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Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. MNT vs. Panama

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and select players discuss the team’s 1-0 win against Panama.

© Howard C. Smith/isiphotos.com

Brek Shea

IN THE IMAGE: The U.S. defeated Panama 1-0 in the first friendly between the two teams.

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN

On the game against Panama:
“I think we saw a very close game, a very tight game which we luckily won because Panama didn’t finish off the chances that they had. Our team had a very hard three weeks, and they had tired legs today and you could see that. After the red card, we couldn’t pressure enough anymore to create more chances. Overall, I think it really paid off doing this, not only playing a game in the U.S., but coming down here. A lot of the young players learned their lesson today.”

On the goal for the team during January camp and the two recent games:
“Our goal with these two games was very simple. We wanted to introduce the players to those difficult games in different environments, especially away from home outside of their comfort zone. We wanted them to come here and experience this atmosphere and a different way of doing things. I think they did very well with all that.”

On the call leading to Geoff Cameron’s red card:
“For me, from that perspective it was difficult to tell. You might see it better on TV. No matter what, you take it the way it is. You can’t change it anyway. The team did well after that. We had to switch to a 4-4-1, which didn’t give us enough power to get into their box and create chances for ourselves. The way they executed in the last half hour from a tactical perspective was very good. They calmed the game down and controlled possession. They deserved the win at the end of the day.”

On tonight’s lineup selection:
“The lineup for both games was based on what we have seen for the last three weeks. These guys deserve it. Obviously the red card makes it a bit more difficult. You’d like to bring on Benny Feilhaber, who had a good first half against Venezuela but it’s not the right solution in that moment. Overall, we saw a lot of positives for this group that gives you a feeling of where these players stand. These players deserve a big compliment for all the energy and effort they put into these three weeks, which were not easy.”

On who stood out in camp:
“I don’t think it would be right at this point to name players. We had a very good look at all of them. Everyone came in from a different background and a different environment. What we did in these last three weeks was get a really good picture. The reason why we need these camps, scrimmages, and games is to get a sense of them so we can help them take the next steps. Overall, everyone in this camp gave everything they had, which was wonderful to see. Their willingness to learn, their willingness to suffer, and to come down to this environment after the Venezuela game was something we needed to see. We needed to see who could suffer. It was a good response, and when they went down a man they suffered even more. These are important things we want to see, and they gave us a lot of responses to our questions. Now we are trying to give everybody feedback on where we see them.”

U.S. goalkeeper and Budweiser Man of the Match NICK RIMANDO
On the game:
“I thought we did a good job. We had a plan going in to possess the ball and build out of the back. We did that well at times, and at times defending we got caught with balls over the top. All in all, we battled until the end and got the result we wanted.”

On making several big saves:
“We tried to stay as organized as possible, and my job is to make those saves. My best game is when I don’t have to touch the ball, because it means we are doing well as a group defensively. At times they did break through, and our defense put a lot of pressure on the ball. I was able to make a couple saves that kept us in the game.”

On getting two wins to close out the three-week January camp:
“It’s a long process of training. We kept an open mind to new things that Jurgen has in mind. This is the reward he’s given us, to play these two games. To get two victories and come down to Central America and beat Panama is huge. It’s a testament to all the hard work everyone has put in.”

U.S. midfielder GRAHAM ZUSI
On the goal:
“We were working the ball down the left side of the ball. Zach sent a ball in that took a fortuitous bounce in my direction, and I was just there to clean it up. It’s a cool experience to get that first goal, but the win is still the most important thing.”

On the game:
“We started the game very well and set the tone. When you are away from, their team is going to get some rhythm and that’s exactly what they did. Nick came up with a couple huge saves for us. We had a great response to going down a man. We kept the ball well when we could, and didn’t give them too many clear chances. It was a great team effort to get the win.”

On the atmosphere:
It was fun. The crowd was great. It was a fun environment to play in. They didn’t stop for 90 minutes. It was a fun experience, and even better to come out with a win.

On the performance:
“At the start of the game we played very well. The goal came at the right moment, and in the first half I think we were the better team. The second half was difficult because we were a man down and Panama pushed hard. We had a young team, and to get two wins was a good way to finish the camp. We showed that we can play with these teams.”

On playing Panama:
“We have seen Panama play before in the Gold Cup, and they were two tough games. Tonight was no different. We had a young team that did well. In these games they can learn when to go with speed and when to slow down. This is a good experience for them.”

On being the captain for the last two games:
“I was happy when the coach came to me and told me I was going to be captain. I was very happy to be invited into camp, and to finish with two wins as captain was a great experience”.

U.S. midfielder BREK SHEA
On the experience of playing in Panama:
“Going through Residency we had a lot of games like this. Obviously it’s not the same level, but it prepared me well.”

On playing all nine games since Klinsmann took over:
“Obviously it gives me a lot of confidence that he believes in me. These experiences are helping me develop as a player.”

On how this experience will help for the future:
“It was good to help us prepare for what we will see in World Cup qualifying. It’s a battle. It’s not always pretty, but you have to get the results.”


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