#USAvPAN: Post Game Quotes

#USAvPAN Post Game Quote Sheet

Postgame Quote Sheet
U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Panama
Gold Cup Group Stage

July 13, 2015


On the match:
“I think it was a very intense match and I think that for the fact that it was the third match in six days, it was actually very good quality you saw from both sides. I think Panama was a little bit stronger in the first half, and we came out at halftime and pretty much controlled the second half.  I think it’s a fair result and we finish off the group with seven points and first place and moving on. It’s been a very difficult group, which is what we always said. When the groups were given to us, we said ‘Wow, having Honduras, Panama and then a huge surprise to some people in Haiti,’ there’s a lot of quality in this group and we’re top of it. To both teams, a huge compliment with how the game played out today. Do we want to win the game? Yes, but I think it’s a fair result.”

On the play of the center backs:
“I think it was very difficult for them. The early yellow card on John Brooks wasn’t easy to handle for him. You get a yellow card in the first half and know you’re out the next game and you still have a long time to play the game. The longer the game went on, the more the personality developed and they became stronger. This is the growing path you want to see from these young center backs. Overall it was a game that went back and forth – both teams could have won it with opportunities, but overall it was fine.”

On where the team needs to improve:
“I think we’re just getting our feet into the tournament. The tournament pretty much starts now at the knockout stage. To go through this group and make sure you have seven points at the end of the day is a lot of work. What the players went through under those conditions, and all the teams obviously, is a lot of work. They did it strongly, they gave everything they had, all four teams and it’s been a tough round. Now it’s really getting to the serious stuff. The knockout stage is what a tournament is all about. It’s a process we’re in. We can improve still a lot absolutely, and that’s what we’re working on.”

“You can take the game apart and see that here and there that we don’t have the passing rhythm yet that we wish to have. When things get a bit difficult, we make easy mistakes and give some turnovers away. There’s always something that you see that you want to see differently. Overall, the attitude is tremendous, the spirit in the group is good and they all know we’re going to grow from game to game and that’s what the tournament is all about. I’m pretty happy with where we’re at right now, but I know the next one will be more difficult.”

On whether Graham Zusi would have been able to play:
“He would have been able, but we didn’t want to risk him.”

On what John Brooks suspension means for the next game:
“I think that was the good thing about rotating the group throughout the first three games because we wanted to get everybody into this tournament with minutes, like Alejandro Bedoya and Alfredo Morales today. We needed to see where they were. When you have those situations with two yellows and suspended for the next game, you know you’ve played Tim Ream and Omar Gonzalez already. They’re ready to jump in and it’s not a big deal. This was definitely an advantage in the group phase that we could already have everybody in the tournament and we don’t have a drop between the starters and the guys on the bench. I hope this will give us an advantage going forward.”

On his thoughts on the backline:
“It’s important for every player that he needs to give everything he has to stay on the field. The inner group atmosphere is about competition. We want to see them grow and take things in their own hands. That’s kind of what’s happening now, they can kind of get the message that you’re not safe, we have others that can come in if it’s a second yellow card or another issue. We were lucky in the way that we could rotate and have everyone be involved now. Going forward we believe in everyone that starts a game, no matter if he’s young or old. It’s about the quality they bring and what they deliver at the end of the day. The only way for younger players to mature, grow stronger and get better is to grow into these games and have that experience. I think both Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks grew with every minute. There were some situations where they were shaky in the first half, but in the second half they cleaned it up. They were absolutely on top of things. This is a process in a tournament that never finishes with the same group that starts the tournament. We’re open to everything, but we also believe in anyone that steps on the field.”

On Alejandro Bedoya’s first game back from injury:
“I think Ale played a very good first game coming off a long break. We were very patient with his build up, we observed it day in and day out and waited until today to give it a go. After 60-65 minutes, he was pretty much done and that’s okay. You see his quality, his capability to keep the ball, to shield it and make runs and surprise the opponent. Overall his game was very positive for the fact that he hasn’t played in quite some time. We keep him building, give him a bit of a rest tomorrow and keep building him going forward.”

On roster plans for the next round:
“I have some ideas, but I have 24 hours. The coaches will sit down back at the hotel and go through the entire roster, go through every situation we want to discuss and tomorrow morning give you our reinforcements.”


On the goal and the team’s performance:
“Clint slipped a little ball out to Alejandro and he was able to play a great ball across. I was able to move from the second line and get on the end of it. It was a good team goal for us and obviously we were disappointed with the way the first half played out, but it’s all part of it. We were able to respond in a fairly positive way in the second half and at the end of the day, we’ll take our seven points and first place in the group. We’ll move on and get ready for a do-or-die game on Saturday in Baltimore.”

On the team’s preparations for the quarterfinal:
“At the moment, we recover physically and mentally. Obviously we’ll have a few more days in between games which means we’ll be able to get a little bit of training in. We’ll prepare in the best way for who our opponent is and have a group of guys that will be ready to step on the field and give everything to make sure we get to the semifinal.

On the team winning its Gold Cup group in 12 of 13 tournaments:
“Nothing comes easy in this tournament. It doesn’t matter who is in your group or what team you are. Everything gets thrown out the window pretty quickly. There are no easy games. You have to earn everything you get. We understand that going forward there will be the need to raise our game as the games get more important, but we should still feel good about finishing first in the group and putting ourselves in a good position for the quarterfinal.”


On getting his first appearance following injury:
“It feels good. It was an awesome crowd and Kansas City has always done well for us. It felt good to get back in the starting lineup, and for me the most important thing was to get my match fitness up. I felt like I wasn’t fully sharp but it definitely was worth it.”

On the game-tying goal:
“We made a nice little combo and Clint Dempsey threw himself at the ball to get it wide to me. I was able to get a touch, lift my head up and see Michael making a run up the middle. I just put it across the goal to him and he was able to slide it home.”

On preparations for the team’s quarterfinal match on Saturday:
“Now we have a couple of days of longer rest than usual. I think it’s important that we recover mentally and physically, as well as look at videos. We all know we need to improve and do better, look at what we could be better and keep moving forward. The knockout round is what really matters.”