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U.S. WNT Quote Sheet - USA vs. England

Post-Match Quote Sheet
U.S. 3, England 0
2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Quarterfinal
Tianjin, China - Sept. 22, 2007

U.S. head coach GREG RYAN
On his message to the team at halftime:
“They finished the first half playing much, much better. I think the last 15 minutes of the first half we really settled down and started playing soccer. So it really was just encouraging them to keep doing what they were doing, which was changing the field and opening the space on the field and just going after them, and saying it’s going to be us going forward, not them. They are the ones that did it, they get all the credit for it, and I’m very proud about how they responded coming out that strong after halftime.”

On scoring first:
“The first goal is always critical in a match. It was difficult for England to get their game going after that because they lost the momentum and we kept pressing and going after them. It’s very difficult to play from one down, but it was great for us. We were able to put in one and then two others fairly quickly.”

On Leslie Osborne’s play:
“Leslie had a fantastic game, both defensively and helping us possess and win balls in the air. We play a zone in the midfield, but today we changed that a little bit and had her follow Kelly Smith when Kelly was in positions where she could receive the ball. Leslie did a great job of keeping Kelly as quiet as you can keep a very talented player like Kelly Smith. She was able to keep her under pressure where she didn’t get as many opportunities to run at our back line. Leslie did a good job on Svensson from Sweden and then again today in that role against Kelly Smith. I think she was a key to both victories.”

On Kristine Lilly:
“Kristine has really been what we call the cornerstone of this team, the player that we’ve built this team around, the player to lead this team, and on the field she leads by example and off the field she is a great leader for this team. We are just so fortunate to have a player with her experience level, and her passion for the game and compassion for her teammates. I can’t imagine this team without her.”

On the England defense:
“I thought that England defended very well tonight, and in the first half especially. The first goal did set them back a little bit, but I look at that back line and I think that is a very strong back line led by White and I really like the other backs they’ve got. Soccer is a funny game. When the breaks come, if you put your chances away like we did tonight, even if they are playing well it’s hard to recover.”

On the slow start:
“As long as we are strong finishers I think we’ll be OK, but tonight I would have liked to see us start better than we did. Maybe it’s just that we are a young team. We have a lot of new players, and hopefully this game gives us more confidence to step out on the field in the first minute and bring our best soccer from early in the match.”

On being named Player of the Match by the FIFA technical committee:
“I’m a forward, my job is to score goals, assist goals and as the captain help to lead the team. But today, I think you saw everyone make an impact. It wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about Abby, it wasn’t about Kate or Cat, it was about this team and I think we give a good performance when we play together like we did today.”

On the flow of the game:
“What happened in the first half is that we did create chances, and I think we held strong. I knew we were going to get one, it was just a matter of time. We came right off the bat in the second half and that was huge for us.”

On her goal:
“If I had missed it I just would have gone right home from there. It was great. Cat sent a long ball and the ‘keeper, with the grass, it skipped over her head. It was tapping it in. It felt good, and it felt good more so for this team. To win a decisive game 3-0 was really good for this group.”

On advancing to the semifinals:
“It feels good to be where we are, it feels good to be going to the semifinals with this group. I’m real proud of these guys today. What we did, together as a team, was huge going into the semifinals.”

On the difference in the team against England:
“We started to play more soccer today. We were knocking the ball around. People were touching the ball. It wasn’t just long balls. We got a chance to play more, and that for us is huge.”

U.S. midfielder SHANNON BOXX
On her goal:
“Cat actually got the tackle in, it popped right in front of me and my thought was just to take a quick shot. I hit it low which is what the midfielders have been working on and the field, I think helped. It skipped in. It was nice and quick.”

On the scoreless first half:
“We weren’t concerned at all. I think that we were playing well and as the game went on we were peaking, peaking, peaking through that first half. When it first started we weren’t possessing as well. As the half ended, we were possessing well. We knew that we were going to continue to play and get forward. It was just a matter of time.”

On scoring the first goal:
“Huge. We needed that goal. We needed it early. It was early in the second half so that now we were saying we can just keep going forward. The first goal is always the hardest. Once you can get one you can continue to get more and that’s what happened.”

On Leslie Osborne’s play:
“Leslie has just done a great job, and we have realized that we work very well together, communicating on the field. She had the great job of marking Kelly Smith most of the time, and I don’t think Kelly did much, and that was because of Leslie and the defenders helping to contain her.”

On scoring on set pieces:
“We’re always good on set pieces so you know it’s going to come. It’s just getting the service there, and tonight it was there. I think it was there the other night. I missed a near-post shot last game. It just feels good, it was great to have Abby score that goal. She’s so good on them, and that started our streak right there. We got the one, and then two and three … game.”

On the game:
“We felt like we played well enough in the first half to get a couple of good goals. However, England put a good performance on. We’ve just been due. We feel like this team hasn’t shown it’s best, and the only way we can show our best is to score goals and win games. I think we came out in the second half and proved that today.”

On the upcoming semifinal:
“It depends on who were are playing, but I think we just need to continue on the confidence roll. I think that we gained a lot of confidence in the first half of this game and going into the second half. The group that we had was one of the most difficult groups in the tournament and having come out of that group on top gave us confidence that maybe we didn’t even realize we were gaining. In the second half, we took it to them and put three goals away. We just keep continuing to build on that confidence and I think we will be OK.”

U.S. midfielder LESLIE OSBORNE
On playing with Shannon Boxx:
“Something just clicks with us, our communication. We feel comfortable with each other out there. We read off each other really well, and we played offense and defense tonight. We’re not just two defensive midfielders. We can keep the ball for us, possess, and we’re not going to let anything past us. It’s just fun out there, and we enjoy being out there together.”

On her assist on Lilly’s goal:
“In the first half, Lil said that when the ball gets switched, the ball diagonally is on. And in the second half she played that ball that she said and it was exactly on. Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for the ‘keeper, she played it badly. The field was a little slippery, and it skipped right over her head and Lil ran onto it and it was an easy goal.”

On gaining confidence before halftime:
“We had a lot of confidence in the locker room. We knew that England came out and they were really pushing on us, but the last 15-20 minutes of the half we started to really get into a rhythm, and I think especially toward the last 5-10 minutes we were really figuring out how to beat their system. When you end a half like that, you get a little confidence and a little momentum, and it showed because we scored in the first five minutes of the second half.”

On how they learned to beat the England defense:
“We learned that playing around in the back, quick switches, not forcing it and then playing to our forward’s feet on the outside or if we switch, playing the ball over the top diagonally. In a 4-5-1, they are sitting back a little bit and we have to make quick changes and then look for it.”