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Pre-Game Quote Sheet: Head Coach Bob Bradley and Captain Carlos Bocanegra Preview FIFA Confederations Cup Final Against Brazil


U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach BOB BRADLEY

On Jay DeMerit stepping into a role in the starting eleven:
“We've been anxious to see Jay, to see how we would work him in and how he would do. We've brought him into a lot of camps but there have been a number of times when he's had little niggling injuries, things that have kept him from being 100 percent in that camp and therefore made it difficult to use him in the game. At the same time I think the partnership between [Onyewu] and Carlos [Bocanegra] has been a good one. There's always been a strong feeling that Jay is a competitor and that he's a guy that when he's on the field he competes and gets after the game defensively and has a good balance between being hard and aggressive and making good decisions. It's worked out that when Carlos had a bit of an injury, Jay has stepped in and done really well.”

On Brazil's semifinal victory last night:
“We watched last night and we have watched Brazil so many times before this tournament and in this tournament. The first thing you take away is still the talent and the ability of their players to create opportunities the way they move. Last night I thought South Africa did a very good job in terms of frustrating Brazil. They [South Africa] kept the distance between their backline and their midfield very tight so Robinho and Kaká started drifting away from those areas to try to find the ball. It took a great free kick by Dani Alves to secure Brazil's place in the final.”

On Brazil’s strengths:
“When you play Brazil the first thing you notice is the talent and the way they go forward. In particular, they have been very good coming from deep positions where they have space, and the speed of Kaka and Robinho comes into play and those are dangerous situations. And, they have also been very good on set pieces. It’s in these two areas that we understand how important it is, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t see the other things. The midfield is strong, their defense is strong.”

On Michael Bradley's absence for the final and who will replace him:
“We've thought about it and we have a few candidates. I think if you look at what has taken place in this tournament, the lead candidate is Benny Feilhaber. When Ricardo [Clark] got red carded against Italy, Benny played in the middle with Michael. If you go back to the second half of our qualifier in Chicago, Benny and Ricardo played to together so I think that there is a good understanding there. As always you wait until the end and size up everything before making the final decision.”

On the possibility of a seed in the World Cup and the chance to play against top teams:
“We know how those things work so the opportunity whenever we play against the top ranked teams in the world becomes very important. If you can do it in a major competition than for sure that will help. At this point within the team the way that we talk is simply the fact that when you start at the beginning of any tournament every team wants to get out of the first round and then at the end have the chance to play for the Championship. The opportunity to play in the final is special for us and we look forward to it.”

U.S. Defender and Captain CARLOS BOCANEGRA

On the Jay Demerit stepping into his central position:
“For the past year with Gooch we’ve played quite a few games together and gotten comfortable in the middle. Saying that, I went down at the beginning of the tournament with a little bit of an injury and Jay came in and I think he’s done fantastically. It’s kind of what soccer is about – take your chances. He had an opportunity to come in and play and he’s shown really well. He’s done a good job along with Gooch and all the guys in general of having a good tournament and getting us this far along.”

On playing on the left and dealing with Maicon:
“I don’t mind playing out there. I play there a lot with my club team. And dealing with Maicon coming forward quite a bit, it’s not going to be too different than Sergio Ramos getting forward quite a bit in that space against Spain. So, he’s definitely one of their important players joining into the attack, but they have quite a few others that we’re going to have to watch out for as well.”

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