GENOA, Italy — After hitting the lone goal in a historic 1-0 win over Italy, US star Clint Dempsey expressed pride at the way the team battled toe-to-toe with their esteemed hosts.
As they tend to do, the Azzurri played with aggressive physicality and technical proficiency. On Wednesday night, said Dempsey, the US gave as good as they got to come out ahead for the first time in 11 tries against Italy.
"They were a tough team," Dempsey told reporters. "They were really good on the ball and at times we had our backs against the wall.
"But they also gave us time and space on the ball to see what we could do, if we could actually play. I thought, at moments in the game today, we moved the ball well. We would have like to create more chances than we created, but I think we took advantage of the few we got."
Dempsey's winner gave him 13 goals in his last 20 games for club and country, if not also the headlines. But he was busy spreading credit around for the victory.
"Once we got on our front foot and tried to take our game to them, I thought we did a good job of keeping our shape and frustrating them," he said. "At the same time, we knew they were going to get their chances. As the game wore on and we weren't able to keep possession to keep from getting tired in the second half, our backs were against the wall.
"I think the two central midfielders, the back four and especially the goalie did a great job of blocking shots and making saves."
A famous victory now in pocket, Dempsey quickly started looking forward to this summer, when he expects the Nats to reap benefits from nights such as this.
"It's always good to get a win like this away from home," said Dempsey. "It helps your confidence going into qualifying campaign for the World Cup. We want to hit the ground running and make sure we qualify for that tournament."