From the U.S. locker room

[REACTION] U.S. goalie Tim Howard says he had a lot of discomfort after being struck between the ribs and chest in a collision with Emile Heskey. It hurt so much he needed a shot of cortisone at halftime, and he expects to be sore for several days, joking he hopes he'll get out of training. For more on what Howard and his U.S. teammates, as well as Coach Bob Bradley, said following the USA-England game ...

On tonight’s match:
“Well, it’s important for us to still come away with a point. It’s a difficult way to start but I felt the response from the team was strong and there are good things we can take away from the match.”

On Oguchi Onyewu’s improvement during the game:
“I think with Gooch I would agree. Just the part of being back, he’s a good competitor. I think the longer the game went on the more comfortable he felt, and that’s important to us.”

On the play of the U.S. midfield:
“There was big battle going on in the midfield all night long, and I felt that our midfield as a whole did a good job. That’s a big challenge because England is also strong in there. In a game like this, it was a fast, hard game and we were pleased with the way our midfield was able to compete with England’s.”

On the early goal by England:
“I think that play started with a throw-in, the ball went back to Lampard and we stepped up to close him down. Next thing you know, there’s a big hole in our back line. When you use the word manage, the ability to control certain situations and not overcommit, I think England made us pay. But it forced us to get ourselves going into the game very quickly after that because there’s no more time to play your way in, you’re already down a goal.”

On Tim Howard’s injury:
“Our trainers went on the field and took a look, felt that he could continue. Timmy as always never wants to come off, and now we’ll assess over the next few days how he’s feeling.”

On the team’s ability to handle Wayne Rooney:
“It was a good team effort defensively. Rooney is such a mobile player, the way he moves around takes a good level of concentration. I thought in the first half there were still some times when our back line was a little bit out of sync, but I thought that got better in the second half.”

On the chance to move past the England hype and focus on the next game:
“We’ve had a good focus the whole time. We’ve said it so many times that we understand what the first round is about, but we were still excited to start the World Cup playing against England. It’s a big game and a big night, and overall we take away positive things as we now get ready for Slovenia.”

On Tim Howard’s injury:
“Scary. Both of them were going for the ball, Heskey laid out, Timmy laid out, just one of those things that happen. Timmy was strong and thank goodness he was all right to stay in the match.”

On their gritty team performance:
“That’s how we play. We play scrappy, we play hard, we fight for 90 minutes in a big group effort, and tonight it showed. I thought our center-halves played fantastic, Stevie on the right did very well to shut down their speedy wingers. The forwards did well, the midfielders came in tight and ran over to cover for us, it was a really big team effort. That’s something you need against a big team like England.”

On Oguchi Onyewu’s performance:
“He had a great game, it’s nice to see him back. He was a strong presence in the middle for us. Him and Jay I thought had fantastic games.

On their ability to shut down Wayne Rooney:
“I thought our lines were alright at times, and I thought Jay did well to follow him into the midfield. We had pressure from the midfielders coming back to close him down. Second half was a little bit more open and he got a few more chances to run at us, but that’s going to happen when we’re a bit tired and space gets more open. But I thought we did well on him tonight.”

U.S. Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On the overall performance of the defense:
“We weren’t particularly sharp early on, as you saw. We weren’t tight, especially on the goal. I don’t know at the start if it was nerves or what have you, but we responded. We knew we could respond well and once we calmed down and got into the flow of the game I thought we did well. Defensively we did our job, it was backs to the wall and overall it wasn’t pretty. They were always going to have their fair share of possession, but we defended, made some saves. Guys were diving in and we were just trying to stay organized, but I’m happy overall.”

On having an impressive performance against England:
“I think when you play at the highest level against the best competition, if you’re up to the challenge then it will bring the best out of you. England has so many potent strikers and midfielders that you’re going to have to be on your game in order to play well.”

On how he felt after conceding the early goal:
“I was pretty annoyed because the marking was a little too lax, particularly for the beginning of a game when you’re supposed to be really up for it. But at that point you can’t really dwell on it because you still have 90 some minutes to play. So, it deflated us a little bit but we quickly responded.”

On his collision with Emile Heskey:
“I was going to give myself five or 10 minutes to figure out where I was, but I was hurting and sore. I’ll be even more sore the next couple days, but maybe it’ll get me out of training.”

On how he felt after he was hit in the chest:
“It felt like agony. I knew Heskey was going to slide in, and he had every right to that ball, the same as I did. You just leave yourself exposed when you’re at full stretch and he came in and caught me just under my chest and my ribs. Initially I was in a lot of pain and I was always going to give myself five or 10 minutes to try to get back I felt a lot of discomfort, but some pain medication at halftime eased it a little bit.”

U.S. Midfielder CLINT DEMPSEY:
On his game-tying goal:
“These balls move so much if you just hit them on goal you’ll have a chance. It’s one of those goals you always say ‘Why can’t I get one like that?’ and I’m happy to have scored in both World Cups I’ve participated in.”

On the team response to the early England goal:
“I thought we responded well. I thought we were playing well, they were sitting back and we were creating chances. Second half was frustrating because we didn’t keep the ball enough, I think we need to manage the game a little bit better but to go one goal down to England and fight our way back into the game and end with the draw, we’ll be happy with that.”

On the team’s ability to keep possession:
“The first half was good, and when we do keep the ball, we create chances. We just need to be confident and be calm on the ball, and we’ve shown that when we do that good things happen.”

On the chance to finally move past the England game and focus on the rest of the round:
“We always spoke about the fact that there are three first round games, it’s not just England. I know that was a big theme in the media, but for us it’s good to get it behind us and good to get our first point.”

On his improved performance throughout the game:
“A lot of times that happens, you read the game better as it goes on. I think we were kind of flat early on in the game, especially when they got the early goal. Once we picked it up as a team, and we were able to get the momentum going, we got more comfortable as the game went on.”

On the team’s confidence heading into the Slovenia game:
“This definitely was a tough game, the second game is going to be even harder. I think it’s important for us to use our momentum from this game and to push it towards the next two games. It’s going to be very difficult, even more difficult as the tournament goes on and the results get more crucial.”

On Jay DeMerit’s performance:
“Jay did well. Jay did what he always does, he gives 110 percent. He’s a gritty player and he makes it difficult for all the strikers. I think he did real well to help us out when we needed it.”

1 comment about "From the U.S. locker room".
  1. karl ortmertl, June 13, 2010 at 9:38 a.m.

    England is overrated. Their players play in the Premier League, but its foreigners who make that league what it is. Brits assume that because their players play with the best, they are also the best. They're wrong. Even Rooney. He's an excellent talent, but it was Ferguson's system at Man U. that made him shine like he did this year. As great as Ronaldo is, it was Ferguson's system that made him invincible at Man U. You can see the difference with both Ronaldo and Rooney when they play on teams without Ferguson as coach, they just don't dominate despite their talent.

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