Algarve Cup Quote Sheet: WNT vs. Norway - March 4, 2015

U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis

On the match:
“I thought the game was played at a high-level. We hadn’t faced Norway in a long time and we knew we had to be prepared and ready. They gave us some good challenges and it was obviously a good transition that led to a very good goal. But overall, it was a very good game and I’m very pleased that we came out with three points against a very tough opponent.”

On giving up a goal against the run of play:
“I thought we dominated the match and in the first half we were a bit unfortunate not to come away with the goal, but this team showed good resolve. To give up a goal and come back and be able to fight and battle, and put ourselves in the position to get three points, I’m pleased. Those are certainly some things to take away from this game.”

On opponents playing defensively against the USA:
“We saw it with England and we saw it again today. I think teams’ best opportunities are probably countering against us because we do like to attack, we like to get forward. I thought today our players found good spaces to turn in the pockets. I thought today we had good sequences, finding a central ball or a wide ball. We got plenty of balls in the box and a bunch of corner kick opportunities. Now, we need to focus on two things:  our service in the box needs to be better, at times we’re hitting that front post player and we have to eliminate that, and then we have to be more aggressive and be in better position to win the set pieces.”

On Carli Lloyd’s performance:
“She’s a warrior; a big-game player and she loves tournaments. She’s just a spirit right now, and I’m so pleased because she’s had a lot of chances in previous games and for her to find the back of the net, it gives her confidence. Moving forward it’s the expectation for her to do that time and time again.”

U.S. WNT Forward Abby Wambach

On Carli Lloyd and her performance:
“Carli seems to also be setting up plays or finishing on the end of plays and it shows how much she’s worked over the years. She wants to be one of the best players in the world and I think to be able to do that you have to be making play like she did today, and consistently so. She’s been doing that for us for the years. Leading into this World Cup, she’s poised to give us a better opportunity of winning because she does so many good things.”

On the team’s evolution the last couple of months:
“We’re in the midst of an evolution and a process and working on a lot of things. We’re working on the things that we want to focus to exploit in other teams. You’re seeing more consistency, a bit more connectedness and the relationships on the field are building for sure.” 

On Hope Solo almost making the save on the Norway goal:
“Truthfully I think she saves that ball in certain ways and certain moments. That’s just her getting a little bit more time on the field; getting back into the rhythm of training. I think if that’s a World Cup game, that ball gets tipped over the bar and we’re still tied zero-to-zero.”

U.S. WNT Goalkeeper Hope Solo

On the match:
“I thought was a very back-and-forth game, a very physical game. I thought Julie Johnston played incredible in the back line and I was really proud of our defense. Players were going hard for tackles, we stayed with the game plan, we didn’t stress too much when they scored and we knew the goals were going to come.”

On what Carli Lloyd brings to the team:
“Carli is the mentality of this team. She holds everyone accountable; you do what you can to make this team win and she doesn’t let you get away with anything else. That’s the true leader she’s proven that she will get the job done.” 

On being back with the team:
“This was a happy moment. I’ve dealt with a lot of the emotions that I was harboring in the last 30 days. I dealt with that back in Seattle. I came in feeling free, feeling good and feeling like I dealt with things that I needed to deal with, and kind of with a new look on things. I felt refreshed; I felt great coming in. I would say I¹m more focused. Not more, or less emotional, just focused. That’s what I needed to be to help lead this team to the World Cup. Just focus on the game, on my teammates and focus on soccer.” 

U.S. WNT Midfielder Carli Lloyd

On making a big play to equalize:
“I hate losing…I’m a winner and I want to go out there and win. It might not be pretty, it might not be a shutout, but that’s what we need to do. I’m a veteran and I have to lead this team and show up in big moments.” 

On having Hope Solo back with the team
“It’s really good to see Hope back. We’re close and we’re rooming again during this trip. The most important thing is her happiness. She’s making strides every day and the team has welcomed her. She’s obviously human and people make mistakes, but she’s learning and growing and I think she will be fine.”