Post-Game Quote Sheet: MNT vs. Panama

Post-Game Quote Sheet: MNT vs. Panama
FIFA World Cup Qualifying
Oct. 15, 2013

U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach JURGEN KLINSMANN

On the match:
“We could have played a lot better than we did, especially in the first half. The second half was much better. The energy rose in the second half when we started to get into the game. From a tactical point of view, after Panama scored and made it 2-1, you wondered a little bit what was going on in the mind of the Panama coaches, obviously knowing what the result in Costa Rica is. We were thinking they may drop now, but that didn’t happen, they kept coming out and opening up spaces. We used those spaces for the final two goals. It’s obviously a brutal feeling then for a country to get penalized like that in the final minute.”

On playing until the final minute:
“We played our game. We came here to play simply just a game against Panama and the players went all 90-plus minutes to get a win and get three points. They believed in it all the way until the end. This is our job. We were focused on our job. We understand that tonight so much was at stake for both Mexico and Panama. We respect that, but we were solely focused on ourselves. We said that before the game and after the game. Mexico played their game in Costa Rica and we were here, and experienced an unbelievable finish of a game.”

On if he could feel the impact the win had on the fans in the stadium:
“We all felt every little piece of it. It shows you how brutal football can be for one side that is almost there, and then the other side is back in. But, at the end of the day I mentioned it before, we were here to give everything we have. We said that we are here to win and get three points. Obviously, nobody expected we were going to turn things around in the last one minute, but you have to play it all the way to the end and we did that. Our players gave everything they had, kept pushing and were rewarded. Obviously, you feel for the people, you feel for the entire country, you feel for [Panama head coach] Dely Valdez, who I admire a lot, but this is football, it’s not over until it’s over.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Defender MICHAEL OROZCO:

On his goal:
“I knew it was going to be a hard game, intense from the first minute, and my goal was just a corner kick. Before the game started, I told [DaMarcus Beasley], ‘I’m going in on a corner kick. I’m going to do a little crossover and I’m going to get back into the box and get one in.’ I was trying to go for my header, but it was the tip of my foot. I’m just happy. It’s always an honor to get a goal for the country.

“I was looking for that one. There were a couple runs that I made, and this one was a killer. I got to it, scored, and I’m just happy and proud to be a part of this team. We got [the tying goal] in and the momentum took us to a victory.”

On his celebration:
“[Beasley] and I have a little celebration at Puebla; we do the Maracas. We’ve seen it on World Star Hip Hop. I told him ‘“Beas” I’m going to score and we’re going to do the Maracas this time man.’ And, we got it in.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Forward ARON JOHANNSSON:

On his goal:
“We just equalized 2-2, and they pushed everyone forward. Some of them just stopped playing, I don’t know what happened. It seems like they just gave up, and we continued. We showed how strong we are, got that third goal and won the game.”

“As soon as I got the ball, I was thinking about shooting and trying to score a goal. Sacha [Kljestan] took a good run behind me and opened the space for me, so I could get an easy shot on goal. I got the shot on goal and scored.”

On scoring his first goal for the U.S. MNT:
“It was amazing, hopefully the first of many. To have it as an important goal like this, third goal to win the game, it was an extra bonus. Best of all is that we won the game and got the three points.”

On the course of the game:
“First of all we went down 1-0. Not the way we wanted to start, but credit to the guys, we came back, made it 1-1, went down 2-1, then came back made it 2-2 and then we were able to get that third goal. One of the things is this group is going to fight to the end no matter what the circumstances. Our job is to go out and take care of business ‘til the whistle blows, and I feel like we did that tonight.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Midfielder BRAD DAVIS:

On his cross to Graham Zusi :
“It was a good run. I was sitting there in the first half, watching the game in the first half just feeling like there was a lot of space out wide. If we had the possession, move the ball out wide that I could get in good spots and serve the ball. Edgar makes a good run inside, I stayed outside, he plays a good ball down the line, guys make good runs in the box, and my job at that point is to try to put the ball in a good spot. Fortunately, Graham was able to get on the end of it.’

On winning the Hex on a positive note:
“It’s huge. We’ve done great so far, qualified for Brazil, but tonight we wanted to go out on a high note. We’ve done so well all throughout the year, battled and scrapped and got the points to qualify early.

“We’ve had a great year, and I think it maybe would have left a little bit of a sour taste in our mouth if we didn’t end on a high note. That’s just the character this group has right now. We’re excited; we’re a motivated, confident group moving forward, so, looking forward to next summer.”

On providing good service:
“For me, it’s one of those things I’m most confident in with my game. To try and read the game, try and find good spots to where I know that my teammates can get me the ball where I feel comfortable to deliver a ball to my teammates. I know that they trust that I’m going to get a good ball in there; they make good hard runs in the box. It seemed to work tonight, so hopefully we can continue that trend.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Midfielder GRAHAM ZUSI:

On his goal :
“I don’t really remember how it got out to Brad Davis; it was a long combination play. I think we switched it from one side to another, and Brad got it in behind their outside back and whipped in a great ball. I was able to get up and head it in.

“I was just trying to get into a dangerous area. A lot of times, those first runs are dummy runs, but Brad did a great job putting it right on my head.”

On his goal scoring record in Panama:
“I don’t know what it is; must be something in the water, but it’s great to get some goals, and better off to get the win. It’s a great Hex for our team and definitely gives us some confidence playing away from home going into next year.”

On the match overall :
“In the first half we did a decent job of coming out and creating a couple early chances. I thought we were a little unfortunate to find ourselves down at half, but did a good job coming out in the second half as well. [We] put them on their heels, got the equalizer. Then, finding ourselves down late again, not giving up and not settling for anything, we kept pushing the game and found the win.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Midfielder CLARENCE GOODSON:

On the match overall :
“It was an intense game. Every time we play Panama, it’s a hard fought game. It’s a team that really never says die, and I respect them a lot for that. They keep coming all the time and obviously they’re heartbroken now, but that’s the type of team that we are as well. It’s a team that, no matter who plays, just gives everything. It’s not always the prettiest, but you know what to expect from guys, they’re going to put in the effort. Tonight we left it late, but got a result and it’s great to get three points.”

On the mental state of the team after falling behind 2-1:
“I think we had been creating a lot of chances up to that point. I think we should have done a better job to put them away earlier. We had chances throughout the game where we didn’t score when we really needed to, but in the end we got two goals. It was one of those things where they kept guys high still, they were winning the game and should have dropped off. They should have put guys in the box and done like we did in the Gold Cup, brought Omar [Gonzalez] in and cleared balls and just play primitive. But, they kept two strikers high and it was very surprising, they had a lot of gaps in their team for it being so late and the World Cup on the line, and we punished them for that.”

On the result’s effect on the team:
“It’s a great way to end. There’s a lot of work to still be done before the end of the year even. Two more matches still, and a lot of work before the world cup. I think a lot of guys have really come on and done a great job this year, and it’s going to make Jurgen [Klinsmann] and the coaching staff’s decision very difficult and that’s the way it should be.”