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Post-Match Quotes: U.S. WNT 2, Italy 0


U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage

On dealing with high pressure during a physical game:
“You win in different ways. Against China was one way, and against Italy was another way. You are playing against a physical team, and during the game, it is a lot of hard work. And that’s one part of soccer, so it’s good to get out with a win and deal with the feeling that (the game) is not easy. You have to be precise with your passes, you have to precise receiving the ball and that is a good experience for all of us. Even for me as a coach, sometimes I say, ‘just play it behind the back line’ which would an easier way to play, but that’s not the way we want to play and that’s not the way we can win the big games in the future.”

On keeping possession against a pressuring team:
“That’s something we need a bit more of so we can settle down…we should slow down the tempo and knock it around a little bit more, and make them run more. So it was an important game for us, and of course an important win.”

On the team’s rhythm:
“After the halftime talk, we changed to a (traditional) 4-4-2, and asked them to knock the ball around a little bit more even though they put us under pressure. They tried at least and the next game we will do it even better.”

On the difference between Italy and China:
“This team is more aggressive for sure, and the three players up top did a great job of making our back four busy. I wouldn’t say they are better or worse, they are different teams.”

On the play of U.S. captain and Soccer Mom Christie Rampone:
“Christie Rampone, what a mother! I feel so comfortable sitting on the bench. She deals with every situation. She is a great role model for this team and for me.”

On making all six subs for the second game in a row:
“Before the game, I tell (the players on the bench), play the game in your head. And when you get in there, you are prepared. It is important to give them minutes and we need a strong bench when we got to Mexico for the qualifications so everyone should feel they are a big part in this team.”

On the match:
“In the midfield, we didn’t have that much time. As soon as we got into the attacking the third, it became more interesting. (The U.S. team) had a tough time, but we got the early goal and a great goal from Heather. That was pretty sweet.”

On if the match against Norway will be more like the China game or the Italy game:
“Something in between. The way Norway plays, some kind of 4-3-3, they will challenge our center backs a lot with the balls played into their forwards. I think it’s about the space in the middle this time, who will win the midfield.”

U.S. forward Heather O’Reilly

On the match:
“It was really a battle. The Italian team was definitely inspired and motivated for this game for the whole 90 minutes. It’s not like they lost their desire at any point. It was a very intense game, so it was really a battle for us to calm it down, ping it around, and keep possession, and I don’t think we did that quite as much as we would have liked, but we won 2-0, it’s a great win and we’re moving on towards Norway.”

On playing more of a flank midfield role under Sundhage:
“I am liking it. It’s not too much different from playing a right winger in a three-front, but I get to play-make a little bit more, which is fun for me, because as much as I like scoring goals, it’s also neat to set things up. But more than anything, we are getting variety in the attack. Pia is really looking for us not to stay so stagnant in our system, but get a lot of overlaps and people changes positions and lines, so I think we are continuing to improve on that.”

On five players scored the USA’s six goals so far:
“The wealth is definitely getting spread around and I think that’s a credit to how much we are moving for each other and how everyone is looking to step up and make things happen. We are less predictable now.”

On her goal:
“I love scoring goals. I think a lot of times I put a little bit too much pressure on myself and I’m a little bit tense, especially around the box. But today, I played to my strengths and I took the ball down and beat the defender with my acceleration, which is one of my attributes, and tucked it home. It’s something that your practice over and over again in training and it’s nice to see it show up here today in the game.”

U.S. captain Christie Rampone

On the value of winning a tight match:
“It was a great match for us because it challenges us. We seemed a little stressed at times…but we just have to stay composed. We’re a good team. We’re good on the ball and we just have to believe that and I think these games test us, which is good going into qualifying because at times like that we have to compose ourselves and settle down.”

On her role organizing the back line:
“It’s my job in the game, especially being in the center back, I can see the whole field and I know when we are trying to take a break when we shouldn’t be. So I have to get on everyone to refocus, especially when they get a free kick, and luckily (the one on which Italy scored) was offside. Those are important times, throw-ins and free kicks, when we definitely have to get back and get set.”

U.S. midfielder Lindsay Tarpley

On the match:
“Italy was a very good team. They have a lot of personalities and they are very aggressive, so it was good for us to try to solve it. We haven’t played against a team like this in a while so I thought it was really good, especially for the younger players to see what this is like.”

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