BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Coming off of one of the strongest games of his career, US right back Steve Cherundolo is pleased that the US team earned a result in a 1-1 draw against group favorite England.
The opening game against England was one of the most anticipated soccer games in American history and it garnered unprecedented media attention in the US.
Cherundolo says that he is happy to have the game out of the way and can now concentrate on advancing to the knockout round.
"We always spoke that there were three first round games and that it wasn't just England," the Rockford, Illinois native told YA from South Africa. "I know it was a big theme in the media but it's good to get it behind us and it's good to get our first point. We are looking forward to winning our next game."
Cherundolo, 31, was one of the highest rated players against England on Saturday. While Bob Bradley's squad equalized on a now famous blunder by English goalkeeper Robert Green, Cherundolo feels the Americans deserved the point.
"I think we had a decent start to the game," the University of Portland product analyzed. "We fell asleep a little bit on the goal. For the most part I think we played pretty well and we are very happy with the result."
"It wasn't a fantastic goal from us," he continued. "I think it was obviously a mistake from their keeper but I definitely think we earned it to get back into the game. We fought our way back and that is what this team is all about. I am really, really proud of the ways the guys handled the early goal. We definitely deserved a point."
Cherundolo was part of a strong American defensive unit that also received very strong performances by center back Oguchi Onyewu, who played his first complete game since October, and goalkeeper Tim Howard who won the game's Man Of The Match award.
"Tim was excellent. We know what we have in him and [against England] he proved it," Cherundolo said of his teammate. "In these tournaments you need a good goalkeeper and we are very happy that Tim is on our side. It was good to get [Onyewu] back on the field for us for 90 minutes. [He] had a solid performance for us defensively as well."
With Cherundolo, Howard and Onyewu currently riding a run of good play heading into the pivotal second game against Slovenia on Friday, the team is now confident from the game against England that they can emerge successful at this year's tournament in South Africa.
"I think the mentality is what we've been talking about for four weeks now in getting ready for not only this game but also doing well at this World Cup," Cherundolo concluded. "I think if we continue to play like we did [against England], I think we'll be very happy with how this tournament ends for us."