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Post-Match Quotes: U.S. U-20 WNT vs. Panama

U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Steve Swanson and select players discuss the 6-0 win against Guatemala, including keeping three clean sheets and playing against the home team in front of their home crowd.

U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team head coach STEVE SWANSON

On the Panama U-20 WNT:

“This is the first time I’ve seen them and they have some pretty good athletes on their team. They have some dangerous players. They even have a couple of players that didn’t play tonight that could cause problems for any team in our region. I think they’re one of the up and coming nations and I thought the atmosphere here was terrific. We couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere. The fans were terrific and to get that much support all the way through the game says a lot about the country in general and the way they’ve embraced women’s soccer. From our standpoint, I think we have a great deal of respect and really appreciate the hospitality we’ve received so far.”

On the 20-minute span in which Panama was able to pressure the U.S.:
“We struggled in the first 20 minutes to get a rhythm. I thought Panama was organized and they compete very hard. We have a lot of respect for the way the Panama team competed. It was hard for us early to break them down but I thought we had some good chances. We didn’t finish those very well but you have to credit Panama for coming out hard. They played with a lot of heart and that’s something that in our country we appreciate very much.”

On playing against Panama:
“They were a really aggressive team. They came out very aggressive, which we knew they were going to. We kind of struggled in the beginning to get into a rhythm but after that the game slowed down and we did score six goals so we accomplished our goal of beating them.”

On getting three consecutive shutouts:
“Our defense, with the three shutouts, we’ve switched the positions around a lot so it does show that we have a lot of versatility on our team and a lot of different people are playing different positions. I think it’s great because we haven’t had any goals scored on us and that shows that our defense is really strong right now.”

On the atmosphere in the stadium:
“I got to the University of Portland and the crowd is really big there. It’s kind of the same kind of atmosphere. It felt like home for me, a little bit. It was nice to have the crowd there.”

On winning Group B:
“Winning the group is big for us. The teams we played are good competitors and it’s going to prepare us for Mexico or Canada, whoever we get to play next and hopefully go to the Final.”

U.S. U-20 WNT midfielder SARAH KILLION
On the match:
“It was a good game. I thought we learned a lot. The first 10 or 15 minutes were a little shaky but I think once we settled down and started to play and got a few goals, that calmed us down.”

On playing the home team in front of their home crowd:
“It was really loud. I think we learned that you really can’t hear each other so everyone has to know their part and know what they’re doing. As long as we do that, we’ll be okay.”

On the third consecutive shutout:
“The shutouts mean a lot to the team. They especially mean a lot to our goalkeepers to not let any goals in. It’s good for our team confidence and it helps us as a team.”

On advancing to the semifinals:
“Advancing to the semifinal means a ton, especially being first out of our group. It’s always good to be first and to go into Friday with a little more confidence. We’ll be ready.”

U.S. U-20 WNT forward MAYA HAYES
On the game against Panama:
“We were expecting them to be physical. They were definitely a one-v-one defending team. They looked to man-mark all over the field so it was up to us to be a lot quicker off the ball, not necessarily on the ball. I think we did that. Our first five minutes coming out, our focus was to get the game going with the atmosphere and we did well to take control of the game early and run with it, and never let them in the game.”

On playing in front of a rowdy crowd:
“The fans were loud but I think we kept our composure. It helped us a lot. It kept them in the game and it kept us in the game. It kept us focused and let us know what we needed to do while we were out there.”

On her two goals:
“It was just ball movement. That was the focus for the forwards going into the game. I think for me it was movement off the ball that got me open and once I got the ball it was just finishing and not exactly using power, just slotting it in. My first goal, the defender was on my back and I turned on her because she expected me to lay it off and I just slotted it near post. The second goal, I think I got a run in behind the defense and I just took a touch and slotted it past the goalkeeper as she was coming out.”


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