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Post-Match Quotes: U.S. U-23 MNT 6, Cuba 0

Post-Match quotes from the 6-0 U.S. victory against Cuba to open 2012 Olympic Qualifying

Post-Match Quote Sheet

U.S. U-23 MNT 6, Cuba 0

2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying

March 22, 2012

U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team head coach CALEB PORTER
“We’re obviously pleased with the strong start, but we’re also not satisfied with the performance. Even though the result was lopsided, I still thought it could have been better. Early in the game we were a little bit shaky in the buildup. The defending could have been a little tighter. It’s a little bit to be expected in the first game of the tournament. It’s been a long wait for this first game, and I think that showed a little bit in the nervousness out of a few guys. The nice thing is they settled in. You saw in the second half it was sharper, the defending was better, and you could see what we are capable of doing when we play quickly, the spacing is good, and the ball moves. I thought we put together some very attractive sequences and it was very effective, and I think we’ll get better and better as the tournament goes on. We’ll keep grounded on this one, file it away, and get ready for Canada.”

On whether the 6-0 result was a result of superior play or the red card to Cuba early in the game:
“Clearly the red card played into the game, but I would have liked to think we would have still played in a similar way. A lot of teams, even up a man, don’t move the ball as well as we did. Even when we’re even numbers, we’re a team that likes to possess the ball, and now when we’re up a man it was nearly impossible for them to get us off the ball. We leave the game with a realistic perspective. We win the game 6-0, but there’s a red card and in the early stages it wasn’t as good as it needed to be.”

On what he saw in Joe Corona that earned him a place in the lineup:
“We’ve had Joe in every camp, so I’ve seen him every day in training. Really for me, the light bulb went on in the Costa Rica portion of our camp in January. We played two matches in Costa Rica, and we had the midfield we had today with Jared [Jeffrey], Mix [Diskerud] and Joe starting in the game against Alajuela. I thought for me it just felt good. It felt right. Mix and Joe are quality players and very technical. The nice thing about all three of those guys is that they are three of our most fit guys on the team, with tremendous range, and get around the field. Not only are they technical and intelligent tactically, they’re also honest defensively. I thought they were a little soft in the first half as a group. They could have been a little bit harder in the middle of the field. A lot of that too had to do with the pressure at times from the front guys, and also the back four keeping things compact. In the second half it was much better.”

On how much the lineup will change with three games in five days:
“We’re going to be smart with how we manage our group from game to game. We’re going to look at our team after each game and assess where we’re at physically. Ultimately we want to try to get three points from each game, but also be smart in how we manage the rigors of this difficult format. We’re going to take some time to consider the group, and look at Canada as well.”

On how much he saw of the Canada game tonight:
“I didn’t really see much of it. We’ve got some good scouting reports on Canada. We’ll look at them tonight and start to digest their team. Right now with our guys is more about physically recovering. We need to give them time mentally. I like to give them tonight to enjoy, and tomorrow it’s behind us and it’s back to work.”

On taking out Juan Agudelo at halftime:
“We wanted to be smart. We’re up 4-0 at the time and we want to be smart about how we manage the game. He also took a knock, so we didn’t want to take any risks. We also have a lot of confidence in our bench. We have a lot of depth, and we know we can put guys in the game and the level will stay right where it is.”

On what he said to the team at halftime to avoid a letdown:
“Exactly what I said before. We’re going to keep it in perspective. We’re going to stay grounded. This is a long tournament. You’ve got to keep your highs low and your lows high. We need to keep this high a bit low, and understand I’m happy and pleased that we got the result. It’s a good start, but we need to be better. That will be the message. The nice thing is that I don’t really need to harp on that, because they know it. These guys have very high standards. They know what they’re capable of. I’ve seen it, and you saw it for some periods today. When we move the back quick and we put together our combination play and accelerate it at the right times, it was pretty special.”

On the play of Freddy Adu, and his goal:
“It was a great finish. He’s really flourishing in the way we’re playing. We like him on that right side, but he comes inside as a second attacking midfielder at times and finds pockets of space. It’s difficult to pick him up in that kind of position because he can sit in seams and between the layers. He’s tough to deal with. He’s very technical. He can play a final pass, and he can score. On the other side you have Brek Shea, who is just an absolute horse. You’ve got two very different types of guys, which makes it difficult to deal with, and then you’ve got Juan Agudelo up top who is also a handful. You’ve also got guys of the bench who bring a different dimension. We’ve got some dangerous guys in the attack. We’ve just got to make sure we continue to keep things tight defensively. I thought they had a few more chances on counters. Maybe to everybody else it didn’t feel like that they had a lot of the ball, but we want to win the ball back within six seconds, and I thought they had a little bit more of the ball in the first half then we wanted them to.”

On the play of Juan Agudelo:
“I thought he did great. He scored a goal, and the own goal he was right there as well. At the end of the day, he’s started two games for us and has two goals – Mexico and this game. So that’s pretty good production.”

U.S. midfielder and ussoccer.com Man of the Match JOE CORONA

On how he is fitting in with the team:
“I feel very good. The coaches and players have received me very well. I have a lot of confidence. I feel like I’m at home. The players are very good teammates. I’m happy.”

On playing under U.S. U-23 head coach Caleb Porter:
“He lets me be free on the ball, and that’s something that helps me a lot because I feel like I’m that type of player. I feel good.”

On the team’s defense and start to Thursday’s match:
“In the beginning we were a little sketchy, and we could have come out with a little bit more confidence. The players that we have are very good technically, and smart.”

On the team’s technical ability:
“I think that’s the strength of the team. We have a lot of players from all over the world, and I think that everyone gives it their own taste of soccer. That’s very important for us, and Caleb likes that.”

U.S. midfielder and team captain FREDDY ADU

On his first game as team captain:
“It was great. It was nice walking out there as the captain of the team. It’s a great honor, obviously, and it was nice to get this first game out of the way. That’s a game you always look forward to. Guys are a little bit nervous, but it was nice as soon as we played the first 15-20 minutes, we settled down and we started playing a little bit.”

On the first goal by Joe Corona:
“It was huge. Playing a team like Cuba, they defended pretty well. They sit behind the ball and they work hard moving side to side and defending. As soon as you get that first goal, it’s a huge sigh of relief because the game is going to open up. Now they have to come out and play.”

On his goal:
“As soon as it left my foot, I was like, ‘Whoa.’ I just hit that as clean as you could hit it, and luckily it was on target and to the corner as well. Definitely one of the best goals I’ve scored.”

U.S. forward BREK SHEA

On assessing Thursday’s game:
“We won 6-0 and we were fortunate to go up a man early on. We still looked shaky, and there were times where we had no pressure and we still lost the ball. I think [Porter] knows we’re a better team, and I think we know we’re a better team. We have more games coming, so we better get ready for them.”


On the team gelling on the pitch:
“We just tried to transfer what we did on the practice field to the game. I feel like in our last friendly against Mexico we all started to gel around the midfield, and everybody was just playing as a team.”

On the next match against Canada:
“We’ll do recovery things to get the legs back, and just focus on our style of play. I feel that if we play our game, we can beat any team.”

U.S. midfielder MIX DISKERUD

On the team’s playing style:
“It’s the best thing there is. I love this style of playing soccer. Caleb wants us to play like that, and we want to play like that ourselves. We are technical players and we want to keep the ball. We played how we wanted to play. I think it’s fun for the crowd to watch, as well. 

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