Steve Swanson: 'The better team won'

[REACTION: USA-Germany] The USA went into Monday's game against Germany at the Under-20 Women's World Cup with a 14-1-1 record in 2012, but the defending champions punished Steve Swanson's women for their mistakes, handing them a 3-0 defeat, the worst loss the USA has ever suffered at the U-20 tournament. The U.S. coach still liked some of what he saw. For the positives and negatives on the U.S. performance and more from Swanson and his players ...

U.S. head coach STEVE SWANSON
On the match:
“I thought the better team won today. We played well at times and we did some good things that we hadn’t done yet in the tournament so there are some positives there. We just made a couple of mistakes and they punished us for that and that’s what good teams do. One of our goals was to advance, we’ve done that, and we’re focused on the next game.”

On how the first goal changed the game:
“Obviously it was tough to give up that goal at the time we did. That was a difficult one as I thought we were playing pretty steady. If we could have gone into the locker room at halftime with the score 0-0, that would have given us a little momentum. I thought in the second half we were out of shape a little bit and gave them too much space and they are very good when you give them time and space. Overall, I think we were more consistent in our play, we just played a team that was good enough to take advantage of some of our breakdowns here and there.”

On moving on to the quarterfinal from a difficult Group D:
“We played three teams with different styles. Ghana was very athletic and more of a marking team. China was more zonal and compact and didn’t let us get behind them and the Germans once again have great organization. It’s three different games for us and it’s an education for our players as well. We did some good things today and we created some chances we didn’t capitalize on, but overall we progressed even when we were down we created chances to get one or two goals but we didn’t put it all together. But I am pleased with one thing and that’s that our team is learning quickly. There’ve been instances of teams in World Cups where they haven’t had an easy run of it through group play but found their way in the knockout stages. I believe in this team and I think we still have a lot to bring to the table in this next game.”

On the second half:
“It was tough to give up that goal when we did, but we need to be a little bit stronger in situations like that both mentally and in terms of how we reacted. But even coming out of the half at 1-0, we felt pretty good and did some good things. We had a little bit of a disconnect between our lines and we just had that little lapse at the beginning of the second half and that really cost us.”

On the match:
“Overall, that was probably the most consistent game we’ve played (in group play). That was a good team we played and I thought it was a little tighter match than the score indicated. Obviously we are very disappointed in the result, but the key was to advance from the group and we have to process this one and get ready for the next one.”

On his message to the team:
“The message really is that we accomplished our goal of the first phase and that was to advance. We played three different and good teams in the process and our team has learned a lot. We’re learning on the fly and obviously we don’t have any margin (for error) in the next one, but the key is to continue to improve during the tournament. I don’t think we’ve played our best soccer over 90 minutes, but I think we are getting closer to that and there are a lot of positive things we can take from the game even though the result wasn’t what we wanted.”

On moving on to the quarterfinal:
“Obviously coming off a loss is pretty hard, but you know what? We came out of the bracket and that’s a great positive. We can put this game behind us and look forward to our quarterfinal. I think we played well and we need to finish our opportunities.”

On playing North Korea in the quarterfinal:
“It’s elimination now. For us playing North Korea, we need to take a little bit from each game that we’ve played so far, not go backwards, but take away little bit from each experience, move on, believe in our style of play and focus on ourselves.”

U.S. midfielder MORGAN BRIAN
On the match:
“There were a lot of positives from this game. We’ve played our best match of the tournament and played some great soccer. We had a lot of chances but we couldn’t finish and that’s what we need to clean up for the next game.”

On lessons learned:
“From our group we learned a lot of lessons. We can put our best game out on the field and still not come away with the win. We need to fix little things on defense and offense, with our finishing and marking in the box.”

On playing well, but losing:
“It was definitely a rollercoaster. We all felt we played our best game so it was frustrating to come away with a loss, 3-0, at that, but there are some positives. We never gave up, played some good soccer, played to feet and had some good chances. We just couldn’t put one away.”

U.S. defender CRYSTAL DUNN
On Germany:
“Going into the game we knew Germany was going to be a great opponent. They bring a lot of energy and physical attributes to the game. We knew we had to go strong into the tackle and win every ball we could.”

On ramping up the attack for the quarterfinal:
“We need to penetrate and be dangerous. We kept the ball well, but we weren’t as dangerous as we possibly could have been. Going into the quarterfinal we need to bring the heat and be dangerous in the box. We need to be mindful of the loss, but we made it through and we need to focus on the next game.”

On starting quick against North Korea:
“We have to be the first ones to score. That’s going to settle us down and unsettle teams. We have to come out strong and dictate the tone of the game.”


2 comments about "Steve Swanson: 'The better team won'".
  1. kate bartlet, August 28, 2012 at 10:21 a.m.

    I got up at 3 am to watch the game. It was bad. I kept asking; ARE THESE THE BEST 20 year old women that America has?? our future is in trouble if answer is yes. seems we have gone way of mens soccer. pick players with most headlines not most talent. embarrassing.the midfield was awful. replace

  2. R2 Dad, August 29, 2012 at 12:12 a.m.

    "We knew we had to go strong into the tackle" - kiss of death. I didn't watch the match, but this certainly sounds like more of the crappy kick and run our teams are known for. Is there even 1 special player on this squad? If not, why not?

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