U.S. Men’s National Team head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
On the win against Jamaica
“We are extremely happy to finish the [Hexagonal] in first position, leading the CONCACAF group and being number one in CONCACAF right now. Everybody’s excited about that. It has been a lot of work tonight. Obviously the first half didn’t go the way we hoped and we struggled to get a rhythm, a pace in the game. We adjusted a few things then and picked it up really well in the second half.
“Excited to see this group coming along, the personalities slowly come through there. If you look at this year, 2013, it’s just a tremendous experience for all of us with the fan support every place we play has been sold out. It’s really an enjoyable moment for all of us.”
On the final 30 minutes
“We expected a tight game. Jamaica’s not coming here to give us the points. They are disappointed with their run. They know they can do better than where they are right now. They were very well organized. They closed the spaces down in the first half. We know them physically, they’re a strong team and can always hurt you with a counter break. They hung in there; they were all over the place and made sure we don’t find the gaps we need to create chances.
“Even if we had four or five chances in the first half, I think Aron [Johannsson] had a couple of those, and we said simply at half time ‘you guys have to raise the bar here, raise the tempo.’ That’s what we did, and after 55, 60 minutes, we passed it through faster, there were a lot of passing sequences one touch only, and that’s when you open up any team. So, the changes came, and I felt on the bench, it’s just a question of time until we get that first goal.”
On the opportunity handed to a few players in the match
“What we want to see, is that over a time period, they grow, that they get more confident. I think Geoff has played that role already a couple times and he looked comfortable. He had a good game. With Aron, it’s just about ‘get out there now, get connected with the team.’ I think he was happy to have Jozy [Altidore] with him out there because they played a couple minutes together at Alkmarr. He created chances , he knew where the ball would end up. He missed those chances , but he was there. It’s good to see. In the second half he ran out of gas a little bit, that’s why we subbed him out.
“Mix you can see, there is also a player, who is coming through. He’s one of our Olympic kids, who gets more confidence every time he comes into camp with us. His vision, his technique and one-touch passing ability is maturing and that’s what we want to see.”
On the impact of the substitutions
“The substitutions after half time, we discussed that did that coaching staff, as we always do. We felt like we had to do something. Landon [Donovan] had problems getting into the game, but he wasn’t the only one. We could have moved Landon up top with Jozy, but we felt like Aron gets those chances, he puts them in. It was a simple performance based decision, so there’s no problem at all.
“The plan was to bring Sacha [Kljestan] after half time, and do we move Mix [Diskerud] forward, or do we bring on Terrence Boyd, another real striker. Those discussions are ongoing, on the bench, at half time. It’s just normal. Da Marcus Beasley’s substitution was because he had a hamstring problem, which makes him questionable for Panama. It’s ok because Ed Castillo was in a great mood today and found his space. Edgar is another player who’s matured a lot over the last two years, playing week-in week-out in Tijuana, in Copa Libertadores last year against big South American teams, CONCACAF Champions League. It’s good to know he can come in, create stuff and he should have scored a third goal.”