Post Match Quotes: USA vs. Colombia
U.S. head coach BOB BRADLEY
On what he took from the camp overall:
“This is the first time since the World Cup that we had a good amount of time to work together, so we were able to identify some things we want to work on, find a better a tempo with the ball. Some of our movement, I think some of the stretches against Poland we did that quite well. We saw some of that in the second half tonight.
It’s a chance to lay out a bit of the schedule going forward, because we have an eye towards the Gold Cup next year, and there’s only a certain number of occasions that we can get everybody together. Most likely the next time that we’ll have a lot of these guys in a camp will be March. So there’s a lot of catch up work to do, and making sure that now we’ve got an eye for how we are going to move ourselves forward.
On whether he was pleased with the performance of newcomers Eric Lichaj and Brek Shea throughout the week:
“I was very pleased. This was really the first time when they came in where they knew there was a chance based upon how it went that they could get on the field. There’s a little bit of nerves, and then the speed of training is typically faster than what they see day in and day out, so you just try to give them some ideas in terms of picking up things a little quicker, how to position themselves a little faster, and now you wait to see over each day how they are able to adjust. When they finally get a chance to get on the field, there are plays where in the first half the game is going fast for Brek, faster than most games he’s used to. All of a sudden it takes him a little longer to figure out where he needs to go, but that’s part of the experience. Eric came on in the second half, and we’ve seen throughout this camp that physically he’s got a good burst of speed. He’s strong, and he came in and competed very well.”
On the play of Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones together:
“We’ve talked a lot about the different options in the center of midfield. We also talked a lot about continuing to look at some variations in how we line guys up. You can spend a long time talking about each spot. If you’re sitting deep in the midfield in a system like we played in the first half as we asked Mo [Maurice Edu] to do, your ability as the team is building out of the back to know how to find spots so when the ball comes to you, you can quickly get it and get the team into a flow, but that takes time to learn as you experience these things. As that happens, you are looking for Michael or Jermaine to have an ability to move. You u don’t want both of them coming back so you have three guys back. I think that happened in the first half at times. If Mo is moving in one direction and he can’t get the ball, and one of others comes back, now you want to see the other one still start to move forward so you’ve got some options. So those are things that need work. Whether it’s those three or others, having some different approaches is important and something we want to build on.
On his impressions of Jermaine Jones:
“His mentality is quite good. You see he’s a competitor. I’ve said all along that I thought that would fit well into the way we do things. I thought in the first game against Poland and in the second half tonight, there is a pretty good understanding between Jermaine and Michael.
On specific areas of improvement he’d like to work on with the team:
"When I talked about things to work on, I gave an example. If we choose to play where we line our midfield up in some different configuration, the way those players move for each other to create angles and options so that as we start to play out of the back we’ve got people in positions so that the flow of the game can be good. When you play four in the back and you have two midfielders that work a little bit side by side, whether then its 4-4-2, or 4-4-1-1, or 4-2-3-1, I think our movements in finding people in spaces. I think we’ve been able to do a very good job at how we start to play out of the back, spread our centerbacks out, start to get our outside backs up in position, use our two center midfielders to rotate and figure out how the first pass can go, and in particular one thing that we’re quite good at is then in the spots that Landon, Clint and Benny play – if you want to call them wide spots – I think we’re quite good at our ability to play forward and find those guys in good positions. In the second half tonight there were a number of times when we started to flow. Clint had come inside, and we were able to play through their team to Clint in a position where he is running at people. But now the next step in this whole thing is what kind of movement happens between the players who are in front of Clint. So can you take a play that as you start to play out of the back, and you’ve put a two or three pass sequence together and you’ve played by a good part of their team, in that moment your ability to get the timing and the running and the moves so that the play can continue and end. The first goal the other night was a very good example of just good timing and good movement. So when I talk about improvement, that’s certainly something that we’re always working on, and when you play in different formations it changes little things on that end."
“Defensively, we constantly work on trying to find a balance of when the ball turns over how good are our reactions, can we do a better job at times of winning the ball back early, and can we also make sure that if we can’t win the ball back early our reorganization is faster and better so that we’re ready to defend and not leave gaps. There’s a lot of those kinds of things that get hammered at, and quite honestly I think the starting points are all good, and then it’s just a matter of on the day how good are we, how good is the other team. When you move around defensively and do some of these things, you feel very good some days, and then if you play Brazil or Spain the next game, you may do all the same things but the speed at which they can execute is that much better. So it’s just trying to build on all those things.”
On the defensive players he had in camp:
“Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo have both had good starts with their club teams, so we get them in for the first game. They both play in the outside spots where they typically play. We still believe that these are players that are important to our national team. It was good to get Mo [Maurice Edu] and Gooch [Oguchi Onyewu] together for a game. Separate from that, it was just good to get Gooch 90 minutes. Tonight, we have an opportunity to bring Heath Pearce back into the mix and I thought against some athletic guys he still held up pretty well. We talked about Eric Lichaj, and we got another 45 minutes for Gooch. I think Clarence Goodson continues to be somebody who has done well enough that when we come into camp we feel there is something there. He had some games leading into the World Cup but then didn’t play during the World Cup. Michael Parkhurst is someone that has had a good stretch with his club in Denmark. Since he got there he’s had a few ups and downs, but this last stretch has been pretty positive. Tonight you can see some of Michael’s ability to read situations and plays. He sniffs things out quite well. The only question that always exists is can he do that at the highest level.”
On the depth at forward, and the importance of Jozy Altidore:
“It’s obvious by what took place at the World Cup and how we consider putting our teams together that we believe that Jozy is a really important player going forward. His World Cup had two sides. I think that his overall efforts in all the games were good, but at the same time as we all know he didn’t get a goal. Forwards have to score goals. In the game against Poland, the early goal was really well constructed, and his run and his touch were excellent. He had some other chances. It’s a game where he should have had more than one goal, but I still look at that as being a pretty good performance. Tonight, I didn’t think he was as sharp. We continue to size up different guys and different options. The bottom line still is that like a lot of countries in the world, we continue to look for players that we think at the international level can really have a presence and score goals. That’s an ongoing search for sure. We feel we’ve got some different options, but at the same time it’s an area where we’d like to improve ourselves.”
On whether putting more players in midfield takes the burden off forwards:
“It depends on your movement. There are teams that line up different ways, and regardless of what they call it, if they get the right movement they create chances. We only gauge things on our ability to create chances. We all know that Landon [Donovan] and Clint [Mathis] are versatile attacking players, so that gives us some flexibility. At the same time, in the last couple years we felt there were some good things developing with Charlie Davies, and sadly that’s on the backburner at the moment. We’ve spent some time with Robbie Findley. There’s some physical qualities, his movement and ability to threaten defenses is good, but putting it all together is still up and down. For Edson Buddle, the jump from MLS to the international level is something that’s difficult. Edson at times has shown a presence, but when the games go faster … we will see over time how he continues to adapt. We could go through a list of other guys. We watch every game and are constantly trying to assess and figure out what the different options are.”
U.S. midfielder CLINT DEMPSEY
On the camp:
“It’s always good to be back in the States. All in all, we tried to play good football. The positive was the first game we were able to score goals. Unfortunately we conceded two, but this game we kept a clean sheet and that’s a step forward.
On the team’s performance in the second half:
“In the second half we were a little bit more confident on the ball and were able to get forward. We didn’t try to play too safe, and took some risks. They sat back and were trying to hit us on the counter. We were still able to get in the pockets and find a few passes. We created a few chances, not many, but at the end of the day we’re happy with the shutout.”
U.S. midfielder MAURICE EDU
On playing in the 4-3-3 formation:
“We tried to adapt to it as best we could. I think if we have more time spent playing in that formation or just work on it a little bit more, the guys will have a better understanding of what their individual roles are. In saying that, if we had asserted ourselves more and were a little bit sharper it could have worked out fine today.”
U.S. midfielder STUART HOLDEN
On the importance of the last two games:
“The important thing was getting the group back together and laying the foundation for the next four years. It’s important to continue the work we started with the World Cup. We have to keep that going now. You saw that there were some new faces. Two guys got their first caps tonight, and Jermaine Jones got his first two. We’re looking to build on that as we move forward.”