices and some good ones. We’ll take a look at our options and see what makes sense.”

On Algeria’s attack:
“They have some talented players and some physically gifted players. As they go forward and get the right numbers in the attack, they have the ability to create one-on-ones and go by you. They have found a balance of defending with numbers, and they take their chances well with some of their creative attacking players going forward. It means that our ability to be disciplined and to finish attacks is going to be very important.”

U.S. MNT Defender Jay DeMerit
On why the team starts so slowly:
“Ultimately, we prepare the same way every game so it’s hard to put your finger on one single thing. Warm-ups have been fine, our attitude going out of the tunnel has been fine, so I don’t think there is one thing we can put our finger on. We are a team that really responds to that, so I suppose that is the positive side of starting not as well as we expect to. We tend to use those types of things as more of a fuel to our fire. Now, I guess the positive side again thinking about that is let’s think about the games where we actually start really well then what will happen. That’s when victories will start to happen, so looking forward that should be our goal, to continue watch the film and maybe find where to put your finger on those types of things and make sure that as we move forward that less and less of those types of things happen.”

On the belief that the U.S. will advance out of the group:
“Having the attitude is important. As a team, you have to have that belief. Going into the final game we have to believe we are going to get out of the group. All the teams have proved they can play with one another. It just comes down to single moments. It’s going to be the team that takes those opportunities when they get them that goes through. We have proved over 90 minutes that we can create and have opportunities to score. In this game, we’re going to have to take those chances.”

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