#USAvHON Postgame Quotes

#USAvHON Postgame Quotes

Postgame Quote Sheet
U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Honduras
July 7, 2015


On tonight’s game:
“Well first of all a big thank you to that crowd. Amazing. Especially when things didn’t really go so well, they were behind us. They were cheering for the team and that’s exactly what we need. It’s not going to be all easy. It was a very tight game. It was what we expected. It was a very good Honduras side that knows how to play and knows how create chances and knows how to create problems, and that’s what they did. Still, we came out with three points and with a very good start into this Gold Cup. So a lot of positives definitely to take as well. A great atmosphere and a very special moment for Michael Bradley with his 100th cap, so big congratulations to him from the entire team.”

On if there’s still a competition for positions:
“It’s going to be a journey. We know we’re going to improve from match to match. It was clear that it’s not going to be perfect in the beginning. There’s going to be moments with a little struggle that we’ve got to go through, tense moments. They will make some mistakes, but in the tournament they’ve got to move on right away. We’re going to talk about it tomorrow and then we’re in Boston and then already we’ve got to ready for Haiti, who I think surprised a lot of people today with their game against Panama, so that will not be an easy one either. Hopefully from game to game we get more in a flow and more in a rhythm and we’re going to start to fine-tune elements. It was tricky getting everybody on the same page, so it takes maybe a couple of days, but we will improve with everything.”

On the play of the strikers:

“I think when you score two goals you’ve got to be happy with Clint [Dempsey]. He’s doing exactly what he does best. He’s scoring. Jozy [Altidore] is still in a place where we have to build him. The only way we’re going to get him stronger every day is by giving him minutes, playing him and working him hard also in training. Jozy will improve every day in this tournament. He’s not there yet, which we knew. He came from that hamstring injury so we will kind of do everything possible to get him into the top form as quickly as possible, but it’s not going to happen overnight.”

On if giving the captaincy to Michael Bradley helped relax Clint Dempsey:
“I think you’ve got to ask him that question. I mean we made that decision and he was absolutely on board with it. I was striker myself, and when you go through those moments where he made a mistake and did something wrong, all you want to do is you want to move on. As a striker you want to score. You live for that as a striker. You just want to put that ball in the net, which he did now again two times tonight. He’s in a good spirit and the atmosphere within the team is outstanding. It’s very positive and that’s what keeps a striker feeling right.”

On the play of his team:
I think for the first couple minutes we came out good, but then really they took over the first 15-20 minutes. You’ve got to give them a big compliment the way they played it there. They created chances and we kind of had to come back into that game, especially our back line. Both center backs need to kind of settle. We told them to just be calm, to keep it simple and nothing complicated, but find your rhythm. I think the second half was much, much better. You’ve got to give Honduras a compliment for how they played. Those first 15-20 minutes they played really good soccer.”

On the importance of set pieces:
“They are tremendously important there’s no doubt about it, but we always said that. I experienced it for myself when I coached in the World Cup in 2006 with Germany. Italy won the World Cup on 70 percent set pieces. Did they play the most beautiful soccer in that tournament? You can answer that one, but it is something that you have to train. It’s something that you have to believe in. It’s something that you have to be really determined in and we train that.  The last couple of days we’ve done that. Every time we’re in camp we try to figure out some new elements and hopefully give the opponents a surprise with it.  But you also need the players that are convinced to go in for these balls and be really hungry for goals because it’s a physical battle that happens at every corner kick and every free kick and I think we have there a really strong 11 in our team.”

On the play of the back line:
Obviously now with three points in the bag, we’ll see how we’re going to put everything together against Haiti. It’s three group games and they all come every three days, so it’s a bit tricky. I think overall they did fine. It will take a bit of time for them to grow together, but it’s definitely a back line that has a lot of future. I think Timmy Chandler had a couple of difficult moments, but then he really also had a huge impact on that game. He has a positive nature. One of his strengths is he kind of shakes it off right away. He knows he made a mistake but he shakes it off and doesn’t let in influence his next touch. I think this is a really important quality. We’ve seen flank play from Timmy with DeAndre Yedlin, and then you have Gyasi [Zardes] on the other side with Fabian and I think this is something that will get better in the future. The four of them have speed and technique. They need more experience. They need to work together within the positions. They’re growing and it’s very promising for us.”


On earning his 100th cap:
“It was a proud moment for sure. I said it a few times this week – growing up if someone told me I was going to have a chance to play just one time for this team, I would have bitten their hand off and said it’d be a dream come true. To have the chance to play 100 times is honestly more than I ever could have imagined. I don’t take it for granted, I step on the field every single game ready to give everything I have for the team, the colors and for our country. That part will never get old. I know there will be time later to look back on it and remember it in some ways, but at the moment I’m much more concerned with trying to move ourselves forward in this tournament and find the way so that at the end of the month we’re holding up the trophy.”

On the team staying perfect through 13 Gold Cup openers:
“That’s an incredible statistic, especially when you consider how difficult these games are. Tonight was as expected. They’re a good team, they are well coached, they are organized, they are very committed to making the game hard on the opponent and I think we were able to understand what the game was going to be about, use our experience and know there were going to be moments where the bar tilted in their favor but still understand that if we were smart and controlled in the way we went about it, we would find ways to win the game. I think we were able to do that. The most important thing in the first game of the tournament is getting points and on that end it’s a great start.”

On what he takes away from the game in preparation for Haiti on Friday:
“These games come  fast so there’s no time to get too excited. There’s no time to dwell on things. Regeneration started already, we get back, get a good meal, try to make the travel as easy as possible tomorrow and get ourselves ready to step on the field Friday night.”

U.S. forward and Budweiser Man of the Match CLINT DEMPSEY

On playing in Texas:
“It always feels good, whether it's with the National Team or you're playing club ball, to be able to come here. This is where I developed a lot of my game, driving back and forth from Nacogdoches. So it always feels good to be home, and it always feels good to win.”

On the goals tonight:
“Any time you can score a goal it always feels good. The first goal was maybe a little bit lucky because the ‘keeper made the save and it came to me and I was able to get my jaw on it. but I just happened to be right in the right place. The second goal was just a good ball in from Michael and I wasn't really being marked and I was able to get a good look on goal.”

On if the heat is off him now that he isn’t captain, or if he played differently tonight”
“No, I always approach the game the same, just go out and try to help my team win. It's the same situation in Seattle. I'm not the captain there. So I just enjoy playing, going out and helping the team win. That's what I've always done.”

On wanting to be the tournament's top scorer:
“You always want to perform well whatever tournament you're in, whether it's the World Cup, whether it's Gold  Cup, whether it's Confederations Cup, whether it's Copa America next summer. You've got to perform in the competitions that are in front of you and step up when the team needs you, and I feel like during my career I've always been able to do that.”

On the opening 20 minutes:
We knew they were going to come out with a lot of energy, and we were going to match their energy and try to take the game to them. They were just a little bit sharper with the ball and their possession, but we gradually found our way into the game. I think you'll see us build as the tournament goes on and we'll improve with our possession, our quality in the attacking third and creating movements and getting looks in front of goal. But we're happy with the result tonight. Honduras is not an easy team. I think they're a team that will give any team problems in this competition, so we're happy to get the three points.”

On the crowd:
“It's always good to play in front of a pro-American crowd. I think the crowd was behind the whole team. I remember when I first started with the National Team, there would be more fans for the other team sometimes. So to be able to nowadays play in front of pro American crowds, I think the team definitely feeds off that energy.”

On the heat:
“It's tough, whether you grow up in it, don't grow up in it, you gotta get acclimated. That's why we go out on the training fields. That's why we work hard and they monitor us with the GPS and the heart rate monitors and make sure that we're putting in the workload and taking care of our bodies so we can perform. It's a situation everybody has to deal with. It just sometimes makes the game slower I think.” 

U.S. goalkeeper BRAD GUZAN

On starting off the tournament with three points:
“It’s huge. Anytime you enter a tournament, you want to start off with three points and we were able to do that tonight. We know it wasn’t our best performance. A sign of a good team is when you don’t play well and you win the game and that’s what we did today.”

On how he’s felt about his performances in 2015:
“It’s a process. It’s about results and especially now it’s about winning. To be a part of this group, especially the games that we have played against such big teams, it’s been huge. For me personally it’s great, because obviously I haven’t played too many games with the National Team, and so to be a part of these games and to win games and hopefully give confidence to the guys in front of me and to the coaching staff, it’s a good feeling.”

On the positives from tonight’s game:
“Our commitment and willingness to win obviously were good. I think we gave the ball away cheaply a few too many times, but in saying that, good teams find a way to win when they don’t play well and I think we did that really well tonight.”