Swanson: 'This was a special game'

[REACTION: USA-North Korea] U.S. coach Steve Swanson called the USA's 2-1 overtime win over North Korea a great advertisement for women's soccer. Great players and great plays. End-to-end action. Fantastic crowd support from the North Korea supporters. For more on what Swanson and his players had to say after the game ...

U.S. head coach STEVE SWANSON
“We’re obviously very excited about the win. It was a great result. Looking at the game, you couldn’t ask for a better advertisement for women’s football around the world. I thought this game had everything. It had tremendous talent, skilled players, there was a lot of end-to-end attacking, good tackling, good defending, good goalkeeping and the crowd was fantastic.”

On the match:
“From our standpoint, we knew it was going to be a competitive game and it certainly was. We’ve got a lot of respect for North Korea, I thought they played very hard and it was every bit the game we expected so we are happy to move on. I thought our players played tremendous. We learned the lessons from the first three games and that carried over tonight.”

On dealing with an uncharacteristic amount of long balls from the North Koreans:
“Against a team that plays some direct balls, your defense overall tends to get stretched, so we talked a little bit at halftime and, when we could, we wanted to stay connected. I thought our back line did a great job of that. We hadn’t seen that kind of play yet in the tournament, but I thought we dealt with that very well.”

On the overtime periods:
“I thought our team did a very good job of possessing the ball in the overtime, especially the second overtime. I think that made a big difference. Maybe the fatigue on their side showed a bit, but again I thought we did a good job of trying to keep the ball in their end in that second overtime.”

On the team rebounding after giving up the tying goal:
“I thought after they scored that we did a good job of settling down again and getting back to our style of play. That was very important. For a coach to see that in this kind of environment, to give up a goal and respond like that, that was good to see.”

On the crowd which included a huge contingent of North Korean fans:
“The atmosphere tonight was great. The North Korean fans were very spirited and vocal and they added to the game. It’s hard sometimes at the games where they don’t get the crowds that they deserve, but this was a special game for a number of reasons. It had a lot of the great elements of soccer and I think the crowd was part of that.”

On the high quality of the match:
“This could have easily been a semifinal or a final. It’s great for this tournament, it’s great for women’s soccer and it’s great for the world to see.”

On improving from game to game:
“It was a great team effort tonight and we needed it. From the first game, I feel like we’ve been slowly getting better and it was great to see them put it all together tonight when we needed to.”

On rebounding after the loss to Germany in Group play:
“We’ve got a good group here. The coaches on the staff did a great of scouting and preparation, especially after a tough loss. Then to go up a goal, lose a goal and they tie it, the momentum is on their side. We held it together, got our bearings, got after it and scored the game-winner, and then held them off in overtime. It’s nice to see all the hard work that the team has put in come through when it really mattered under this kind of pressure and in this environment. It’s a good confidence builder as we look to the next game ahead.”

On the match:
“They are a great team, but I thought we played very well, stuck in there and showed a lot of heart today.”

On entering the match in the 71st minute:
“We were up 1-0 so Steve told me to defend hard, come back and help our outside backs and make sure there was nothing easy for them. The first five minutes I was in, they got a goal, so the plans changed and we had to keep attacking and keep fighting.”

On the heart the team showed during the match:
“We’ve been together for nine months and we really want this. There is a lot of work that went into this and one of things that we said in the huddle is that we are a fit team. We are not tired. This is why we ran all the fitness tests, all the beep tests, and we just kept plugging away.”

On her goal:
“The build-up to our goal started with Crystal (Dunn) attacking on the flank and she served a great ball in and my defender kind of cheated on it so I got my head on it and then I went crazy. I got a little dizzy and shaky and everyone rushed to me. It was awesome.”

U.S. midfielder SAMANTHA MEWIS
On the match:
“I am so proud of my team. We’ve talked this whole time about taking this all the way and the true character of teams comes out when the going gets tough. We showed our true character tonight. It was hard. North Korea was an awesome team and we had to play around their strengths and to our strengths and I felt we were very prepared for the game.”

On the intensity of an overtime game:
“It was tough. I can’t imagine the people who played the whole game because I was exhausted. All the conditioning and all the fitness paid off.”

On Ubogagu’s goal:
“When Chi headed that ball in, I kind of blacked out. She turned and was running and I didn’t want her to run past me. I was kind of running with her because I just wanted to hug her. It was a great team play and I was so proud of her.”

On her goal:
“I just got the ball a little bit outside the box and saw that no one was really on me so I took the shot. It was nice to get a goal and it’s an amazing feeling.”

On the match:
“We knew there was going to be some space in the midfield because we were up a player so we wanted to take advantage of that as much as we could, and get to the end line and use the flanks. I thought we did a good job of that and did a good job of keeping possession once we got the ball.”

On playing 120 minutes of end-to-end soccer:
“It was really draining on our bodies and we really had to go end-to-end because they were sending long balls. We had to track, win it, and go back the other way. We just had to make sure we were marking.”

On the fight of the team:
“This team has a lot of heart and we never quit. Once we got that goal in the first overtime we knew we just had to keep the ball and not let them get any chances.”
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1 comment about "Swanson: 'This was a special game'".
  1. James Madison, August 31, 2012 at 6 p.m.

    Chioma knows the song, "All Right Now."

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