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Quote Sheet: U.S. U-23 MNT 3, Canada 0


U.S. Head Coach PETER NOWAK

On the importance of getting the second goal:
“The most important thing is that we still keep our shape and that we keep our composure and make sure to play our game, and the boys executed it almost perfectly. I was really proud and pleased to see everything that we had discussed before this kind of tournament come to fruition. I think that from the beginning to the end there was only one team that was going to win this game and it was us.”

On finishing their chances:
“Today we finished our chances. We probably could have finished off a couple more chances, but that’s football. Today we scored off of most of our chances and that’s why we won the game today.”

On facing Honduras in the final:
“We knew from the beginning that they were going to be a very hard team to play against. We did play a very hard game on Saturday, which at the end of the day we won. Both teams are going to the Olympics, both teams deserve the chance to play for first place, but we are already there. It’s going to be a good game for all of us just to keep the rhythm. And it’s not going to be a difficult game like a real final, but it’s still going to be very competitive because Honduras is very competitive and they showed a lot of heart tonight winning the semifinal in PK’s.”

On being called the top team in CONCACAF:
“You still have to go out and play your best. When we met for the first time we put a lot of emphasis on that, because we do get comments like that, but it still requires hard work. I tell the boys about believing in themselves, the group, and the team spirit. I think that they showed a lot of heart and unity during these 60 days. I think it is more important to see and create something that is going to be remembered for us, for many, many years. But first things first, we’re very fortunate to understand this whole concept of team and try and fit into the whole environment, and we’re trying to do the same thing with the senior team with Coach Bradley, and then we’ll follow up with the rest of the age groups. There’s still a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re going in the right direction.”

On Freddy and how he has matured:
“I think Freddy is starting to realize not only his potential, but starting to see the things that we’ve been talking about for the last three or four years. We did work together for three years, we still worked together last year when he joined the senior team, and I did understand from the beginning that for a young man like Freddy at that time it was a little difficult for him to understand the bigger picture. I think he’s started to believe not only what I’ve been saying; he’s started to believe in his ability to change the game. Sometimes those special players have this kind of ability, but there is still hard work behind it. And going back to the first question about the goals, I think they put enormous pressure on the backline and that was the key to success tonight. He and Jozy put a lot of pressure on the center backs, and that’s why we got those free kicks. If you play against a team that really wants to defend and look for one chance, I think those two situations [first and second goal], completely changed the game. As I said before, this is a good sign for the future, and I’m sure that Freddy knows that he is a part of this team, he is a part of the senior team, and I’m really proud with how they worked together with Jozy.”

On the significance of this compared to his other accomplishments:
“Everything is special. This is the biggest one in my short career as coach. Even though winning the MLS Cup with D.C. United was with a very special group of players, I feel the same way about this group. There’s not a better feeling then going back to the locker room and having the guys waiting for you, waiting for direction and believing in what we’re trying to accomplish. I’m very proud and pleased about this group of players.”

U.S. forward and Sierra Mist Man of the Match Freddy Adu
On the goals he scored:
“Jozy made two great runs that resulted in two free kicks. Peter, myself, Lubos, and the rest of the coaching staff stressed that in those kinds of situations you want to hit that ball hard, far post, on goal, and have enough guys making real hard runs into the box because if the keeper doesn’t touch it then that ball is going in the back of the net. Today, Sacha made a great run and sort of faked out the keeper, and it just went in. The other time, Jozy made a great run and the build up was great. We had a little bit of possession and the ball ended up at Jozy’s feet. He turned around ran at the guy and got the foul. And that was it.”

On how he feels about going to the Olympics and what this means to him:
“It’s a great, great honor. My favorite Olympian is Michael Johnson, who I keep in touch with. He’s been my advisor. The Olympics are great. Everybody watches it. I watched it growing up, and it’s just an honor to represent your country in such a big event. I’m proud to have the opportunity to go, especially to go there with this group of guys.”

U.S. Goalkeeper Chris Seitz
On qualifying for the Olympics:
“It is an honor. Growing up in America, it’s what everyone looks forward to, and the feeling is amazing. To be able to qualify for soccer is an unbelievable feeling.”

On the team’s third shutout in a row:
“We came out and we knew Canada was going to be good. They were going to take a lot of shots and do a lot of things on the field that would test us. But we came prepared, we played our game and did the things we needed to do to get the result. We got a 3-0 shutout and that’s as much as we could ask for.”

U.S. Midfielder Stuart Holden
On what it feels like to qualify for the Olympics:
“It feels amazing and it is kind of a relief. We’ve put in all this hard work over the last couple of months and now we’ve finally accomplished our goal – we’re going to Beijing. We still have one more game on Sunday and it’d be nice to get a win, but obviously the main goal has been accomplished. I thought we came out from the start and it was a team effort. Tonight, under the circumstances, we came out and played what was probably our best game of the tournament. It feels good to play that well in that important of a game and qualify for the Olympics.”

On the USA’s third goal:
“I think there were a couple interchanges in the middle between Dax (McCarty) and Freddy (Adu), and Freddy found me on the left. Sacha (Kljestan) made a great run and I found him at the near post. He took a great touch and it was a great finish on the goal. It was icing on the cake at 3-0.”

On the atmosphere in the locker room:
“It was a great atmosphere everybody was just really happy, chanting USA and we were all just thrilled to have finally won. Hopefully we can do a little bit more celebrating before the week is over.”

U.S. Midfielder Sacha Kljestan
On the match:
“Obviously we started out well. We put some pressure on them early and then Freddy’s goal really changed the game for us and it opened up after that. Canada didn’t sit back like the previous three games we had and the field was more open for us. There was more time for us to play and that boded well for our team.”

On qualifying:
“It’s exciting. Everyone is really happy right now, we’re all really confident that we’re going to Beijing now. We’re happy to finally celebrate with Coach Nowak and we’re all just excited. The whole tournament our team unity was good. Our mentality was there and we were focused for all 90 minutes no matter what happened. The way we defended tonight was really good – we didn’t give up anything and that really frustrated them. It really opened things up on the counter, like we saw on the last goal.”

On his goal:
“Somebody picked the ball up in midfield and we had a couple of touches. Stuart was wide open on the left and Freddy played him a nice ball, I just made a run up the middle and Stuart played me. I took a touch past the defender and opened up like I was going to go far post but put it near post instead. After that it was just all excitement and a little bit of relief. At that point it was finally over – there was no way they were going to come back down 3 goals in the final 10 minutes. I was happy and it was like we booked our ticket right when that goal went in.”

U.S. Defender Marvell Wynne
On the game:
“I think all the guys came out hard and we played well, we played our game. In the first half we controlled the ball and had them on their heels the whole time.”

On qualifying for the Olympics:
“It’s a dream come true and I’d like to live in this moment forever. Growing up, watching the Olympics, knowing you’re watching the best in the world and to think that now I can say “Hey mom, I’m an Olympian!” It feels good, it’s a once in a lifetime experience and I couldn’t be happier right now.”

On the play of Spector:
“I think [Spector coming in] worked out very well. Spector’s a great organizer and he kept our line very nice – tight when it had to be and spread out when it had to be. He was great for all the balls in the air and helped passing balls up to the forwards. He was a big part of our tactical awareness today.”

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