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140622 MNTvPOR

World Cup Quote Sheet: USA vs. Portugal - Besler, Bradley, Howard, Johnson, Jones and Yedlin


U.S. MNT Players Speak to the Media about the USA's 2-2 Draw with Portugal at the Post-Game Press Conference

U.S. MNT midfielder JERMAINE JONES
On his initial reaction:
“At the end of the day, we’re upset that we didn’t get the three points. Things happen. So we have to go against Germany.”

On Ronaldo’s assist:
“Cristiano got the ball. I was in the middle, close to the box. He hit it perfect. It’s not so difficult from that area to score.”

On his goal:
“At halftime everybody told me to try to shoot. When I got the ball I tried to get in on my left foot. I think Nani was in front of me. I tried to get the ball in that corner. I only heard ‘Beas’ from behind, ‘shoot, shoot, shoot,’ so I shot and I am happy that it goes in.”

On moving on and Thursday’s game against Germany:
“It will be the next tough game. We want to go to the next round so we have to play a good game. A draw can push both teams into the next round, but we have to go there and try and win this game. We showed a lot of people that we play good football, and today everybody can see it.”

U.S. MNT defender DeANDRE YEDLIN
On his contribution to the game:
“I probably could have done a little bit more, but I got a good cross in that lead to the second goal. I’m just looking to help out wherever I can with this team. I thought I did okay with that today.”

On his first appearance in the World Cup:
“I was just excited. This is the biggest stage. This is what every soccer player dreams of and those dreams were being made a reality, so it was pretty amazing. It’s one of those times that you just have to calm yourself because if you’re too excited, too hyped up, that’s when you don’t play as well.”

On being ‘too young to be nervous’:
“I don’t think anybody’s too young to be nervous unless you really don’t know what’s going on. To be honest, I think the younger you are the more nervous you could get because there’s that age barrier between you and your opponent no matter what you do. I don’t think I was too young to be nervous, I definitely was nervous. I think there’s something wrong if you’re not; if you don’t have a little bit of butterflies in there. It’s all about getting comfortable on the field and seeing how you react.”

U.S. MNT midfielder MICHAEL BRADLEY
On his initial thoughts about the match:
“Crazy game. We put so much into it. I thought after a difficult start, the response and the commitment and the effort was incredible. Difficult conditions and still we found a way to push through. Every guy left everything on the field. We’re obviously disappointed not to close it out. We didn’t come away with three points but we have no choice but to keep going. It’s a short turnaround and we’ll get ourselves ready for another game on Thursday and just keep going from there.”

On responding to adversity:
“That’s who we are. We talk all the time about what we’re like on the hardest day and when the spotlight comes on brightest. When the biggest tests come, what are we like? How do we respond in the difficult moments? I thought tonight was another example of us showing everybody who we are and what makes us a good team. Like I said, certainly disappointed that we don’t finish off the job, but that’s soccer – very cruel game sometimes.”

On giving up the early goal:
“You have no choice but to just keep going. Obviously not the start we wanted. They’re a good team, a lot of skillful players. But again, we always knew that it would be a game where we’d be tested to the absolute limit. It was a heavy field, hot and humid, but physically we really stood up to the test.”

On playing to win:
“When you look back at the history of this team, it’s a team that steps on the field every day to win. Whether it was Costa Rica at RFK Stadium in 2009 when we were already qualified for the World Cup or whether it was last year in Panama. It’s a team that takes great pride in stepping on the field and playing the right way and representing ourselves and our country in a positive way. It’s important now to recover. We put so much into this game and on a physical level it’ll take a day or two to get ourselves ready and we’ll step on the field looking to win the game and looking to win the group.”

U.S. MNT goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On the length of stoppage time:
“Too long. Thirty seconds too long.”

On the feel of the game:
“Portugal is a tough team, but I think if you watch the full 90 back, we hurt ourselves. We gave up two goals that were easily preventable, simple goals. They didn’t open us up and spread us out and really torch us. We took it to them. In fact, I thought we had better parts of our play. You have to get three points on the board before you can count it. It’s disappointing right now.”

On how the team feels following the draw:
“I think we had one foot in the door, so there’s a small bit of disappointment. Realistically, we have given ourselves every chance to advance. We are optimistic; we are pretty much where we wanted to be when we started this whole process. We wanted to be going into this last game feeling like we have a chance, and we do.”

On Ronaldo’s performance:
“He made a good cross. I don’t know if that’s so much his greatness, but he’s a player that needs to be looked after. Coach Klinsmann and his staff had an exquisite game plan. I thought we executed it brilliantly. Portugal didn’t hurt us really. I think we had the better passage of play. You look at two goals that realistically can be prevented. It’s not as if they opened us up and sliced us open. We contained them pretty well.”

On moving on after a tough loss:
“Football is cruel sometimes. It ebbs and flows. We try and take every result as it comes. We’ll try and give ourselves 12 hours or so to ponder the result but tomorrow will be a new day. We’ll get some sleep and our training sessions have been light and lively. We’ve got a great chance in ‘the Group of Death’ as they say, to go through and advance. We’re excited.”

On the strong play of the midfield:
“We needed that tonight. We harped over and over and over again in training. Michael, Kyle, Jermaine; they had to be the engine. They had to double up and go forward in the attacks and double up on the flanks and defend. I couldn’t do those jobs, but my hat goes off to them, because without guys like Jermaine; what an incredible strike and tireless work ethic; Michael Bradley and Kyle recovering balls, all of our midfielders. That’s the kind of team we are, and we’ll never lose that, which is why we always give ourselves a good chance at winning games.”

U.S. MNT defender FABIAN JOHNSON
On the game and where they sit after two games:
“We’re kind of sad I think. If somebody had told us that we were going to have four points after those two games I think we would take it, but at this point we are a little bit disappointed. We’ve got to look forward.”

On how the team will react:
“We’re just going to keep ourselves going. We’re going to fly back tonight and get a little bit of rest and prepare for the Germany game.”

On Jermaine Jones’ goal and the team’s play:
“Great performance, not just from Jermaine but from all of us. Nice goal from him.”

On if the U.S. deserved to win:
“I think if they scored two goals and we scored two goals, I think it’s fair.”

U.S. MNT defender MATT BESLER
On his initial reaction after the game:
“We’re still disappointed. We could all taste it. We could taste the second round. We were right there. So we are disappointed. But we were on the other end of the things five nights ago in the first game. We have four points from two games, we’re in control of our own destiny. Huge game against Germany in our third game. I think we like to do things the hard way. It’s the American way.”

On the game plan against Ronaldo:
“To be honest, I think we did a great job not allowing him in dangerous spots. He never really got into a rhythm. I wouldn’t really say our game plan was to foul him. I think there was a few times where we did foul him, but it wasn’t overly physical play. They were great fouls. They were right at midfield. They were smart, tactical fouls. We weren’t taking shots at him at all, we were just right up against him and making him feel us. It’s just funny, the last play of the game he finally gets into open space, which he wasn’t allowed that the entire night, and instead of trying to take someone on one-on-one, he takes a touch and whips in a world class ball.”

On his injury status:
“It was the same spot in my hamstring. I felt a little pinch, but it wasn’t as bad. It wasn’t as sharp. My mentality going into this game was that there’s nothing to hold back. I was going to put my body on the line no matter what.”

On Tim Howard:
“He had three or four huge saves. That’s what we expect from him though. He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world. We expect him to keep us in games and he did that.”

On how the team moves on to the next game:
“You just got to move on. It’s a very quick turnaround. We’re in a good spot. We control our own destiny and that’s really all you can ask for. Yeah, it would have been great to get six points but we didn’t. So we have to move on, we have to change mentalities from Portugal to Germany, and that starts right now on the plane ride.”

On Ronaldo’s assist on the equalizer:
“It’s an unbelievable ball by him. He puts it in a spot where it is extremely difficult for me and Geoff to get to, but it’s also extremely difficult for Tim to come out on. Obviously, looking back, if you know he’s going to play it in that spot, you want to be able to be there and defend it. That’s our job to be there and defend it. But at the same time, he gets the ball out wide, finally one-on-one against somebody. Beasley does a great job getting up close to him, but not close enough where he can just take a touch around him. He decides to take a touch and whip a ball into an extremely dangerous spot where there’s not a whole lot you can do. It’s a tough one to swallow, but that’s why he’s Cristiano.”

On Michael Bradley:
“We’re not worried about him at all. He does so many things for the team. Whoever’s saying that he’s not playing that well, it certainly isn’t that way from us. He is one of the most important players on our team, one of the best players on our team. There is so much that goes through him and he has a lot on his shoulders, but I know that he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves that responsibility and he’s doing just fine for us.”

On the condition of the team after enduring a tough environment:
“I think we’d be lying if we said that we weren’t heavy after this game. I think everybody is. The conditions were difficult for both teams tonight. I think the positive is that we kept pushing the game. We were holding on to things at the end but that was just the nature of the game. We’re going to be just fine.”

On settling for a draw with Germany:
“As players, we’re not even going to get into all that stuff. It’s not in our mindset. We proved it already with the Panama and the Mexico situation. We have already proved that we have our heads down, we are worried about ourselves and we’re trying to play our best to win. You can’t go into a game trying to get a draw. You have to go in with a winning mentality.”
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