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U.S. MNT vs. Cuba Post-Match Quotes

U.S. head coach BOB BRADLEY

On the closeness of the game:
“Cuba did a good job of responding after their first game.  It meant a lot to them in this game, and as a result it was a tight, difficult game. “

On the positioning of Landon Donovan in the game as central midfielder:
“We played tonight more out of a 4-2-3-1 and tried to take advantage of DaMarcus Beasley, Landon and Clint Dempsey with Brian Ching playing just a little bit higher.  I don’t think it was a big change, even from the second half against Guatemala, where we at least started where Landon had pushed to play with Brian and Clint had moved to the right.  The flexibility is good for us.”

On whether the U.S. team applauding the Cuban fans after the game was a spontaneous gesture:
“It was.  We’ve been treated very well here.  People have been very friendly, and we appreciate the way that we’ve been treated on this entire trip and at the game tonight.”

On what he expected coming into the match of the Cuban team:
“We know the Cuban team well.  Our expectations were that they would come back after the first game with a strong mentality and have a good crowd behind them.”

On whether he is considering altering his two holding-midfielder strategy:
”Again, in the movement of the game I don’t consider that they are both holding midfielders.  We encourage movement.  We encourage the idea that one can move out and join in [the attack], but when the ball turns over we feel that their ability to work together is important to make it difficult for the other team and to cut down on their chances.  Like most teams in the world, we have attacking players who have the freedom to be moving and active, and we feel with Clint, DaMarcus and Landon in those kinds of positions the idea is still that we can find them in good positions, get the right numbers and be dangerous.”

U.S. goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On the save he made in the 88th minute:
“It was tough ball to deal with for Carlos.  He took a swing at it, and it came off his leg. Those things happen, and you have to be prepared for that type of situation.  Overall tonight, I thought we did a good job of getting around the ball for each other.”

On having six points after two games:
“Two wins for us doesn’t get better than that, so that’s what we’re building on. We’re going home now to Chicago so we’re excited. If we get three more points there we’ll set ourselves up nice.”

U.S. forward BRIAN CHING
On the goal:
“Clint made a good play on it and I just tried to position myself and get a good rebound. I saw Clint turn and touched it to him, and he finished it off perfectly.”

On having six points after two games:
 “It’s exactly where we wanted to be. Two tough road games. Someone was saying it’s the first time we’ve won three road games in CONCACAF in a row, so an accomplishment there. Hopefully, we can build on that and get another three points at home.”

U.S. midfielder CLINT DEMPSEY
On the goal:
“I thought Brian Ching did a good job of holding the ball up and laying it off to me. I just tried to get a good first touch to open myself up to the goal and just hit it hard and low near post, and that’s a difficult one for the ‘keeper to save. It was definitely good to get a third qualifying goal and I’m just looking to build upon that.”

On the game:
“It was a tough game. Obviously both teams had to play with (the field conditions), but it wasn’t a flat surface. Even if you hit a good pass, the ball can bounce up on you and when it’s slick, too, that just adds on top of it. I thought in the first half neither team did too well with the conditions. In the second half things calmed down a little bit more and I thought we did a better job of passing the ball around, keeping possession and making it more difficult for them.”

U.S. midfielder LANDON DONOVAN
On managing the game:
“We had long stretches where we kept the ball for a long time. The thought is if they’re losing at some point they have to come and get the ball and try and get the game. They were content to sit back and almost say it’s almost better to losing 1-0 than 3-0, so at that point we just needed to be professional and take the win. If they would ever had come, it would have been a different game. We could have opened the game and made it a lot worse, but a win is a win.”

On the reception in Cuba:
“Since the day we got here, everyone’s been great. It wasn’t bad in any way. Everyone was nice to us and respectful. The players were very respectful. It wasn’t a nasty game, just a hard-fought, good game. Everyone has been great.”