Once the final whistle sounded, everybody immediately started packing up to try to get down to the post-game press conference.
After I got all of my stuff packed up, I realized I had no idea where the post-game press conference was going to be so I waited until I could just follow somebody who knew where they were going. Zander Faidley next to me had the same philosophy so we waited a few extra minutes before following the herd. As we were walking down the hall towards the elevators, a door opened and I ran right into the guy who came out. It turned out to be none other than Taylor Twellman, who I guess was making a quick bathroom trip while ESPN was on commercial break. Neither one of us had much to say other than, “Whoops, sorry” before we both just kept walking.
We all got seated in the media room in the bowels of the stadium and waited a few minutes for Sarachan to take the stage. He did eventually come in and there were a few questions from the regulars (who as it turns out didn’t even have to raise their hand to ask a question. The media liaison for US Soccer just told them to ask a question and the volunteers in the room brought them a microphone.) While I was looking around at the folks asking questions, I saw US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro and USMNT GM Earnie Stewart tucked away in the back corner of the room behind the cameras, neither one of them even looking up from their phones (they both got away as soon as the press conference was over and I did not have an opportunity to ask them some of the tough questions I wanted to). I did eventually get my chance to ask a question of Sarachan, and I asked him how big of a deal was it for the program as a whole that a young, inexperienced US team had beaten a young, inexperienced Mexico team. This time, I was not so lucky to get a direct answer. Instead, I got mainly coach-speak and before I could get a follow up question in, we were told that the press conference was over and Mexico coach Tuca Ferretti would be taking the stage shortly.
Now, the mixed zone is unique in the sports world. In soccer, media is not allowed in the locker rooms. Instead there’s the mixed zone where all of the players from both teams walk through a long hallway on the way to the team bus and take questions from any of the dozens of assembled media members. Naturally, just about everybody wanted to talk to Tyler Adams who scored the only goal of the game, but I did get a chance to grab Shaq Moore and ask him a few questions. The best response I got was to the question I asked about how seriously these young guys are taking these friendlies. He said, “Yeah, we’re really taking these seriously because even though they’re just friendlies, we want to have that winning mentality where we can go out and compete with anybody. Obviously against Mexico it’s never just a friendly so to go out and beat them tonight is really good.” Two things struck me with that: A) the fact that these young guys want to go out and get wins even in friendlies suggests a mentality that could prove to be a huge boon going forward and B) when he said it was never just a friendly against Mexico, it echoed what a lot of the other players were saying in the mixed zone. However, none of them seemed to have their hearts in that response and it almost sounded scripted, like they’d been told to say it. But anyway, once Moore left the last player in the mixed zone was Matt Miazga who has become something of a hero and a villain within the soccer Twitterverse for his dust up with Diego Lainez. What I’ll say is that standing right next to him, he is 100% a giant. He towered over everybody in the mixed zone.