Here’s some of what coach Jurgen Klinsmann and captain Clint Dempsey had to say today in Seattle, discussing the USA match vs. Panama tomorrow at CenturyLink Field.
KLINSMANN on the temporary grass field on top of FieldTurf:
“To me, it seemed pretty good.”
DEMPSEY on the soccer vibe in Seattle: I’m good friends with Eddie Johnson and he always tells me about what it’s like playing here in front of these fans. It’s an atmosphere that’s comparable to playing in Europe. It’s crazy to see because when I first started out in MLS, things weren’t like that, so it’s great to see that the game is building. People have so much passion for the game. I almost felt like I was in another country the other day when the Seattle Sounders game was on. I was walking to eat dinner, and just as I was walking past the bar, the TV was on and everybody was watching soccer. For me that was awesome. So we’re happy to play here and looking forward to the game to see what it will be like. Hopefully we’ll get the three points.
DEMPSEY on the temp surface: I would say the field is good. Obviously it’s not the first field we’re playing on a grass field over turf. We’ve played quite a few games – especially in the Gold Cup competition – on that type of surface. I’d rather play on real grass over turf than to play on turf. But the ball rolls good. We’ll get another chance to play on it today. … The only thing is you might notice that it doesn’t bounce as much on the surface, but both teams will be able to play good soccer and it should make for a good game.
Here’s more of what they had to say on the implications of the game itself.
Obviously it’s huge. It’s a huge game for us. We badly want three points in this game and next week in Salt Lake. Those are home games and they’re must-wins. It was nice coming back from Jamaica with the three points. … Now all that matters is focusing on Panama, which is a really good team … individually a very gifted team. Collectively they’ve been together a long time. They’ve worked together for the last couple of years, and you can see that. It’s a team that really is in tune with each other. We expect them to be very difficult.
The team is in good spirits, but we’re going to keep our feet on the ground. It’s a roller-coaster trying t qualify for the world cup. The home games, it’s crucial to get three points.
Panama) It’s a team that has been building over the last few years and getting more difficult to play against. They beat us in the first round, but then we beat them 1-0 in the semifinal game in Houston. They’re a difficult team to beat down defensively because they stay compact. They work really hard for each other. They’re physical. But at the same time, they have players who can score goals.