On where this team is six days ahead of the start of Copa America Centenario:
“I think chemistry is really good. It seems that as a group that they have big ambitions. This is a very, very special tournament and they realize that. They realize that it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play this Copa America in the United States, and with every day I think they realize how big this tournament really is. So they're having a good time together. They're hanging out together, and the atmosphere is really good. We are fine tuning elements still. Every game helps you. Every training session helps you. I think no team will come into Copa America and be 100 percent or perfectly prepared. Some players come from out of that Champions League final and straight into Copa America, so it's a bit tricky. It's tricky for coaches, and I include there the coach from Bolivia, how to make everything kind of work. But we appreciate that they made it all the way up here and played that friendly already now.”
On the best position for Gyasi Zardes:
“Gyasi is an amazing character. He's very, very hungry to learn. He's a great listener and he knows that if certain things are not perfect yet, he’s going to work on it every day and want to improve it. And sometimes it's perfect and the next day maybe it's not so good, but it's totally fine because every player has his strengths and weaknesses. As long as they keep on working on their weaknesses and getting them better and better, then it's totally fine. He's very straight in his thought process. In front of the goal, he knows exactly what he wants to do, which is for a striker very important because you have to follow your first thought. That's crucial. If you start to have two thoughts, then you're going to get messed up. He was very, very kind of calm putting two goals in there, and in the whole game he was involved, so it's coming along.”
On how much responsibility he is prepared to give the younger players in the tournament:
“What is wonderful to see is just the growth of these players over the last one or two years, how they really improved their game, how they're becoming more adult, obviously stronger physically but also becoming more confident. This is a process, and the process is never ending. But in the first couple of years when you're a pro, it's a big learning curve. We'll take it one step at a time. We put the pieces together for this tournament the best way that we get the right results. I think over the next couple weeks they will definitely get their opportunities to play minutes and to leave an impression and to push more and more the established players towards the edge, which is their job. That's normal. So it will be a very intense and interesting next couple of weeks.”
On how to keep a young player like Christian Pulisic grounded:
“With every young player it's really important that not only his environment with the team right now is looking after him, his teammates are looking after him, but I think at a very young age it's important that the family is close by and they make sure that he stays grounded, which is the fact in Dortmund. The people there, they know how to develop talent. They have brought out very big names. They won the World Cup two years ago, and so they know how to handle young talent. I think he is a wonderful kid. He's grounded. He knows that he has a long way to go, but he has no fear, and this is very important, not having fear, especially when you play then in our region when it becomes really physical, and what you're going to see next Friday will be very, very physical. So we obviously have an eye on him. We help. I'm not worried about his process, and we take it one day at a time.
On the partnership of Geoff Cameron and John Brooks, since they have only started twice together in central defense:
“They are moving along great. The fact that they haven't played together that often is down to injuries. It's always down to some other issues, so now finally they're both fit. They're both healthy. So now I think that they fine tune, they develop a good partnership and hopefully that partnership is very valuable. On the other side, we're bringing along the Steve Birnbaum's and the Matt Besler's - obviously he's a World Cup veteran - which is very, very important because the team that starts this Copa America probably won't be the team that finishes it.
On the role of Alejandro Bedoya:
“Ale's role, if it's a wide role or a role more inside, depends on what system we play. It depends on what is needed. it depends on who we play against and so on. These are always the different pieces that we are discussing up and down the flip chart, because we don't have the luxury to say, ‘OK, we ignore what the opponent is doing. We just do what we want.’ That's not the case. We're not Brazil or Argentina. We're not Germany or Spain. So we have to have an eye on what Colombia is coming with, a (Juan Guillermo) Cuadrado, a (Carlos) Bacca, James Rodriguez. And then we've got to put the pieces together. So it's great to have players at your disposal that don't have any issues maybe playing a little bit more wide or playing inside. They give everything they have, and I think this really something - getting back now to the chemistry we talked in the beginning - very, very important that they really just fight for each other. Everybody behind the ball when we lose a ball and then work to win it back, and then we move forward again, and so it will be a very exciting couple of weeks ahead of us.
“Absolutely very comfortable, and that's why he played left back today. Obviously, we have Edgar Castillo coming in tomorrow, but, again it depends then who's playing the right flank from the opponents? When you talk about certain names, then you need to have an idea you're now maybe throwing Matt in there because he's a 100 percent pure defender and gets the defensive job done and doesn't need to worry about going forward that much, or do you want to have more an attacking-minded left back. He did a great job, so that 45 minutes was very valuable to us. The same with Michael Orozco. Michael already played a couple of times right back for us, but it's important that we know if it's needed, whatever happens, two yellow cards, a red card, an injury, on the left side there's Matt always ready if it's needed and on the right side there's a Michael Orozco who can jump in there as well.”
On the abilities of Bobby Wood:
“If you just see the learning curve of Bobby, I think it's very impressive. I remember a couple of comments from the media side two years ago when I brought him in for the first game in Czech Republic, and people were wondering why because he was sitting on the bench at 1860 Munich, fighting against relegation in the second Bundesliga. With a young player, they can only grow if they play. You've got to give young players the chance, the minutes, and also give them the OK that they can make mistakes. They learn out of the mistakes very quickly, and this is what Bobby did. He had his chances in the beginning. In the first couple of games, remember maybe Ecuador in Hartford he missed three 100 percent ones and we should have won that game. Well now he's probably right there, of three chances at least one he puts in. So this is a great learning curve, and it obviously is fun for us to watch because we need fresh, young players breaking through, but we're not giving them that for free. They have to work hard for it. Bobby has the will to work very hard, also to chase back, to help out defensively, which he did. So his job was basically to run at the back line. This afternoon I texted him in the middle of the Real Madrid-Atletico game – Gyasi as well – and said please watch (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Gareth) Bale, how they work the back line, coming from the outside, going inside, going to the other side. This is what they have to learn. They have to move people around, and then suddenly space opens up and things will happen.”
U.S. forward and Budweiser Man of the Match GYASI ZARDES
“You play each and every single game and you give it your all. If you give it your all, once you step off the field, you’re satisfied. I know there’s always room for growth, even tonight, I’m trying to grow as a player.”On competiveness for a starting spot:
“It’s very competitive on this team because we have so many versatile players on this team that can play numerous positions and not only that, everyone is technically gifted and everybody is very skillful and have an eye for the goal. It’s competition day in and day out.”
“I feel ready for this tournament, and this week I have before we step on the field against Colombia I’m going to use it to the best of my ability. I’m trying to grow in confidence.Tonight helps a ton, but at the same time you can never be satisfied, you always have to keep working.”
U.S. midfielder ALEJANDRO BEDOYA
On team confidence:
“All the players that have played, even with the guys coming off the bench like Darlington and Christian, were all guys that can move off the ball. I think its just one game today, let’s not get carried away either, but I think it gives us confidence and we’ll move forward from here.”
“I’m always trying to find those pocket of spaces in between the lines, and I think tonight I was able to do that. Moving off the ball is very key, and I think once we have a lot of guys interchanging positions and trying to get in those pocket of spaces, that can be very dangerous.”
U.S. midfielder CHRISTIAN PULISIC
On scoring his first goal:
"It was amazing, I can’t explain it. It’s always amazing just to get on the field, and to score was just incredible. To be able to celebrate with my teammates and hear the fans, is amazing."
"I'm just living life in the moment. It's cool, stats and stuff are cool, but I just want to win this tournament coming up."
"The guys have taken me in. They're all really nice, and it's helped me a lot that I've been with them a few weeks now. It's getting more and more comfortable. I'm making more friends."
"It's just what I learned since I was a little kid. My dad taught me no matter what to just be myself. "I knew that I was good enough, that I had the ability, so I never shy away from any moment, and I don't think anyone should."