Postgame from Beijing

[REACTION] Coach Peter Nowak and U.S. players discuss the disappointing loss against Nigeria, the red card to Michael Orozco that forced them to play a man down for 86 minutes, and on why they're proud of their effort at the Games.

U.S. Head Coach Peter Nowak

On the game:
"It's disappointing, there's no question about that. Could we have done everything differently? Yes, there's always a different way to look at this game. Those guys are my boys. They played so hard tonight and you can't even express your feelings in the right way right now. For me, they won a gold medal in this game tonight. Of course, in thesoccer world we still have to move on. There are a lot of things we can improve at the international level, but we're going in the right direction. For those boys to play like that, it was quite a journey. The last five minutes with 50,000 people chanting 'U-S-A' was quite a feeling. That's what it's all about to be a part of these tournaments. I'll cherish this moment forever."

On whether the early ejection affected his game plan:
"It's extremely difficult in the third game of your group to get a red card four minutes in. It makes it hard to play your game and the whole lineup had to be reshaped. The whole mentality just went in the trash. I think he maybe rushed his decision a little bit in showing the red card, but then it's behind us. Of course it changed the game completely but we have to look at the bigger picture."

On how close the team was to the Quarterfinals:
"We were very close three days ago to putting our mark on international soccer and moving to the quarterfinals. We came very close again tonight, even playing with 10 men we never gave up. We still played good soccer and that makes me proud. What we did during the preparation, the mentality of the whole group for the last 10 months was amazing. These boys have a great future. They have to polish some things and improve their skills and their mentality. As soon as this happens, we'll have another journey like this, but with better results."

On whether bringing on Charlie Davies was because the Netherlands took a lead:
"Yes, bringing Charlie on was connected to Netherlands going ahead. But putting him in at that point was something we were looking for. Nigeria was playing very technically and attacking, so they had holes in their back line. I wanted to find the right answer and I think as a staff we looked at these different scenarios before the game and I felt like that was the time to bring him on. Then we earned a penalty kick, and he had a ball bounce off the cross bar. That's how soccer works."

On the play of Sacha Kljestan:
"Sacha had a great tournament, here and in the qualifiers. Some people don't appreciate the work he does, but I think he's vital to how we're going to do moving forward with the National Team. We just want to show them what kind of possibilities there are moving forward, and then it's up to him. It's his decision whether he's going to step forward or not. Sacha is moving in a good direction."

On how much the suspensions hurt his team:
"You cannot predict these things. Who would have predicted that Freddy would get two yellow cards in the first two games? As I said, if you get a red card after the fourth minute it's going to change something. That's the lesson that we need to learn. In these kinds of tournament, especially because we only have 16 guys and two 'keepers, every card is vital."

On moving Robbie Rogers into left fullback:
"I thought Robbie did a great job, even though he's a very offensive oriented guy and I thank him for that. They just played the game. We shifted a little bit and were almost three in the back, so it wasn't really that he was playing a true fullback. But the whole feeling in this group was that, okay that happened, now let's play. Of course we missed his offensive game but that's what we created as a group - that bond. We created this situation. When things get difficult you'll have the other guys standing next to you and we can help you. From that perspective these boys make me proud and the gold medal is still ours in our hearts."

U.S. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan

On what he wants people to remember about this team:
"To look at these players and know that everything was left on the field. No one gave us a chance in the beginning, saying we weren't going to advance...we improved each game, and the bond and the chemistry we developed as players in such a short amount of time is something special. I don't think a lot of teams have that, and that's why we were able to fight like it was our last game. Unfortunately, we came a bit short."

On his team's effort after going down a man:
"The will and the fight in these guys is unbelievable. We developed a chemistry that showed on the field. We can look around and into the eyes of our teammates and see the passion we have for each other and the fight that's in us. When you go down a man for 90 minutes it's going to be difficult, but I couldn't be more proud of these guys."

On his reaction to the early red card:
"It is what it is and you have to find a way to battle back. We did that. We created chances. We hit the crossbar late in the game and their 'keeper made a good save, and we got a penalty. At that moment you just have to get on with it and try to find a way to get a result. Unfortunately we couldn't do that."

U.S. Midfielder Michael Bradley

On just missing out on the quarterfinals because of yellow-card suspension:
"These tournaments are such a fine line between in and out. You walk that line and it goes one way or the other, and sometimes you just need a call here, or a call there to sort of push you in the right direction. We missed that today. We're just extremely proud of everyone."

U.S. Defender Michael Orozco

On receiving the red card:
"He saw that it was a red card, and there's nothing I can do about it."

U.S. Midfielder Sacha Kljestan

On what he'll remember about this team:
"I think the way we dominated that game against Holland and how many chances we made tonight even though we were down a man. I think the character of the team. I want people to know we're not far away from doing well in tournaments like this. We're getting close, and I think with a few fortunate bounces in this tournament, we would have been through to the quarterfinals sitting pretty. I'm very disappointed with the way things ended, but I want people to know we're getting close and when the World Cup comes around, I hope we do great."

On what guys took away from this tournament:
"I think we're still learning, and I think we're getting better as we go on. I wish we had a little bit more international experience than we do probably, but I still think we have a lot of talented guys and I think that a lot of guys on this team will be competing for spots on the World Cup. That's good for U.S. Soccer. This experience will help us in the future."

On what it means to him to be a part of this team:
"I'm very proud to be a part of this team. I was so proud to be out there with all my best friends today."

On the team's drive:
"Even after the second goal we never gave up. We don't point fingers at each other, we work together and play our game. Little by little we kept finding breaks. We never gave up and I'm proud of that."

On being disappointed to not advance:
"It's tough. I think the guys battled their hearts out tonight and I'm very proud to be a part of this team and this tournament. We never gave up, never stopped fighting for each other and that's what the USA is all about. I am disappointed that we didn't move on but I was happy to be fighting out there with my best friends today."

On the tournament overall:
"I think probably the worst game we played was against Japan and we got away with three points. Moving forward we played against a Dutch team that was highly regarded and we really proved that we can play good soccer and be a dominant team. I think the guys played great. I'm happy to have been out there with my teammates, but I am disappointed. We'll just have to move on from here."

U.S. Defender Marvell Wynne

On what he will take away from the Olympics:
"I played against Japan, the Netherlands and Nigeria, and we all did well for ourselves. We know we can compete with teams of that caliber. It's a stepping stone moving forward."

U.S. Midfielder Freddy Adu

On not being able to play in the match because of yellow-card suspension:
"This is the worst feeling I've had as a professional athlete after a loss in a tournament because I couldn't be out there with the guys. I couldn't be out there to help the team out. Watching from the stands, it wasn't a great feeling."

U.S. Forward Brian McBride

On whether he knew what was going on in the other game:
"At halftime someone said it was 0-0, and that's all I knew. There was nothing we could do about that game so we tried to go forward as much as we could in our game."

On what people will remember about this team:
"That's a good question. I know what most of the guys will remember, and that's being with a very good group of guys who are willing to fight for each other. We didn't get many good bounces or good fortune but that's the game of soccer."

U.S. Midfielder Stuart Holden

On the team's adjustment:
"We didn't have very many defenders on the field tonight, so we had to adjust and make due. We switched Robbie Rogers back and the rest of us were just trying to find space."

On what the experience of playing in the Olympics meant to him:
"It's an unbelievable honor to represent your country in the Olympics so I just tried to enjoy every second of it. I'm pretty upset that it's over because I felt like we have a team here that could have done bigger and better things. It just comes down to little things that hurt us. It's going to be a little disappointing to look back and think that we could have done better, but I enjoyed every second of this experience."

On looking back and knowing that the team played well:
"Playing the way did does help, but in the end is it the results that matter in these tournaments, and there are times I think I wouldn't have minded if we played terrible and got three wins. That's the way it goes sometimes. We would have liked to advance obviously but we played some good teams and we'll take pride in what we did."

U.S. Midfielder Robbie Rogers

On playing fullback:
"I was happy to do whatever I could to help the team win and in the first half that meant playing in the back. I tried to get forward as much as I could. It just wasn't our day I guess.

"That's the game of soccer, just like any sport. Sometimes when you have it, it just slips away. So I think we were a little unlucky but that's the game. We're a team and I thought we battled hard today and it's unfortunate that things went the way they did."

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications