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

U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Steve Swanson and select players discuss the team’s 5-0 win against Mexico and the excitement of qualifying for the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

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

On qualifying for the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup:

“We’re very excited to qualify. It’s been a long three months…a long year and a half, actually, for a lot of the players. When you take into consideration that a lot of the players didn’t qualify for the Under-17 World Cup, we’re thrilled. We’re happy to be moving on and we’re looking forward to the game on Sunday. One of our goals coming into the tournament was to win the tournament and we have a chance to do that so we’re looking forward to Sunday’s game.”

On whether there is anything the team needs to work on despite outscoring opponents 22-0:
“Coaches are always highly critical and very analytical and I think there are several things we could get better at. We’re very happy to qualify and it’s not easy. We know that coming from the last [CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship] where we scored 36 goals and gave up zero and still didn’t make it. We’re excited to qualify. We’re thrilled to be going to Japan but I think there are things we could do better. Even though we scored three goals in the first half, we really didn’t have a grip on the game until the second half so that’s something we could get better at. Our goal is to win the tournament and we have another game on Sunday. We’re excited about that, too.”

On having four consecutive shutouts:
“That’s one of the things that we’ve been working on, especially in our training camp early in January and I think we have a little continuity in the back and that helps. We have several players with experience down there and I think we have a good mix of good athletes and competitive players and good individual defenders and we feel confident in our back line. We’ve been saying all along that it’s been our team defending. That’s what’s important to us. Our forwards have done a good job, our midfielders have done a good job, our goalkeepers have done a good job and our backs have done a good job as well. We have to continue to play defensively together. That’s been a key to our success so far.”

U.S. U-20 WNT midfielder MORGAN BRIAN
On being excited to qualify for the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup:
“Excited is a little bit of an understatement. I think everyone is really excited because we’ve practiced for a year and a half, almost, and for it to all come together is a great feeling.”

On the match:
“The game was fun. In the beginning, everyone was a little nervous but we scored early and that was a good thing. After that we just possessed around them and the goals came after that.”

On her goal:
“I practice free kicks all the time when I’m at home. I just went up and the girls told me to go far post, so I looked up and went far post. I was like, ‘Wow, that was fun.’ It was a good goal and Lindsey [Horan] had gotten fouled so it was a good team effort.”

On having four shutouts and 22 goals after four games:
“It speaks a lot about our team defense, I think. It starts from the forwards to the backs and the backs and the goalkeepers have been great. It’s everyone, together.”

U.S. U-20 WNT midfielder JULIE JOHNSTON
On the game against Mexico:
“The game was exciting. We knew it was going to be a tough battle. We came out strong and we got a win. It was awesome.”

On qualifying for the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup:
“It was unbelievable. I know some of the girls were on the U-17 team that didn’t qualify, so this was huge for them. I was just as excited. It’s an awesome feeling.”

On her goal:
“I saw Katie [Stengel] going for it so I got to the back post and I was waiting for it. It got to me and I just tried to relax and place it behind the ‘keeper. I got a little luck and it went in.”

On the playing in the final:
“It’s important. Our goal was to come here and to come out first. We’re not looking past it. We’re excited that we qualified to go to Japan but it’s not over yet.”

On winning to qualify for the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup:
“We were really excited to come into the game and start off the way we did. Scoring the first goal so soon into the half was definitely a morale booster. After the first goal, I started tearing up a little bit. It just brought back so many memories. At the end of the game, it was overall joy. Everyone was just full of joy. It was awesome.”

On having more touches on the ball in this game than previous matches:
“I had a few more touches. It’s always fun. Being a goalkeeper, you want chances but then again, you don’t want chances at the same time. It was nice to touch the ball and help my team out. It was an overall great team effort.”

On what the team expected coming into the match:
“I think our whole team expected a little different style of play from Mexico. They came at us really hard and we adjusted to what they played and we just brought it to them.”

On the four shutouts in the four tournament games:
“We have four shutouts between Abby and me. It feels great. Between the defense , the whole team, Abby and I, it’s a great way to go into a tournament and, hopefully, leave the tournament.”


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