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Nowak's Comments

USA Olympic coach Peter Nowak.....

On Orozco's red card: "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 [the referee] 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 the emotion of being at the Olympics: "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 the football 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."

Read the full quote sheet here.

By Steve Goff  |  August 13, 2008; 1:42 PM ET
Categories:  Olympics  
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Next: Keller, Cory, Clint, Crystal and Cuscatlan (North)

Comments

"...but we have to look at the bigger picture."

Um, what exactly is the bigger picture here? You're going home, your Olympics are done. Seems like a pretty clear picture to me.

Posted by: Ryan | August 13, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Bigger picture: Several players took prominent steps toward contributing to the World Cup 2010 squad. Don't be a hater ;)

Posted by: JkR | August 13, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

well said jkr!!

i hope nowak stays involved in US soccer, and does not join LA.

Posted by: steve-o | August 13, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

This is a disappointing day, but I must say that I don't think I've seen a US squad pass and possess the ball with as much skill and pizzazz as they had in the first 40 minutes of the second half against Holland.

Posted by: hoyanick | August 13, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Olympics is not the be all and end all. These players will hopefully learn lessons and move on to the bigger tournament, the World Cup.

Posted by: Bigger Picture | August 13, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Luck always plays a role in these tight groups. We were lucky against Japan - they should have been up on us, and we were unlucky against Nigeria with the red card and hitting the post etc. You make your breaks - sometimes it comes out positive other times not. We played in a difficult group. We were very competitive and "could" have advanced. Sure, not advancing is disappointing but the attitude is there. Long term - we have some good talent coming up. There is always next time.

Posted by: sbg | August 13, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see him answer a question about why he took Altidore out when we needed a goal.

Posted by: Slammer | August 13, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Peter, those 50,000 people weren't saying, "USA! USA!"

They were saying, "Send him to hospital."

Posted by: Joe Doc | August 13, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

BARF!

Posted by: Johnny | August 13, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I'll say this, the US Olympic team played a hell of a lot better than the team Bruce Arena took to Germany.

I don't care about the quality of the opponents, the World Cup squad that played against Ghana and the Czech Republic was crap.

Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't care if you think that Nowak is a good coach or a bad coach. His comments are classy. The US has a great group of players coming up and a lot to look forward to.

Posted by: Enjoyable Tournament | August 13, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see him answer a question about why he took Altidore out when we needed a goal.
Posted by: Slammer | August 13, 2008 2:09 PM
=====================================
Because (choose one)

a. Totally ineffective

b. Nursing an injury

c. Both A and B

Posted by: JkR | August 13, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Luck always plays a role in these tight groups.

Posted by: sbg | August 13, 2008 2:08 PM

Luck does play a part, but so does maturity. The US lacked it when needed. It's a shame because this age group played about as well as they could. But ill-timed fouls, dumb yellow cards, and even dumber red cards will cost you. There's little margin for error at the high international level. The US women may have been able to dig there way out of a self-dug hole in this tournament, but the US men don't have that luxury. They had to play smart.

Posted by: BillyBob | August 13, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Is the US Soccer Federation is completely delusional. Read this doozy of a quote from their on-line report:

"Michael Orozco was harshly shown a red card following a minor elbow to Solomon Okoronko."

Are you kidding me? There is no such thing as a "minor" elbow in an Olympic competition. This is not the EPL! It is precisely this kind of codling that prevents U.S. players from learning the discipline to win the "big game."

Posted by: Van Ness | August 13, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

It was the softest red I've ever seen.

At least I'll get to watch the Dutch get punished when Argentina puts 5 on the board against them. They're by FAR the worst team left.

Posted by: Phillip | August 13, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The US team played with heart and much more skill than I expected out of them after what I saw in the qualifying tournament, but they also played without any brains. Mental errors cost us advancement out of the group more than any other factor.

Posted by: Publius | August 13, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

What no mention of Champions League?
Arsenal vs Twente on Espn 2 NOW!

Posted by: dadryan | August 13, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sold on this not being Nowak's fault. He refused to bring in Szetela or Feilhaber (injury or not) until the card situation forced his hand.

He relied on the poor play of Rogers, Klejstan, and Holden for entirely too long.

While Altidore was ineffective in the first half, it was largely due to him being forced over to the left wing, where he just isn't suited to play.

Not many Americans want to admit it, but McBride was a waste of a spot. He provided no threat to opposing defenses and never put himself in any position to get a look on goal. I appreciate what the guy has done for American soccer, but he shouldn't have been at this one. Davies or Altidore should have started, and maybe we should have brought Gabriel Ferrari along as well.

When is Johann Smith going to be healthy?

Posted by: Ryan | August 13, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Even though the US played very well in this competition, I bet it'll leave a very bitter taste in their mouth. Forget about the Nigeria game. Think back to the last minute of the match against Netherlands. Stuart doesn't commit that foul; US plays better possession soccer and they would have been through to the next round.

Posted by: Bart | August 13, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

No mention in any of the quotes about the wall jumping on the Dutch free kick. Or the general lack of composure in the final 15 minutes of the Dutch match. We were that close to advancing in this tournament. You can say what you want about Orozco's red, but we should never have been in the position of needing points from this match to begin with.

The mistakes in that match are what cost us.

Posted by: Matte | August 13, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree that McBride didn't bring that much to the tournament, especially against Nigeria. And Altidore was probably brought out of the game because his first touch is atrocious and we needed to hold down the midfield.

And, I agree that we shouldn't have needed any points from this game. We should have been resting all the players with yellow cards.

Posted by: Doug | August 13, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

@Matte,

Thank you!!! The Nigeria result should've been for first place, not survival.

We saw from the Dutch what allowing the opponent to take the game to you when you have the lead will do for you, yet we played exactly that same way for the final 10 minutes of that match and put ourselves in jeopardy.

Posted by: SeaOtter | August 13, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

why do people want Nowak to sell out certain players? that's not his style, he's never going to say "hey, we'd be through to the second round except that jackass Holden jumped on the free kick, what a freaking Idiot!" what would people be saying then?

Posted by: northzax | August 13, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Why you guys want to beat a dead horse?

Do you want squad in-fighting and the coach to publicly call out his players? Uh, not a way to build a team . . . . just look at the Mexican's for that . .

Good for Nowak and co. to have some perspective. Life's not over and this group of players showed they can play and make some amateur mistakes against anyone.

I'm just curious to know which MLS players caught the eye of the Euro scout's eyes .. . . all of whom should be seen as talented but projects

1) Klestan will for his goal,

2) Wynne and Edu handled themselves well

Posted by: delantero | August 13, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

while it would have been nice to advance, and possibly get a medal, I'm not really that upset. the summer olympics have become a joke.

actually all olympics have become a joke since they let professionals play. half of the sports shouldn't even be in the olympics, and soccer is one of them. I of course watch it because I love soccer, but it is not really an olympic sport.

the olympics lost a lot of meaning to me once the cold war ended anyway. the big bad soviet union is gone so there is really no one to root against.

in the end, the US failed to make it out of a tough group. they could have and should have, but didn't. there are a lot of positives to look at with this bunch. remember Rome wasn't built in a day.

Posted by: steve-o | August 13, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Somewhat off topic: is that a liverwurst sign I see on the sideline at the Arsenal-Twente game on ESPN2?

BTW... kudos to dadryan for the reminder!

Posted by: Joe Doc | August 13, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

i blame japan for a stupid foul in the box today

Posted by: Atl | August 13, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

""jackass Holden jumped on the free kick""

Take a look at this photo

http://ussoccer.com/sights/index.jsp_photoGallery-717-1.html#. . .

it shows the wall consisted of . . . .

Altidore, Wynne, Bradley, McBride, KLESJTAN, Holden

The ball looks to me like it's going right underneath KLESJTAN

Posted by: for the record | August 13, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

fine, then that jakcass Sascha, whatever, it doesn't matter. one mistake doesn't lose a game.

Posted by: northzax | August 13, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Yeah - it was definitely Kjlestan who jumped "over" the ball...he's a good 18 inches in the air. BUT, what the heck is Holden doing? He's shying away from the free kick like a little sissy!

Posted by: DE | August 13, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

A bit OT, but here's an item about MLS snagging a certain Europe-based Yank:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/soccer/374753_keller13.html

Posted by: The Jeff | August 13, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

fine, then that jakcass Sascha, whatever, it doesn't matter. one mistake doesn't lose a game.

Posted by: northzax | August 13, 2008 3:31

Uh...yes it did.

Posted by: BillyBob | August 13, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Uh...yes it did.

Posted by: BillyBob | August 13, 2008 3:44 PM

Nice. Would agree

Posted by: d | August 13, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Champs League - Toja went straight into the Steaua Bucharest team for their match v Galatasaray. And they've got 2 big away goals. Looks like that move from Dallas is paying off for him already.

Posted by: Kev | August 13, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

If it had gone over Sasha, you would be calling him a jackass for not jumping.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Cherish this, Peter: you and the squad made some boneheaded coaching decisions.

For one, why did you leave an obviously tired and inexperienced Stuart Holden in the match against Holland when he should have been yanked in the 75th minute on?

Why leave the team unchanged after Orozco's ejection, moving Robbie Rogers to the left back when he's ill-suited for that role.

Why fiddle around so much with the wingers (Rogers and Holden) when it was obvious after 5 minutes it wasn't working?

Why choose Brian McBride as your over-23 player? He's great when he has service and when he understands his teammates but throwing him into the game did nothing for the team chemistry.

Why wasn't Charlie Davies starting?

For all his bluster Michael Bradley certainly doesn't have enough international experience and maturity to understand the nuances of the game.

Posted by: bristol | August 13, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see the Dutch oven get wrapped tightly around the heads of the awful dutch team. As for Nigeria, thanks for coming out but your next game is gonna be embarrassing.

Posted by: adam | August 13, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@adam: why would Nigeria's next game be embarrassing? 'Cos they fought for their lives and beat the US? What were they supposed to do, lay down?

Posted by: Bart | August 13, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

no, it really didn't. one mistake may have cost a goal, but unless every other player played a perfect game, one mistake can't cost you a game. is that your implication? that every other player in the game was perfect? no one else made a mistake that either cost the US a goal opportunity (that obviously would have been converted) or allowed the Dutch to score the other goal?

who made the one mistake that cost us the game? was it the foul by Holden or the jump by Klejstan? who turned the ball over and allowed the Dutch to have possession at the 21 anyway? wasn't THAT a mistake as well? which was the ONE particular mistake that cost us an otherwise perfectly played game?

Posted by: northzax | August 13, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

That red was complete BS, Orozco barely tapped him. Any competent referee would've issued a warning. Not even a yellow card offense.

What should've been a yellow was the dangerous play a minute before when the Nigerian bicycle-kicked Orozco in the face.

I don't see how anybody can claim Altidore hardly saw the pitch because he was "completely ineffective". First, you need to be on the field to be effective. Second, the few times he did see the field (and was playing his position) he looked dangerous as hell. Third, if you want to talk about ineffective just look at McBride's performance against Nigeria. It was obvious that he lacked the athleticism to give us what we needed when we were down a man. He never should've been on the pitch past the 15th minute, for him to come out in the second half instead of Altidore was absurd.

If Altidore's bruised ankle was that much of a concern he shouldn't have been on the team. What I take from his comments on the issue

http://bigapplesoccer.com/teams/usa2.php?article_id=15307

is that it was bothering him a bit but he was ready to go. He should've started against Japan and the Netherlands. Nowak is a piss-poor manager on many levels, player-selection and substitution management being high on the list.

Posted by: uranderson | August 13, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Uh...yes it did.

Posted by: BillyBob | August 13, 2008 3:44 PM

Nice. Would agree

Posted by: d | August 13, 2008 3:53 PM

That's ridiculous. A game is 90 minutes. You might as well call out any number of players for wasting chances, or not creating them in the first place. It's a team game and it goes on for 90 minutes. as many others have said, Nowak was right not to throw anyone under the bus. End of discussion.

Posted by: viv | August 13, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

here is the TRUTH:
-the team played hard
-Nowak is NOT to blame
-errors cost us
-luck and bad luck were involved
-overall, the team showed it can play
-the Olympics don't matter much in the grand scheme of things
-the future is bright
-we move on

Posted by: fig | August 13, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big Rogers fan, but moving him to left back was really not a good decision. Defenders and midfielders really aren't interchangeable.

Posted by: Amanda | August 13, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I can understand the "bigger picture" comments after a tournament like the Copa America where we don't send all of our best players. But there is no "bigger picture" to completely blowing the opportunity to win the group and show the Dutch what buttheads their coach is.

We need to win or we need to find a better coach and more disciplined players.

Posted by: Hacksaw | August 13, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The discussion for this blog entry is becomming as interesting as the US National Team discussion on BigSoccer - mind numbing! Holy cow! The US played better than most hoped and lost because of naive play. Why do people have to point fingers? There is plenty of blame to go around just as plenty of people did a ton of great stuff. The final score is important - it is why you play the game - but if that is the only thing that you focus on and everything that you see is only filtered through that final score, than your brain turns off and you end up posting brainless things that are either all good if we win or all bad if we lose.

The US played very well in a difficult group in an essentually developmental tournament. We got lucky in some respects and we got unlucky in some respects. Our finish was heart breaking in some ways because we got so close to moving on, but the final result was not unfair if you look at our overall play.

For those that are up in arms about our naive mistakes - these guys aren't robots. In fact, they played great. They just aren't quite ready for prime time.

A very good showing for the US.

Posted by: Wow! | August 13, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, and they all have really, really nice personalities too.

We finally had the horses to actually compete and we blew it because of a lack of discipline. That's hardly something to be happy about. Im so sick of "good showings" that result in press conferences after the game where players and coaches talk about bad breaks and a lack of luck.

Sorry to vent, but I've really just had it with this mentality that we as fans should be happy with a few nice goals or some attractive play here and there. That's fine if we don't have a team that really has what it takes to make the later rounds. But, this team did. So, lets stop hiding behind this soft BS of "oh, we're getting better" and "gee, we made some nice passess, didn't we"... or, better yet, the Ref was wrong to give a Red in the third minute. Right.

Posted by: Hacksaw | August 13, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Look, at this level nothing matters but WINS. We didn't get to next round and that is a faliure. At this level when you fail, the coach is axed. You get results or you go home. No moral wins here.

Posted by: Keith in Charlotte | August 13, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Comments like the vast majority on display here, are exactly why I'm a club > country fan. A bunch of wahoo "Soccer Patriots" who don't have a clue about the game.

Posted by: AlecW81 | August 13, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

@urAnderson:

I can call Altidore ineffective, because after the first half, he was ineffective. That's why he was taken off IMHO. Perhaps McBride was as well, but he was brought for 'leadership', and you can't do that from the bench. I thought taking Jozy off for more bite in the MF was an obvious and correct choice. I understand you don't agree.

@Hacksaw: Please don't use the plural "we as fans". Your words are yours alone, and you don't speak for us all.

Not that your entirely wrong....:)

Posted by: JkR | August 13, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm liverwurst.
I knew something was up when my across the way neighbor in the OBX came out of his place in a brand new 09 Arsenal jersey with Cesc's name and number on the back...
Bummer about the US men, but I think that the upcoming WC Qualifying is more important and as stated some newer guys got some Big Game action.
I think you Emo basher's need to let up, and last time I checked I thought the wall is supposed to jump and if anyone is to blame, it was Guzan. You can't always have your cake and eat it too. When United had their butt's handed to them on Sunday everyone was whining about the wall NOT jumping and then here people talk about Sacha Jumping.
Make up your minds.

Posted by: dadryan | August 13, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Look, at this level nothing matters but WINS. We didn't get to next round and that is a faliure. At this level when you fail, the coach is axed. You get results or you go home. No moral wins here.

Posted by: Keith in Charlotte | August 13, 2008 5:17 PM

=======================================

You play for the result, but you think and analyze in order to get better. Whether you like it or not, players make mistakes when they move up to a faster speed of play. That is not morality, that is just how it works.

You don't take into account anything other than the final score? You don't worry about the strength or experience of your team or the other team? So by your thinking, we should beat up on a bunch of five year old teams and talk about what a great success we are. If anybody makes a mistake, just automatically slam them or fire them regardless of why the mistake was made and whether or not it was part of a learning process or it was part of a pattern that represents lack of ability.

This has nothing to do with morality and Hacksaw, it has nothing to do with being a nice guy. Looking at a loss constructively has to do with doing what it takes to get better, even during times like now when it's hard.

Posted by: Wow! | August 13, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

hacksaw,
sorry, but your posts read like those of a sad, bitter, frustrated individual. Do you really place that much importance on how successful the Olympic team is in showing up the Dutch coach? Do you think the footballing world really gives a rat's ass how we do against the Netherlands in Olympic soccer? Do you think Nigeria's Olympic gold made the rest of the world suddenly see them as the team to beat at the senior level? Has Nigeria ever come close to winning the World Cup?

You're right, we had the horses to compete... and guess what: WE COMPETED.

The thing is, every team we played made mistakes. Every team we played had some calls go against them. We Americans look at the Olympics as this huge deal because, well, it's the Olympics. However, for soccer, it just isn't as important a tourney. It's still a youth tournament with a limited number of participants, run by the IOC, not FIFA. Just not that big a deal.

The important thing is we saw a generation of players who showed that they can play an important role for the senior team down the road. All the finger-pointing and whining is just the juvenile reaction of a sore loser, and certainly has nothing to do with the Olympic spirit.

Posted by: fig | August 13, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Please.

Fig, totally agree with you.

Nowak not to blame.

Why everytime individuals eff our team, the coach shouldve seen it coming?

get over yourselves. you couldnt have done it better.

Posted by: kt | August 13, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Please.

Fig, totally agree with you.

Nowak not to blame.

Why everytime individuals eff our team, the coach shouldve seen it coming?

get over yourselves. you couldnt have done it better.

Posted by: kt | August 13, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Also, Nowak did NOT choose this team alone.

I hate taking up for chitcago pos but lets be honest. he and bob bradley decided on this team, so as not to interfere with wcq. dont pretend he chose his #1 1st squad.

Posted by: kt | August 13, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

here is the TRUTH:
-the team played hard
-Nowak is NOT to blame
-errors cost us
-luck and bad luck were involved
-overall, the team showed it can play
-the Olympics don't matter much in the grand scheme of things
-the future is bright
-we move on

Posted by: fig | August 13, 2008 4:29 PM

Couldn't have said it better myself. For me, the only tournament I really care about is the world cup. Everything else is preparation.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

It's not luck that Adu got a yellow for retaliation against Japan (a yellow that he mostly earned by moaning about not getting calls on previous plays). It's not luck that Orozco threw an elbow. That's dumb play. The 10 on the field against Nigeria played well as a team and didn't give up, but poor team play by a few players put them in the position to lose.

Posted by: Not luck | August 15, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

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