[USA 23] Following the U.S. roster announcement, Coach Bob Bradley talked expansively about the 23 players who'll be on the plane South Africa on Sunday, those who headed home and his plans for Saturday's game against Turkey ...
Bob Bradley ...
On his decision to take Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez:
"Plain and simple, Edson and Herculez have had real good stretches, scored a lot of goals. Brian [Ching] has been such an important player but it’s tough when you have an injury at an inopportune time."
On the strategy going into Saturday’s match against Turkey and how it differs from the Czech Republic game:
"One of the most important steps was just getting to our final team of 23, that’s important in terms of team building. Now we look forward to that match on Saturday, it’s a great test against Turkey.”
On the hardest part of the selection process:
"Whenever you’re in this situation, you’ll always get to the end and you’ll have in some cases three or four names for one or two spots. When you get to that point you go through it all different ways, there’s always total respect towards what everybody has put into it."
On the defensive miscues against the Czech Republic:
"Obviously last night was still a different kind of night, given that so many guys weren’t exactly sure of where they stood. Last night was also important in terms of Gooch getting back on the field for us. We’ll continue to work hard on defending as a team, we understand that as you get into tournaments like this that’s critical. We have the confidence that in this next stretch we can work on some things and get some guys sharper and fitter as we go."
On the choice of No. 2 goalkeeper and who might start against Turkey:
"We haven’t made a decision for Saturday, and last night’s lineup would not be an indication of ranking. We realize we have three good goalkeepers, clearly Timmy [Howard] has established himself as our No. 1 goalkeeper, Marcus [Hahnemann] over the second half of the season for Wolverhampton played really well, played all their games. As a veteran, as much as he would have of course loved to play last night, we still felt it was important for Brad [Guzan] to get that game."
On Herculez Gomez:
"Herculez has been on a great run in terms of scoring goals. Watching him everyday, his movement, he works very hard, those are all things that go well for us."
On Alejandro Bedoya:
"Alejandro continues to move himself along. This was an important year in his career, he’s worked his way into the national team pool and we believe he has a really bright future.”
On the lineup against Turkey being more representative of a starting XI:
"I think as I mentioned earlier, last night we needed to see some players, size up some different situations, but now the opportunity on Saturday is different and gives us a chance to start moving forward towards June 12."
On Brian Ching’s exclusion:
"It was extremely hard with the respect that we all have for Brian. As a person, for the way he plays on the field, his commitment to the team—it’s always hard whenever you make these types of decisions, but it’s particularly difficult when it’s a player that has contributed so much to the national team over the years.”
On the chemistry of the team he’s chosen:
"We feel we have a great group in that regard. Guys that have been to the World Cup before, and have become good leaders, some younger players that have played key roles throughout qualifying, some new players that came in late but still bring enthusiasm and as a group I think there’s great character, and we think that’s one of our strengths.”
On how DaMarcus Beasley’s performance in camp determined him making the team:
"He certainly had to prove himself. DaMarcus obviously had fallen out of it a little bit, and he needed to make a renewed commitment to the team, a renewed commitment to doing things as a player that make his team better. We’ve seen that, and we feel good about the way he’s worked to make that happen."
On any players who cemented their spot in the game against the Czech Republic:
"I think if you were going to name one player who fits into that category, you’d probably point to Herculez Gomez. He continues to take advantage of his opportunities, and we really feel he’s worked hard to get to this point.”
On what they saw in Edson Buddle:
"It’s always important to understand that when you make tough decisions, you try to factor in everything. We talked a lot about how guys have done in camp, and now you had a chance to see them last night, but you also take into account where they are in their seasons. Certainly up to this point in MLS, Edson’s been one of the best players in the league and we felt that type of form needed to really count.”
On the closeness in age of this team:
"I think it helps, especially in regard to key players that have been there in the past. Landon [Donovan], Gooch [Oguchi Onyewu], Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey, Timmy Howard—I think the relationship that those guys have with the whole team works well for us. We still see a good range though, because we still have Marcus Hahnemann who continues to move his way forward. His experience helps us.”
On Eddie Johnson and Robbie Findley:
"That was certainly one of those tough, late decisions. We feel that Robbie still brings something special, especially as a reserve. His speed when he comes into a match, his willingness to try and run behind a defense; we felt that those are things that when we looked at everything our team had, we could still use some of those qualities.”
On how much fitness mattered, and the lack of experience in the group of forwards:
“Of course, as we moved through this camp and into the game last night, knowing that the World Cup begins in 15 days, those are things that count a great deal. We emphasized fitness, we got a good read as to where guys are in the whole thing and then last night’s game helped us assess that in a game situation. As far as the experience, we recognize that we’ve chosen some younger guys but we believe that they have qualities that can still help us and thought that was the best way to go.”
On Carlos Bocanegra:
“Carlos is our captain and his presence in the team is very important. He’s got a great way with the group, he’s very positive and he’s a player that, when he steps on the field, people respect him for the way he competes. I think in those ways his leadership has grown over the years and is an important part of our team.”
On Bocanegra’s fitness:
“His fitness is good. Every day he feels a little bit better in terms of getting past the hernia surgery. The time frame you normally see with that injury is such that we have great confidence about how he’ll continue to progress over the next stretch.”
On Clarence Goodson:
“We’ve watched Clarence a lot in the last few months. We’ve had him in some camps and we think he continues to get more confident. Certainly his ability in the air, both in defensive situations and attacking on set pieces has been a great plus. We feel that as he continues to get experience his play will get better and better.”
On the level Oguchi Onyewu will need to play at to be a starter:
“Like any player, we need to see that he continues to make progress. Last night was a great start and we’ve got a couple more weeks, two more matches, so we’ll get a good read as to exactly where he is as we get closer to the first game.”
On Steve Cherundolo:
“Steve is an important player for us. He is a true professional. Whenever we talk about leadership in our team, the kind of tough conversations that go on inside the team, Steve just has an excellent way of interjecting at the right time. He listens to what people have to say but he still has real strong opinions that come from his experiences. When you take into account his time in Hannover, the fact that he’s been the captain there, I think it speaks to the fact that he’s a real professional and an important part of what we’re doing.”
On the role of outside backs on his team:
“For sure, they are very important. You need the width, you need the ability to have those players join in, be a threat and not only to cross but to provide crosses from different places. That can lead to some great chances. We saw that in the Confederations Cup last year. I think Jonathan Spector had two great deliveries that set up goals for Clint Dempsey. Also the types of crosses that get us further up the field. I think that both Steve and Jonathan give us great options in that regard.”
On how he made the decision on Robbie Findley:
“Robbie was a player that we discussed late last night. We made the decision that we needed to see the other players, and we only had six subs last night. We felt that we had a good feel for where Robbie was after the earlier games this year, including most recently Holland. So, that’s how we handled that part of it.”
On where Findley needs to improve:
“What he’s shown is that his movement along the front line is good, his speed, his ability to try to get behind the defense. Now in those situations he needs the ability to make those count a little bit more. Part of that is confidence, and now when he gives himself a little advantage, he needs to be the type of player that defenders worry about and who can ultimately take his chances and start to make a little more happen in those moments.”
On Benny Feilhaber:
“Benny has played an important role for us, in particular he can play on either side of midfield or in the middle. He’s a creative player who can still see and deliver the final pass, so we think that’s been important. Every time we’ve got him in camp the push is to get him to continue to where he can do that for longer periods and be a little more consistent over 90 minutes.”
On Jonathan Bornstein:
“Johnny Bornstein has played in some big matches for us, he’s a very good competitor. Athletically he matches up well with some of the quick, fast players that you see at the international level out wide. He’s a player that can also give us something going forward, so his contributions along the way have helped us, for sure.”
On whether he chose players by positions or overall:
“We go through many different scenarios as far as what we’d do in situations when the team is ahead, or behind, where you might get an injury or suspension. You have to take everything into account and try to have 23 players that can cover those situations as well as the right kind of chemistry to help each other as we move into the World Cup.”