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Post-Match Quotes: U.S. WNT 1, Canada 1

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach and select players discuss the team’s 1-1 tie against Canada in the first match since the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

U.S. head coach PIA SUNDHAGE

On the match:

“I think we played our best soccer in the (World Cup) final but now they are coming back from a break. They weren’t sharp and we tried to tweak the system a little bit while keeping a possession style. There will be a lot of practices if we (are going to be successful) in changing the system a little bit or maybe we’ll go back to 4-4-2. We know that we can play a 4-4-2. It will be very interesting the next few months.”

On Megan Rapinoe:
“She earned her (starting) spot in the World Cup Final. She is a very good player, but her performance is sometimes very good and sometimes is not so good. She is playing more consistently lately and she will be one of the key players going into the Olympics.”

On the team’s increased popularity since the Women’s World Cup:
“It’s phenomenal, everything that happened in the World Cup and everything that’s happened since. It’s good to get the recognition, but I give credit to the players. They are role models and I am very happy to be a part of this team.”

Her goals for the team over these two ‘Celebration Series’ Games:
“We talked about changing the system, but more so than anything else: enjoy the moment. Being around soccer, being around fans, just enjoy it. In November we start training camps and then we prepare for the Olympics.”

On what to expect from the U.S. in London if the team qualifies:
“It’s a good question. Of course we will make sure that there are options. It’s a good team. We are going to cut down to 18 players so it’s a good competition with good players, but you shouldn’t take anything for granted. You have to earn your spot. “

On what needs the team needs to work on:
“I would rather start with the midfield. We have changed the role of the midfield. Instead of working too much with the back four, which was really good in the World Cup, we have to be more compact. We also have to be more sophisticated with the back four. We gave away the ball way too much today. But you could see some glimpses of really good soccer. Hopefully it will improve and we will play good soccer in January in Canada at Olympic qualifying.”

U.S. midfielder MEGAN RAPINOE

On the new formation:
“We’ve been playing in this system for about 48 hours so we are still getting used to it, but I love the new system. I’m a possession-oriented player. I like to have a lot of players around me and not feel like I’m on an island. Once we get it down I know we will be alright.”

On the popularity surrounding the team:
“It’s totally wild. It catches me off guard still, but it’s such an amazing thing. To have this packed house and next up a packed house in Portland, it’s so good for women’s soccer and it’s an amazing thing to be a part of.”

On the crowd at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City:
“What an amazing atmosphere it is here. Once the crowd gets loud it gets rockin’ in here. We would have liked a win, but Canada has a lot to prove, too. They have a new coach and it was a competitive atmosphere.”

On Canada:
“They had a rough go at World Cup, but I don’t think the World Cup was really indicative on their style of play and but I still think they have a lot of really good players. They were definitely playing more possession-oriented tonight. “

On LIVESTRONG Sporting Park:
“The stadium is unbelievable. Playing in Bundesliga stadiums (at the World Cup) was awesome and this is just a smaller version. It’s one of the best facilities I’ve played in. Portland should be banging too. I’m really excited to get back to roots.”

On playing a possession-oriented game:
“Possession will be huge in the Olympics for us. I think the women’s game has obviously progressed leaps and bounds since and you saw that at the World Cup. Japan is the best possession-oriented team in the world. France is really good too. We stepped up our game in the final. You have to play possession in this game to win.”

On the craziest/coolest thing that’s happened since the World Cup:
“Nike just put out a t-shirt of my hair. It’s pretty cool and funny.”


On the new formation:
“I like it. We are definitely more of an attacking team. I think with better spacing we are able to combine and get the ball wide. I think the last part of it will be how we defend after we’ve lost the ball. I think we lost a lot of balls tonight, but I really like this system and I think it will be very positive for us. I‘m looking forward to working on it during our camps in November and December.”

On starting her last run on the national team as she will retire in 2012:
“I’m still living it up right now. I’m trying to do my best to help the team out there and qualify for the Olympics and play in the Olympics. I’m still loving it. The World Cup was an amazing experience for me. It was a heartbreaking loss that I think it will stick with me forever, but it’s nice to step back on the field with my teammates and give it one last shot. I’ve had a great career with no regrets.”

On Canada:
“Whenever you have a change in the coach it brings a positive outlook and you want to do well for that coach. I know Canada is going to have a different style. They are in their tryout stage as well. Same thing as us, we’re trying a new system. Once January hits you’ll probably see two different teams than you saw tonight.”

U.S. goalkeeper HOPE SOLO

On getting the team back together:
“I think our expectations are always to win, but you know we are back together for the first time in over two months. It felt good to be back and we are implementing a new system of play to lead us into the Olympics. We don’t expect perfection right now but of course we always expect to win.”

On the support the team has received since the Women’s World Cup:
“We won gold in 2008, but the impact we had in 2011 when we won silver was that much more incredible. You never know when the time is going to come to gain exposure for your sport, but it’s all about the longevity of the game and I think soccer is here to stay.”

On the crowd at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park:
“Look at the stadium right now and this is how a game should feel like. Kansas City came out strong and this is what it’s supposed to be like in America. It can only get better from here. “

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