Olympics: U.S. men's reaction (post-Chile)

U.S. Head Coach Clive Charles: "From my point of view, I thought the team played very well tonight. I felt that the first half was even. I felt that we might have had slightly the better of it. In the second half, I thought we played the best soccer we've played in this tournament. Our movement was terrific. Our movement off the ball was great. Our passing was good. And then all of a sudden, we give away a penalty , and the whole game changes. I feel really sorry for Danny because he played magnificent tonight and he's been unbelievable this tournament. Maybe he should have kept on his feet. Maybe he should have made the tackle. I'm certainly not going to judge him at this stage, because of the way he's played at this tournament. They played very, very well tonight against a good team." On the performance of team captain Brian Dunseth, who was appearing in his first game of the Olympics after reaggravating a groin injury on the eve of the tournament: "Brian's our captain and he came in and played very, very well. He played the way he always does for us. It was almost a fairy tale ending. He hit the upper "v" when we were having our best spell of the game. Brian came in after he hadn't played in three weeks and was fabulous. The whole team played well. I couldn't ask any more from this group. Sometimes this game isn't fair. Maybe there will be times in their career where they felt that they maybe shouldn't have won and they've won a game. But Brian was fabulous." On how U.S. Soccer builds on the momentum from this team's Olympic success: "Well, for this team in particular, it's the last time they're going to play. Hopefully some of the players that have been here for the last month will get the opportunity to move up and play with our World Cup team at some point in time. Our Under-20 (Men's National) team is getting ready for a world championship and the (Under) 17's are getting ready for a world championship, so I think the momentum is building underneath this team. It's the individuals on this team that have to now go on from there. Our football is in a very good situation right now. If you would've asked one of the Chilean players just prior to the penalty kick how they thought the game was going, if they were going to be honest, they'd say things weren't going their way. I think we've doe everything we can, and if you look at the performances of our youth teams over the last couple of years, they're on their way. I just think we have to keep doing what we're doing. We're doing a very good job." On if the team's success is diminished by failing to win a medal: "It's extremely difficult to win a medal in any Olympics. It's the performance you have to look at. Holland is one of the best teams in the world, but they haven't won a World Cup. Brazil is probably the best team in the world, but they haven't won an Olympics. People that view it as just another year without the U.S. winning a medal should watch more soccer. Because maybe if they had watched more soccer and seen this team play, they would've for once ... for once, given the lads a pat on the back, instead of a kick in the pants." On his tenure coaching the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team: "I've enjoyed every minute that we've been together, and I've enjoyed watching them compete every game. Regardless of who we play, I enjoy this team and we were always in every game. It wasn't as if we were the underdogs every time we stepped on the field. I just enjoyed the fact that we could come here and compete and play well and enjoy it, because that's what you're supposed to do. You have to enjoy these things. Every day has been great for me." On the player's reaction to the calling of the penalty kick: "You have to understand, that at the point of the penalty kick, the game was ours. I mean, it was ours--it was all us. And then, all of a sudden they get a penalty kick, and what do you think your first reaction is? The first reaction is 'It's not a penalty. The referee wronged us.' But, you look at it tomorrow and it probably was a penalty. Was the ball running out of play? Yes. Were they about to score? No. But in the heat of battle, they want to blame somebody, so they blame the ref. Tomorrow, they'll see it and calm down and say, 'It was a penalty.' Dan (U.S. defender Danny Califf) will look at that and say, 'Maybe I should have stayed on my feet.' But those things happen and that changed the game." U.S. defender Danny Califf On the play that led to the penalty kick call: "I was sliding to block the cross, and he kind of stepped into me and fell down. There was contact, but it was minimal. I'd definitely like to see the replay." On the change in momentum: "We had most of the play up to that point, so after the penalty, we kind of had our heads down. Then we threw numbers forward, and they caught us on a break on the second goal." On whether the loss tarnished his overall Olympic experience: "I don't think it tarnished it, but it did affect it. It hurts to go home empty-handed, but we exceeded expectations, and that's what is important." U.S. defender Brian Dunseth On the penalty call from his perspective: "It was close to the endline. The ball was going out of bounds, but you can go either way with it. Unfortunately, he went against us." On the disappointment of not winning the bronze medal: "It's one of those situations where you have to look at in the most positive way. Of course, we're disappointed that we had the opportunity to bring home something. But at the same time, if you look at what we accomplished so far in this tournament and at the quality of games we've played and the quality of players we've played against, it's something to be proud of. It's tough to swallow right now, because you want to come home showing it off, but we've come to a place now where we've won so many games, we've proven that we belong on the field. Getting fourth place at the Olympics is something that no one thought we were capable of doing, so we have to be proud." On what Clive Charles has meant to him as a coach and person: "For this team, he's taught us so many things, whether it's professionalism off the field or soccer on the field. He's taught us not only how to be men, but he's taught us how to play the game. It's so easy for him to just communicate with us, to let us now how he's feeling whether it's a practice or it's off the field. We've had a winning record with this team and got great results. We've had great trips together as a group, and the friendships forged and the games played with this team is something I'll cherish for the rest of my life." U.S. midfielder Frankie Hejduk On if there's any consolation in not earning the bronze medal: "You can say we're the better team all day long, but they have the bronze, so they're laughing. But that doesn't take away the fact that this team was just awesome the whole tournament. Just to play with these guys ... we've got a lot of great up-and-comers coming. You've probably heard it before, but the atmosphere with the staff and everything was incredible. We just had a great time the whole time. Everyone got along, so it made it that much more of a fun tournament. There was just so much cool energy around the team. That's why we were disappointed, too, because we knew how much of a team we were. Of course, it's a disappointment because it's such a good team and we thought we should medal, but you have to look at the positives. We played well against a world class (U-23) team, and we've been doing it the whole tournament." U.S. midfielder Peter Vagenas On overall thoughts of the game: "I don't think there's any question that we were definitely the dominant (team) in terms of physically. Games like that when you have the run of play for the first 20-25 minutes and you don't score, it's bound to shift the other way. They really didn't get that much of the ball or that much of the play up until the penalty kick." U.S. defender Jeff Agoos On the penalty kick and defending Zamorano: "It greatly affected the game. We were going at them and we had some chances and we had the momentum, and one call changed the whole game. I think we did a very good job against him tonight. Obviously he had two goals and he's a goal scorer, but defensively we did a good job shutting him down."
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