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U.S. MNT vs. CRC: Quote Sheet – March 22, 2013

Quotes from the 1-0 victory at a snowy Dick’s Sporting Goods Park during 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying

© John Todd/U.S. Soccer

IN THE IMAGE: U.S. Men’s National Team Players celebrate Clint Dempsey’s goal.

U.S. Soccer President SUNIL GULATI: 

On if he expected the weather:
“It’s been a perfect week in Denver until it started snowing two hours before kickoff. [It was] probably not like any other game we’ve witnessed, or certainly the U.S. team has played in since I’ve been involved. We are very pleased with the results.”  

On playing in the snowy conditions:
“We had 19,000 people; some were on their feet the whole game. So we understand if the match would have been suspended, it would not have played from the first minute. It would have been picked up from where the game was, that’s a recent change by FIFA, so the game would have then been replayed from whatever point. We’re worried about the safety of the players and being able to see the ball, and the referee and match commissioner made the decision that the game could continue and I think it was the right decision.” 

On considering postponing the match before it started:
“No, because all week it’s been perfect, so we can always second guess ourselves, but we had a torrential rain storm against Mexico many years ago.  You think about it sure, but second guessing doesn’t do us any good. We played, got the game in, got three points, saw the crowd, and most of the crowd went home happy.”  

U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach JURGEN KLINSMANN

On the result:
“I think the most important part is we have three points and it prepares us for Mexico. The second half was a battle; it was tough to create a good passing game. We wish the conditions would have stayed as they were at the beginning of the game. Overall, great character shown by all the players to fight and just gave everything they had. We want to thank the crowd for the amazing support. They suffered as much as we did.” 

On playing on the snow-covered pitch:
“You adjust to the conditions, meaning you try as much as you can to push the ball forward into the opponents half. You can’t pass through the channels, you can’t pass one and two touches to midfield; that’s not the game you can play anymore. We told them at halftime, be smart, don’t pass backline balls, don’t pass it inside, and go from there. It’s a simple adjustment to the rather severe conditions. It’s for both teams really difficult to play all the way through; we can’t even discuss whose disadvantage it is at the end of the day. We wanted to score a second goal. We would have loved to play through it, we would have loved to score even more goals, but you adjust and get it over with. A different climate or different environment, this is really the tough part of it for all the players, to within a few days adjust to different climates. “

On if he would have reconsidered playing the match:
“I would have done anything kind of possible not to stop. I mean you start it off, you score a first goal, you want to add another one, you don’t get the penalty that you clearly deserve to get, then you don’t want to stop it obviously. You want to keep that advantage and finish it off.  You want to see a second and a third goal, but under those conditions you can’t play through with it, it’s tough to do that.” 

On his plans to deal with the conditions:
“From a tactical side, from passing elements, you couldn’t play today. It was just simply impossible, but I think you know how they adjusted to it, what they made out of it, certain players were just admirable. You never know how players adjust to it until they are on the field, once the game starts. Costa Rica did really well to adjust to the snowy conditions. They gave us a really tough game.”

On plans for the next match against Mexico on March 26:
“Altitude is one of the main reasons being here. That’s a topic that if you talk to sports scientists, there is almost no ideal time frame. Some say 10-12 days you need at least to adjust to it. First of all we came to Denver because we knew we had a huge crowd behind us, which they proved it. The fans were awesome and pushed us the whole 90 minutes. We chose location for these five home games based on where we really feel like 100 percent support, with crowds with real home advantage. How much it helps us at the end of day to adjust to higher altitudes in Mexico City, we will see that on Tuesday night, but I think every day on talking to these so called experts helps you. Any altitude helps you.”  

U.S. goalkeeper BRAD GUZAN

On the crowd support at sold-out Dick’s Sporting Goods Park:
“The fans were fantastic. No one would have blamed them if they headed for the exits to get out of the weather, so the fact that they stayed to the end was absolutely phenomenal.” 

On how much the snow impacted visibility:
“You have to find a way to deal with it. Obviously it’s not ideal but you do the best you can, The guys in front of me did a good job of limiting their opportunities. The credit goes to them for sure.” 

On the negativity surrounding the team this week:
“Negativity from who? Whatever goes on the outside, you know inside of our team these group of guys have all the confidence in each other and belief that we can go out there and do our job. We have the support of the coaching staff. I thought today really showed that. The guys rolled up their sleeve, got after it and in difficult conditions where we got three points.” 

On how proud the team is of the result:
“It was important to keep a clean sheet. Not only for myself, but for the guys in front of me. I think they worked their butt off in terms of limiting their opportunities clearing balls, dealing with balls that are lumped forward, and second balls, all the little things that maybe they don’t get recognition for. That’s important that we are able to do that well.”

U.S. midfielder and team captain CLINT DEMPSEY

“All the credit goes to the boys. They fought hard tonight. It wasn’t the prettiest game but we grinded out a result and got a clean sheet. Now it’s about going off to the next game.”

On his performance in his first game as captain:
You just got to make sure your being smart out there, making sure your putting out a good shift and leading by example. Maybe when you lose the ball, you’re chasing down lost causes. It’s in the back of your head a little bit more to give a little bit of that extra effort.” 

On the play of Jermaine Jones:
“He’s always fighting hard in games. He’s giving everything that he has, and tonight he was big for us. He did a good job of breaking plays, winning possession and really being a force in midfield with Michael [Bradley].“  

On the goal:
“I just got the ball on a turn and played Jozy out wide, then he was able to set himself up to get a good shot off. There was a little bit of a lucky deflection, and I just happened to be following the play. If I would’ve missed that one, I would’ve been crying all night.” 

U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley

On the performance:
“In the past stretch, even going back to the last stage of qualifying, the things that our team always has to be about,  the fight, the commitment … we looked at each other and said this isn’t what it needs to be. As we move forward and the big games come, in order for us to be a team that competes at the highest level that has to be at it’s absolute highest whenever we step on the field. When you look in all those areas tonight, there is a lot to be proud of.”

On the crowds:

“We talk in football about what it means to have a home field advantage, and on behalf of the team we want to thank everyone tonight in Denver who comes out and supports our team and contributes to make it a great atmosphere and an environment where we feel like we’re being pushed on every second.” 

U.S. National Team forward Herculez Gomez

On the match:
“Good teams find ways to win games, and that’s what we did, we found a way today. We grinded out a result because it wasn’t very hard to see that conditions were pretty bad and it was pretty difficult to play actual soccer but we found a way.” 

On what the team can take from the game:
“Unity, I think, would be a big one. When the going got tough, we stuck together. We didn’t point fingers, we didn’t blame, we were intense with each other and we knew that it would take all of us to get the good out of this.” 

On if he’s played in these conditions before:
The closest I’ve gotten to that would be opening day in this actual stadium, but it wasn’t blizzard-like conditions. [With the Rapids] we had a few days where we would try it and it would get so bad we’d have to go indoors and do something else.” 

On DaMarcus Beasley’s play:
“Yeah, mi hermano! Man, it’s so easy to play with that guy. He’s such a good football player. At times it was very difficult for us to keep the ball because of these conditions, and I thought we did very well on that left side. Just having a player like that makes it so easy. He’s a consummate pro, he’s just going to give 100 for sure, and more. He’s a good player, and I don’t think there’s anyone on our team that won’t tell you that.” 

On keeping possession despite the conditions:
“We tried, we tried. Honestly, I think it could’ve a lot better for us on a good playing field, but I also think it threw a little screwball at Costa Rica. We’ll take it.”

Source Article from http://www.ussoccer.com/News/Mens-National-Team/2013/03/MNT-vs-CRC-Quote-Sheet.aspx
U.S. MNT vs. CRC: Quote Sheet – March 22, 2013
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