Nov. 28, 2010
Michigan Head Coach Steve Burns
On the game ... "Carolina was a tough team to play against. They have really honed their direct play nicely, and they get their midfielders forward. But I thought overall our defense did a great job dealing with a lot of that, and once we could get the ball down and play through the pressure they were putting on us, we had a decent amount of success creating chances. Certainly want to take our hats off for South Carolina and the kind of season they put together.
"We talked to our guys in the locker room at the half. This was a tough environment to play in. The crowd was into it, and you could sense we were starting to get a little anxious as well. We really needed to assure these guys the chances were going to come if we could keep the ball on the ground and play one and two touches and look to work the holes the way we did. I thought they showed a lot of composure doing that. Justin (Meram) eventually found that goal, and that was off a corner kick where we played the short, it came out, went over from the right side to the left side then came back to the right side to Justin for the shot. So I guess we'll call that a set piece goal, even though it wasn't totally scripted like that. And you know, I had the angle (on the red card). Justin went up for the header and was exposed, and Traynor did come across with the elbow and caught him in the jaw, and the ref was right there as well. You got to look at the tape to see if that's a red. I'm sure Coach Berson is upset with that, as I would've been upset with that. A tight game like this, you want to play 11 versus 11. Certainly, it made a difference in the game. Once we went up a goal and a man, we've been in that position before and we train for it a decent amount. I think our guys in terms of our possession and level of composure were going to be able to withstand the penetrating, foraying run that they would make that would leave them exposed, and we really took advantage of that.
"Latif Alashe was really good for us today, I thought. I thought he was just a real warrior out there and a real man that played a great 90 minutes. One of the things that we were hoping for was to see it more of a track meet, knowing they were going to play real direct at us and that game was going to be spread out. We could bring players off the bench in Matt Schmitt and Fabio Pereira that both are impact players and could change a game. We didn't quite feel that South Carolina had that depth in their bench, and we were hoping that we'd have to see them use it as much as possible."
U-M Senior Forward Justin Meram
On the game ... "At halftime, we just talked about how we're a second-half team. We've been like that all season. We knew our chances were going to come. Their goalie is outstanding and was great in the air, so I thought if I would hit it far post on the ground, maybe I'd get lucky. And we got the first goal."
On his first goal ... "Soony (Saad) played a great ball over the top of their guy, and I just knew if I got a little opening, just hit it as hard as I could, and that's what I did. So, my hat's off to Soony for being aware and being a great teammate, playing it off. "
U-M Junior Goalkeeper Chris Blais
On the game ... "Justin (Meram), Soony (Saad), they've been doing all kinds of stuff for us. We've been getting great goal support. Big Ten final, we won 4-1. Against UCF, we won 2-1, and today, 3-1. When you're scoring like that, it gives the defense a little bit more confidence, and I think that really showed today. I knew, and the back four knew, we were going to score; it was just going to take time. Obviously, South Carolina's keeper played very well, made a lot of saves in the first half. But I knew the goals were going to come. That definitely gives me and the back line a lot of confidence, because we do know we're going to score goals."
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