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Altidore: 'I had a lot of fun'
February 7th, 2008 7AM
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[USA-MEXICO REACTION] Jozy Altidore, who scored the second U.S. goal, admitted he was surprised to get the start, but he said he was very excited. U.S. coach Bob Bradley was so confident in Altidore's "presence" that the 18-year-old striker went 90 minutes in his first U.S. start. For the reaction from Bradley, Altidore and other U.S. players ...


On the match:
"These kind of games are what the players look forward to and as coaches, we understand that we need this kind of games in order to look hard at our players and our team to find things that we need to improve ... We gain experience against a very good team in an atmosphere that was loud and in a great stadium. We talk about big games, and in terms of understanding how to play in those big matches, tonight was an excellent example ... It is probably always the same with a 2-2 tie. You see things that you're happy about, but you see just as many things that you want to see improve."

On Mexico's play:
"There were a couple of set pieces in difficult positions tonight. They did a good job of creating options, and their delivery was quite good. That's a challenge when you come together quickly as a team just before a game. They were able to take advantage twice. In the game there were periods when we had the edge, and there were periods when they had the edge. Their ability to play under pressure was very good, and they have some skillful players. Whenever you play Mexico dealing with that is a challenge."

On Jozy Altidore's Goal:
"The goal was well taken. He [Jozy] found a little seam in the defense. It was a very, very good ball into the box from Drew Moor. It was an excellent piece of finishing, and a good bit of movement to get into that spot. Seeing where the ball is going to come, and then being in a good position to hold off tough defenders - those are things he has to continue to improve upon. As the game wore on, I think he was tired, but we also felt that his presence could still give us a chance so we let him go the full 90 minutes."

On play of Tim Howard:
"Timmy Howard gives us great play in the back. His organization is good and he makes tough saves. Over the last year and a half, in big games he has come through for us."

On play of Bobby Convey:
"This is the first game Bobby has started since the Mexico game last year [in Glendale, Ariz.]. He's had some injuries, and he's still working his way back into the national team. It's difficult when you're out for awhile. I thought he worked hard tonight. For him in his road back, that is a good start."


On the result:
"I thought the match was all right. It was a bit disappointing since we had the lead twice and let them come back into it. The thing is they scored on set pieces, and we can eradicate that. We'll take positives: the young guys came in and did well. It was a tough atmosphere to play in, a big stadium with lots of excitement, and that's a big positive to take away from tonight."

On playing in center defense with Oguchi Onyewu:
"We're getting more and more comfortable with each other. We're starting to understand each other's tendencies, and the more we play together the more we're going to improve."

U.S goalkeeper TIM HOWARD

On the unbeaten run:
"We're disappointed that we lost the lead twice, but they probably needed the win more than we did and we kept the streak going. It was always going to be emotional, and it was always going to be passionate. That's the difficult part - just trying to keep your nerve. But that passion is also the best part of the rivalry. It's always intense, and it's always going to be an exciting game, no matter how well the teams play. We're still trying to find ourselves as a team a little bit, but the positive is that we're still getting results."


On what he was thinking when Landon Donovan kicked the ball across the area:
"When he kicked it over I was hoping it would make its way to back to the back post and the 'keeper wouldn't come out. Luckily he didn't and I went up for the header and hoped for the best."


"It was a good game. I think the rivalry is all that it's cracked up to be. It was a tremendous atmosphere. I'm surprised I got to start, but I was still very excited and I had a lot of fun today."

On what he thought when he heard he was starting:
"I just thought, 'I gotta get focused.' This is my big chance, a big opportunity for myself and my teammates to play in front of a big crowd like this. I think we took the best of it. I thought Mexico played well for the last 20-30 minutes but like good teams do, we weathered the storm."

On the goal:
"It's just a feeling sometimes. Drew (Moor) crossed the ball and it went over Rafa's (Marquez) head and landed to me, and I just did my best to get my head on it."

On his celebration:
"It's a great moment. Any time anybody scores their first goal, you want to share it with the people who care the most and the fans were right there, so it was nice."


On the offside call:
"It was a late whistle, so it surprised me. I didn't hear it and took the shot, but the next thing I knew I turned around and they had stopped the play."

On the crowd:
"It was the way it always is. The way it was in Phoenix, the way it was in the Gold Cup. It was really loud."

On the game overall:
"It was ok. At times it was a bit slow, and they did a better job than us of keeping possession. But at the same time we created some chances, and we always seem to put the ball in the back of the net against [Mexico]. We put them under pressure, and though a tie isn't bad, to lead twice and not win the game is a tough one. That's the way it goes though. It is good to get some goals, but at the same time we were trying to get the win and we fell a little short today."

On the young players:
"They've been doing well when they come on the field. It seems like they're moving in the right direction to try to be around the team for qualifying and hopefully the World Cup."

U.S. defender DREW MOOR

On the set pieces:
"Obviously it is something that Mexico looks for, and they had plenty of them tonight. We were uncomfortable with that and should have dealt with it better. It was very loud, but we needed to not let our men get across us. We needed stronger bodies on their players and needed to win our battles individually. Mexico definitely came at us and I thought 2-2 was a fair result."

On the second goal:
"Well, it was a great finish by Jozy, and that's why he's in there. I'd been trying all day to pick him out since he's such a good header of the ball."



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