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Post-Match Quote Sheet: USA 0, Brazil 3 at FIFA Confederations Cup

USA-Brazil Post-Game Quotes
June 18, 2009 – Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa

U.S Men’s National Team Head Coach BOB BRADLEY
"We had a very nervous, tentative start to the game. An early goal off a set piece really put us in a difficult situation right from the start. In that regard, Brazil is a difficult team to play against always. But when you go down a goal early, when in some ways you follow that up with a bad play on the corner, and they put a counter together, you've really created as hard a situation as you can have. I certainly still felt that in the second half the chance was there. The start of the second half was better, more lively and more determined. Again, a red card in the second match in a row is very disappointing. At times players are trying to push harder, but in the end make a rash decision and it ends up hurting the team for the rest of the game."

On whether losing games against Italy and Brazil will hurt the team’s confidence going into the World Cup next year:
“When we look at both games, we still felt the game against Italy as a whole was a good effort. Now it's a short turnaround before the second game, and there is always that extra challenge when you lose the first game in this type of competition to be able to quickly regroup and understand how important the second game is. Certainly by the way we started the match tonight, that is one of the most important lessons. We remind the team sometimes that you can qualify for the World Cup, you can work and do all the right preparation, but that doesn't guarantee that the first game of the World Cup is going to go your way, and in that moment you need to have the experience of understanding how to keep going. We will need to look hard at this and use it in the right way.”

On the difference between the confident start against Italy and tonight's start against Brazil:
“You look at every factor. It could be anything from the coaching side, to decisions you make about who you put on the field. It could be tactical details about how you start the match. It can be that the match starts and one team has a little more energy, and now they are on top of you quickly, and the ability to fight through that for a few minutes to get your feet on the ground is important. There are different things. When you're starting poorly, if you can turn it around with a play, if you can get forward and get a set piece, you start to get into the game. But when you're punished right away in that period, it only makes it a little bit worse.”

On the decision to start Clint Dempsey in the midfield:
“What we tried to do during the start of the game was to sit Michael Bradley deeper, because of all the movement that Brazil creates with Kaka, Robinho and Ramires. Their movement creates a lot of situations. So we tried to not have Clint all the way in the center but tilted to the left, give him the freedom to find the spaces and use DaMarcus Beasley to help against the ability of Maicon to come forward, since that is going to be a major part of the threat. We felt that DaMarcus had the qualities to give us the width, and the ability to help out there would now give Clint a little bit more freedom to find the game and also give us a little bit deeper presence in midfield to take care of things. When the game starts and you’re tentative, now as it turns out DaMarcus is very deep, and now it terms of having options forward and finding the game we didn't do a good job of that. I think that's all part of getting through the early minutes of the game. Regardless of how you start on the field tactically, if one team has more energy and puts you under pressure you have to get through it. We gave up a lot of set pieces early in the game. We know how good Brazil is on set pieces. Their deliveries are great and their running in the box is great. It’s not a great way to start when you are under pressure from their set pieces. So all those things that accumulated led to a tough start.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
“It was a very tough night for us. As you can imagine, I’m disappointed. They are always going to be the better team. For us, it was about trying to come out and give a good showing of ourselves. The best team doesn’t always win. Today it did. We were going into tonight with a positive attitude, trying to lick our wounds and pick ourselves up from the Italy game. I think we were overpowered. Sometimes you come up against Goliath, and David doesn’t win. That’s just the simple facts.”

On Brazil:
“They are fantastic. When they are firing on all cylinders, as I think they were, it might be special to watch, but it’s a bugger to play against. They cause so many problems.”

On surrendering the first two goals:
“The disappointing thing is I think from a tactical and a preparation stand point, the coaching staff did a fantastic job. They told us to be careful about set pieces. They told us to be careful about Kaka picking a ball up on the counter attack, and that’s what we got hit with. You can’t say the coaches didn’t have us prepared. We just didn’t come out and execute.”

On what to take from these two games:
“This hasn’t been a great two games for us. One of the things I always say is that if we can take this into the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying and apply some of the lessons and not be so naïve in certain instances, then in a way it could be a success. But that’s only if you apply it, not just if we talk about it. We played against the best teams in the world, and it didn’t really work out for us.”

U.S. midfielder LANDON DONOVAN
On whether he was surprised by the team’s start:
“I was. It was not ideal to start that way. We talked about a lot of different things. One was not giving away fouls. Another was being good on set pieces. Those two things cost us early.”

On whether he thought the tactical and personnel changes were the right decisions for this game:
“Yeah. We just didn’t perform. At the end of the day, it’s still 11 v. 11. We didn’t help ourselves by fouls and giving them chances to score. After they score, it doesn’t matter what tactics you are using. It makes the game difficult.”

On what makes Brazil so difficult to play against:
“They pass the ball very well. Athletically, even if you do get a chance to get around them and win a ball, they have players that can make plays to get out of situations, and the next thing you know you are chasing them again. As you saw tonight, there’s a reason why they are some of the most expensive players in the world.”

U.S. midfielder SACHA KLJESTAN
On the play that led to a red card:
“Obviously, I lost the ball in a bad spot and I tried to win it back right away. He played the ball off before I got there, and I got him in the foot. I don’t know if it’s a red card or not, but I’m devastated that I let my team down today.”

On whether the team came out nervous and tentative:
“I thought the game started out slow for us. We didn’t play quick enough. We didn’t pressure them quick enough. Obviously we gave them a couple set pieces early and they punished us. It’s a tough start.”

“Obviously when you play a good opponent you have to be good from the first minute of the game. Like Bob said, we were a little tentative, we didn't get off on the right foot, they scored a quick goal and that was it.”

On what the U.S. can learn:
“It's all about experience. We have a few guys who have been through World Cups and these types of tournaments, and they know what to expect, but as a team and as a whole, we all can gain experience. Getting another year under our belt will help, and we still have a lot of work to do before we play in the World Cup. You learn more from a loss than from a win and from these games we can look at what we need to do to achieve more and get better.”

On the Brazil's second goal:
“The ball just went under my foot, there's no other way I can say it. They had a good counterattack and scored. I was stunned because that's never happened to me before and they ran 90 yards and scored off my mistake.”

“We knew what the situation was, we knew it was a must-win game, and we kind of came out flat. When you come out flat against these guys, this is what happens. Hopefully we learn from it and move on.”