U.S. World Cup notes & quotes
Why did U.S. World Cup Coach Bob Bradley bench central defender Oguchi Onyewu in favor of Jonathan Bornstein on the left and Carlos Bocanegra in the middle?
"We thought that it was important to have both our outside backs being active and trying to get into the attack. Johnny Bornstein had fresh legs coming into this game and his running on that side of the field and his energy would help us. Carlos and Jay [DeMerit] have been a good pairing. The fact is also that in Gooch's comeback, before we got going with [the tuneup games] and then the first two games of the group, he had been out for a long time. You have to factor in minutes."
Landon Donovan's opinion of the officiating in the World Cup:
"There has been some very good officiating. There have been some moments where officials have made some pretty heavy mistakes. We all make mistakes, we are all human. We have been on the receiving end of a couple bad decisions, unfortunately. These things tend to even out, and I am hoping they even out quickly."
Bradley empathizes with match officials, but would also like to see severe penalties for players who feign injury in order to draw cards on opposing players, such as Ivory Coast reserve Kader Keita's theatrics that resulted in Kaka's expulsion.
"The game is very hard to officiate. A goal that is disallowed last night [in the USA-Algeria match] is a good goal, but look, it is so close. There is this fine line in the game. You hope that as a team those decisions balance out. I hate to see players acting like they've been hit getting away with it. That is the simplest thing of all to clean up. When I see Kaka get sent off, it's too bad for the game because he is a great player. That is play-acting at its best - or worst. I like to see real competition. I would be in favor that, if it's as obvious as somebody getting pushed in the chest and grabbing his face and laying on the ground, I would rescind the red card and suspend the player who did it for a good number of games."
Donovan was asked how he has matured as a player since the previous World Cup. If the Americans had fallen behind Slovenia by two goals four years ago.....
"I would have been thinking about how disappointed I was in the way we played. I would have been frustrated with guys, I would have been frustrated at myself and I wouldn't have been able to snap out of that. Maybe we would have tied or won the game still, but I certainly wouldn't have produced the goal that I did. And then down to the end [against Algeria], I probably would have got ahead of myself and said, 'Shoot, we're going home and what is that going to mean when I get home?' During the game, that might have come into my mind."
Bradley, on the attention the team is attracting back home and whether it is causing a distraction:
"It's important for the players to have a taste and feel for what is going on. We try to balance that out. I'm old school and they know that, and for the most part, they hate that. [laughter] But the bottom line is that there is something special when a group of people have an opportunity to share an experience, to share work, communication, laughs and to know that at the end, those are experiences no one can ever take away from you, that you want them to be special, you want them to understand going in that you aren't trying to take everything away from them that they enjoy but you want them to see something and feel something that is different."
Bradley loves South Africa:
"It's an amazing country, and it starts with the people. They are friendly, they are passionate. We have all enjoyed the experience of seeing what South Africa is all about."
What did the coach think of the wild celebration after Donovan's goal?
"You want to share that, enjoy that. As a coach, that's different because you are thinking that there are still 2-3 minutes to go. I got in the direction of the corner but didn't actually get all the way there. Most of the rest of the staff did. It just shows they don't listen to me."
June 24, 2010; 3:54 PM ET
Categories: 2010 World Cup , U.S. men's national team | Tags: Bob Bradley, Landon Donovan, World Cup
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