[USA-CZECH REPUBLIC] After the last game before U.S. coach Bob Bradley will have to make his decision on which players to take to the World Cup, those players on the bubble admitted they're anxiously waiting for word whether they'll be going to South Africa.
U.S. Coach BOB BRADLEY
On the feeling after the game and the commitment of the players throughout pre-World Cup training camp:
"I speak on behalf of the players and you can only imagine the emotions when they come off the field. We've worked very hard and guys know we're at a point where tough decisions need to be made. There's still a respect we have for what they've put into the camp and into the game. As a player, to come into a camp with the opportunity to make a team and go to the World Cup is a special thing. As it gets closer and closer those emotions come out. On a night when the result doesn't go our way, we know there are things we will still work hard at and we pay tribute to the guys who have been in this camp, the work they've put in and the way they've gone about it."
On the game tonight:
"There was a lot of energy at times and the collective effort meant at times we created things going forward but we didn't always do well on the final side of it. In the process of trying to put so much into it we left ourselves open at times."
On the purpose of the game:
"Tonight was about looking at guys. We felt going into the game we still needed to size up some different possibilities and options. The subs we used tonight were all geared toward looking closely at people and using that information along with everything else in camps before and through this cycle. There are thoughts about what they bring to the team chemistry and mentality, and finally the fitness and current form. It's all of those things that get discussed and then decisions get made."
On DaMarcus Beasley's performance in camp:
"It's been a good camp for DaMarcus. He's shown his teammates again there is renewed commitment to everything and I think that's what he showed on the field tonight."
On Herculez Gomez:
"Herculez played his way into the camp with his performances at Puebla. It was based upon goals and in some cases coming on as a sub and scoring. You assess a lot of things and tonight I saw plays that for me need to be better but obviously he scored a goal which is very important in this whole thing. I started by talking about how players have a lot to be proud of and here's a guy who was totally out of the picture and played his way back in. He certainly will be discussed during our meetings tonight."
On Oguchi Onyewu's progress during pre-World Cup training camp:
"We've seen improvement in this camp in terms of how he moves around, so that was encouraging. His overall reactions in the game were good and on the ball, passing was pretty solid. Now all these things need to be moved up a few more notches…certainly after six or seven months there were a lot of good things."
On making decisions on the roster:
"We'll go back and have a team meeting. We have a lot of things we've laid out already so we'll see how far along we are. We'll talk to players either late tonight or early in the morning and that will of course depend on where we are with some things."
U.S. MNT Midfielder STUART HOLDEN
On playing center midfield:
"At that point we're moving things around and I'm comfortable playing either in the middle or out wide. It was just the way it went with subs. We switched things around and always knew we'd be mixing things up in the second half."
On set pieces:
"Set pieces are something I pride myself on when I'm in dangerous areas. I was a little disappointed with myself tonight at the end of the second half when my legs were a little tired and I was a little lackadaisical. We have good guys attacking the ball and if you put the ball in the right position they get on the end of it."
On the game tonight:
"First half and second half we created enough chances to score but they didn't quite come off for us. We're disappointed with the result but we can take a lot of positives from the game."
On players making the World Cup squad:
"The way this team has been built, there is team chemistry and we're going to support everyone, whether they're on the roster or not. This is a tough part and there are tough decisions for the coaching staff. But we all know there are decisions to be made and if it goes your way then great, you're going to South Africa. If not, you move on, put it behind you, and support the team."
U.S. Forward HERCULEZ GOMEZ
On his goal:
"It was a special moment, but that goal was 10 percent me and 90 percent Clarence [Goodson]. I'm definitely thankful I was in the right place at the right time."
On making the World Cup squad:
"It'd mean the world, that's for sure. It's every soccer player's dream, to be standing where I'm standing. I'm aware of that and this has been special, especially with where I was nine months ago."
On the feeling within the team after the game:
"It's mixed emotions. Guys are obviously disappointed we lost and for stretches that game we played well. Some guys are just ready for this hard week to be over and we're all nervous and anxiously waiting."
U.S. Midfielder MAURICE EDU
On his goal:
"That was my first goal with the national team so I'm definitely excited. It was a good start for us. We were putting a lot pressure on them and to get that goal put us in a good position at that time. The celebration was for Charlie Davies. Unfortunately, he's not here with us right now but that was just a way to show the world we're thinking about him and he's still a part of the team."
On playing center back:
"It's a position I played at the Olympics so it is familiar. In the game I got a little bit tired but I felt pretty comfortable back there. I played quite a bit in the back and the coaches have said they might play me in that position if need be. In training I played a little bit back there and in the middle as well."
U.S. Midfielder DaMARCUS BEASLEY
On the game:
"It was difficult. It was hot and muggy and guys got tired. We gave up a bad goal at the end of the first half but all in all I thought we did alright."
On his position with the national team:
"My favorite is the right side because I can cut in on my left. But it's World Cup time so anywhere you can fit on the field or anywhere you can fit in the 23 is where you want to be. If the coaches want to use me in any way possible I'm all for it. I'm just happy to have the opportunity to play. I played at right midfield, left midfield and left back throughout the week and Bob knows I can play different positions. It's always good to have some versatility in your game."
On working his way back into the national team fold:
"I've always been committed to the national team but I had a rough time when my form went down and my confidence went down as well. I've always been committed to the national team and I've always tried to play my best for my country. It didn't happen that way and I got down on myself. All I asked for was a chance and now that I'm getting back into playing and training regularly, I feel like I'm back to being myself."
U.S. Forward EDSON BUDDLE
On whether he felt a greater sense of urgency knowing that this was the last match before naming the roster for the World Cup:
“It’s been like that all week in training. There was more fitness and less playing. Even tonight, I think guys were getting after it and were anxious to put their best out there and leave it on the field.”
On whether players were anxious to win the game with everything on the line:
“I think the guys were more anxious and wanting to do well than they were nervous. It’s the same game and you just want to be sharp and be aware and have the energy to show that you want to be on this team.”
On what happened during the play that resulted in him getting stitches:
“I’m not sure how many stitches I got. I was more focused on the ball. I’m not sure if I got hit by the goalkeeper or if it was a headbutt with someone trying to clear the ball out. I was just focused on the ball and trying to get a head on it.”
On whether he would like time to go faster to know the World Cup roster:
“Looking at it from Bob’s side, I would say that he wants to make it tough for the players and making sure they’re competing every day. As a player, I would want to know just to prepare for it and know that you’re on the team. As a player, you want to be there.”
U.S. Forward EDDIE JOHNSON
On how he has grown as a player in Greece:
“I think it’s been a good experience for me. Going to Europe, it has taken me quite some time to settle in. Sometimes it takes players longer. Sometimes Americans go over and do well early. For me, it has taken quite some time but I’m enjoying it.”