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2014 WNT vs France Tampa

Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. WNT vs. France


Head coach Jill Ellis Discusses the U.S.WNT’s 2-2 Draw Against France, along with Christie Rampone, Ashlyn Harris, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd

U.S. WNT head coach JILL ELLIS
Initial thoughts on the game and Alex Morgan’s performance:

I think every time we step on the field I’m learning some things. I thought it was a great show of character tonight and obviously Alex is coming back (into form). In the second half we stepped it up a bit and solved a few things, but France is a great opponent. I was really pleased with some of the adjustments and some of the things that we did and our transition I thought was very good tonight.”

On Morgan’s recovery from an ankle injury:
“I wasn’t expecting a lot out of her when I initially came in. Through the camp she’s done really well. In the games, she’s improved. I’m really pleased for her. She’s worked very, very hard to come back from this.”

On what she has emphasized since taking over as head coach:
“There are some qualities that we want to try and look at. When you have the full team together, you want start to do some things. We want to work on attacking shape and look at defensive transition. Those are things that we’re starting to build on.”

On second half adjustment:
“We played a little higher out of the back. That allowed us to connect to the midfield a little bit more. I think overall our ball movement was much better in the second half and we set the line a little bit higher defensively and then in the attack I felt like we were able to play out a little bit better.”

On what she was looking for from the game:
“I think we wanted some answers, not just in how we want to try and play but also looking at players and looking at players in different spots. I was very pleased with some of the things we saw tonight.”

U.S. WNT defender CHRISTIE RAMPONE
On Jill Ellis’ impact on the team thus far:

“This is the first time I’ve had her as a head coach and she’s really taking charge. She’s defining roles and we’ve done a lot of film work. It’s been only a few short days but I think the team has really done well under her and we are more defined and clear-cut, and I think she’s done well in these last two games for us.”

On playing different formations in preparing for the 2015 Women’s World Cup qualifying:
“It’s a process. We are starting a new formation, a 4-3-3. It’s only an extra thing in our pocket because we’ve been playing a 4-4-2 for so long. It’s a process of learning how to defend and attack out of it. There are moments of the game that we are finding it to click, and then we go back on watch film. It’s a process over this next year to define it and get it at the right tempo and the right pace so that we’re ready.”

On Alex Morgan’s return and contribution:
“It’s great to see Alex coming back on after being gone for so long and scoring those two goals. She looked great, she’s in stride. It’s good to see.”

On the flow of the game and difference between the first and second halves:
“We were just a little tight in the first half and not really finding the spaces in between our lines and the pockets. I think in the second half we opened up our shape a little bit and found those seams. And also Alex, when she came in, she stretched them a little bit so that allowed us to find the pockets underneath and connect a little bit more. Our tempo was also a little bit better in the second half.”

U.S. WNT goalkeeper ASHLYN HARRIS
On the match:

“A really exciting game. A tough game. I would have loved to have won. I would have loved to have had a shutout. But this is the type of environment we want to be in. We want people to put us under pressure. We want people to challenge us. It was a great crowd tonight. It’s been a long camp, and it was our second game, so some heavy legs. Overall I’m really proud of the team. I think they dug deep, gritted it out in a really physical match and I’m really pleased.”

On preparing to start in place of Hope Solo:
My job is to show up every day at training, give everything I have and if my name is called, I’m ready.”

On the physicality demanded of a goalkeeper:
“It’s tough. I come in with my hands; they come in with their feet. Sometimes it’s not a win-win. I just have to make myself as big as possible. If I take a knock, I’ve got to get back up and continue to do it. I’ve got to be as big as I can for my team. I knew coming out here today I was going to have to make some big saves and in doing that I have to put my body on the line.”

On the second goal scored by France:
“There was a lot of stuff going on, but at the end of the day we just needed to pressure harder. It took a deflection off Klingenberg’s calf. I was already leaning one way. It’s tough to get back and get down. The pitch got slick as the night wore on. It was a good goal, a good open opportunity for her, we’ve just got to tighten up here and there and make sure we don’t allow those types of shot at the top of the 18.”

On getting more time with the U.S. WNT:
“I’m super confident. Every day, playing with the best players in the world, our practices are absolutely top drawer quality. These players are insane. And they work and they work and they are always on the grind. It just makes me better every single day. I love being a part of it. I’m just a small piece of the puzzle, trying to climb my way up. These girls are great. They’re great people, great footballers. I think people are going to have a fun show watching these girls continue.”

U.S. WNT forward ALEX MORGAN
On jumping over the sign boards and celebrating with the fans after her first goal:

“I wanted to do something special actually. I thought about crying in the moment but it was still early in the game, no time for that. I just wanted to give appreciation to the American Outlaws for being here and coming out here tonight.”

On her first goal:
“To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of it. I just remember turning and seeing the far post open. I hit it as well as I could have and from there and I felt so happy.”

On how she feels about the team going forward:
“I just feel like, finally I’m back and doing what I am supposed to be doing; scoring goals. It feels good. This team has made a lot of progress in this formation under Jill. I see us continuing to improve and France gave their all. I think we played a really good team today and I’m happy that we fought back for the tie.”

On the process of returning from injury:
“The past few months have definitely been mentally draining and physically just trying to get my fitness back has not been the easiest. After getting a couple minutes the other night and 45 minutes tonight and hopefully a lot of minutes with my club team in the coming weeks, I think I’ll be back to 100 percent fit. I feel like my recovery is done, so I’m now looking forward to what else I can do to better myself on the field.”

On how valuable the two games against France were:
“It was a great game for the World Cup qualification tournament coming up in October. You can’t get a better team than France to come here to the U.S. and play us twice. It’s a great opportunity for us to try out new things, to see what works and what doesn’t. I think there’s a lot of positive to take from this moving forward into qualifiers.”

On her second goal:
“After the moment I thought it was a little similar to Clint’s (World Cup) goal, his first goal of the tournament when he cut the defender inside then slotted it. All I remember is being on the ground and the ball going in the back of the net and just feeling so happy to be able to tie the game up.”

U.S. WNT midfielder Carli Lloyd
On the match:

“I think we did some good things in the first half. We’re still working on things and I think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re slowly building. We had some good sequences. We just talked about a few tactical things in the first half. In the second half, we just went at them more. We had a little bit more grit and determination. We were tackling and scored some great goals. This is the first time in a really long time where we’ve played a team that’s pretty much up to our level. It was a fantastic night to play.”

On how playing France will help the team going forward:
“They were definitely throwing numbers at us. I think the first game we played them they did a really good job of countering us and I thought in the first half we did a good job of countering them in transition. They play good soccer. Anytime you give them space and time, they’re really good at moving the ball out, getting it out to the other side, playing in between those gaps and seams. The more we can stay compact, vertically and horizontally, the better off we’re going to be. This is Jill’s second game with us. I thought in two games in a 10-day span, we implemented some really good things and it’s only going to get better.”

On her presence as a leader on the field:
“I think I try to bring that every single game. We all lead in different ways. Hope leads in her way back there. Abby obviously is very vocal. I just try to lead by example and grit. Get the team going, set the standard with tackles and all of that. But obviously, those are two phenomenal players that we’re still missing on the pitch. So when we add those pieces in, we’re moving in the right direction that’s for sure.”


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