World Cup: Altidore taking on leadership role on USMNT

World Cup: Altidore taking on leadership role on USMNT
June 12, 2014, 1:00 pm
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U.S. Striker Jozy Altidore addressed the press on Wednesday to talk about the USMNT's upcoming World Cup opener against Ghana, the atmosphere surrounding the team during their stay in Sao Paulo and his recent form.

[SOCCERLY: Klinsmann Keeps Expectations Low]

On Ghana:

“We had some errors in both games that basically cost us. They were more clinical in the end in both of those games, but I don’t think there was any big separation or anything like that between the two teams."

"I think obviously they've got some good young players. But they still share the same traits: They're quick, they counter very well, they have some very good players. So I'd say it's another difficult task ahead of us."

On the team's current mood heading into the World Cup:

"Obviously It's exciting. Everyone's so excited going into training for such a long time against each other you just want to get the real thing started. "

On his bad scoring streak:

"Sometimes you go through times when you may not score. It's just like that sometimes, it's just how the game goes. You just have to make sure you're still helping the team, that's the biggest thing for any player".

[SOCCERLY: 32 Key Questions For This World Cup - Part 4 From Nigeria To The USA]

On the fact that Michael Bradley is being given more freedom to venture forward on the attack:

“Michael being able to move forward and play forward a lot more than he has in the past is helping us because he has that ability. To have him closer up the field and spraying the ball left and right can only help us.”

On Jurgen's comments about not being able to win the World Cup:

"Look, we haven't won a World Cup before, so you can't go into the World saying 'Oh, we have to do what we did in the past.' You come here obviously with that dream in the back of your mind. Let’s not be silly.

"At the same time, you have to be realistic and understand there are some teams that maybe are a bit more favored than we are obviously to win the tournament.

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"Saying all that, you try to see, take one game at a time, see how far you can go. And then, as it gets closer, hopefully if you get closer to the end, then you start to believe what you can do."

On what the team takes from their three friendlies prior to the World Cup:

"Confidence for the team, that's important. Winning is a habit. The fact that we won three games in a row, hopefully we take that into Ghana feeling confident and try to get another win.”

On how he compares himself as a player now to the one he was in 2010:

“I think I’m just totally different than what I was. I was just so young and so excited to be here. Now, I’m one of the older guys in terms of experience. I have some responsibility on myself to help the team. I’m excited to take that role on."