February 10, 2013
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Press, rewarded for 'great week in training,' enjoys a dream U.s. debut
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tom Sermanni could not have asked for a better debut as U.S. women's national coach.
Then again, the same could be said for midfielder Christen Press, who scored a brace while earning her first cap with the senior side in a 4-1 triumph over Scotland at EverBank Park on Saturday night.
“Yeah, that was great; a good selection by the coach," Sermanni said with a laugh.
Then he got serious.
"She’s had a great week in training. At times, when I look at selecting the team, I’m looking how players are doing in training. Bear in mind that this is the start of the year so some players are a bit more played in than others. She’s been outstanding all week in training and she brought that training performance into the game tonight. She scored two terrific goals. Two great goals.”
Press started the game at right midfield. Asked whether she might be utilized up front, Sermanni replied, “It’s hard to say. When you look at a team, you’ve got many talented players in both outside midfield and forward. It’s a question having lots of depth in those striking areas with those forward players. The more tools she can bring, the more opportunities she might get. I think she did well playing in that wide right midfield position. I think probably she might still be a better out-and-out striker.”
Press just wanted an opportunity to show what she could do.
“We have a new coach and we are not 100 percent [in positions]," she said. "It’s a new year, a new team and now a new position so I was doing my best to bring my strengths to the game even though I was in a little bit of a lower and wider position. Playing in the midfield is an opportunity for me to be on the field. We have so many great attacking players, but every chance out there is a chance for me to grow and learn about the game.”
But Press did get her wish, earning her first cap in her first start.
“I was hoping that my first cap would be my first start and my first goal all in the same day," she said. "I was sort of going for the trifecta and my teammates made it easy so I am thankful to them.”
After watching the American women train for a week, Sermanni was thankful to get to see the team in a competitive environment.
“It’s good to get the team out on the park," he said. "I’m still trying to get to know the players and getting to know how they play and all things they can do. So, the match was a really valuable experience to get started. “
Sermanni said he was impressed with "the number of chances that the players got and how they can create chances all at times. At times, some of the combinations impressed me. So, just the way they focus and go about doing the job and winning games is very impressive.”
The U.S. will face Scotland again in Nashville, Tenn. on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.