WELCOME TO HONG KONG: The U.S. Men's Olympic Team arrived in the Kowloon section of Hong Kong on Saturday evening ahead of the team’s opening game of the ING Cup on Wednesday, July 30 against the Ivory Coast. The delegation made the 14 hour flight from San Francisco’s International Airport without a hitch, and with a 15 hour time difference from the West Coast of the U.S., they are beginning to make the transition to the Far East. The U.S. will face the Ivory Coast on July 30 and Cameroon on August 2 at Hong Kong Stadium in their final two matches before the start of the Olympic Games. Fans can follow both matches live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
2008 U.S. MEN’S OLYMPIC TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (4): Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Freddy Adu (AS Monaco), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Danny Szetela (Brescia Calcio)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Brian McBride (out of contract), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)
THE ING CUP: All four teams participating in the ING Cup have arrived at the host hotel in Kowloon with the U.S., Cameroon, Ivory Coast and the Netherlands all getting settled onto their respective team floors. The mini-tournament will be made up of two doubleheaders on Wednesday and Saturday evenings at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium. The U.S. and Ivory Coast will kick things off on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. ET) with Cameroon taking on the Netherlands in the second game. On Saturday evening, the U.S. will battle Cameroon at 5 p.m. local (5 a.m. ET) before the Netherlands and the Ivory Coast round out the tournament with a 7:30 p.m. start time.
U.S. Men's Olympic Team Upcoming Schedule
Date Opponent Time (local / ET) Competition
July 30 Ivory Coast 6:30 p.m. / 6:30 a.m. ING Cup
Aug. 2 Cameroon 5 p.m. / 5 a.m ING Cup
Aug. 7 Japan 5 p.m. / 5 a.m. 2008 Beijing Olympics
Aug. 10 Netherlands 7:45 p.m. / 7:45 a.m. 2008 Beijing Olympics
Aug. 13 Nigeria 5 p.m. / 5 a.m. 2008 Beijing Olympics
A NEW SCORING SYSTEM: To encourage an offensive style at the ING Cup, tournament organizers have given an added incentive to attacking teams. In addition to the three points for a win and one point for a draw, teams will earn one additional point for every goal they score. In other words, if a team wins 4-2, they wwould earn a total of seven points for that game (three for the win, four for the goals). The losing team in that scenario would also earn two points for two goals scored.
- The Ivory Coast scored a late penalty kick goal to beat the U.S. 1-0 at the Toulon International Tournament in May. The only member of the U.S. Olympic team who played in that game on May 23 was goalkeeper Chris Seitz, who made five saves in the loss
- Midfielder Dax McCarty was a late addition to the U.S. roster, joining the team on July 24 after defender Nathan Sturgis suffered an hamstring injury. Kansas City Wizards defender Michael Harrington was added to the team’s list of alternates
- McCarty, who is one of 12 players who helped the team qualify for the Olympics in March, joined midfielder Freddy Adu, and defenders Maurice Edu and Michael Orozco on the Qualifying Tournament Best XI. Midfielder Sacha Kljestan earned an Honorable Mention
- Of the four players named as alternates to the U.S. team, only goalkeeper Dominic Cervi will travel with the team throughout their stay in China
- Seven players were part of the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Jozy Altidore was among the leaders of that tournament with four goals, Adu had three and Michael Bradley scored the overtime winner in the Round of 16 match against Uruguay
- Six players participated in the 2005 edition of the U-20 World Cup, including Adu and Danny Szetela, the only players to have appeared for the U.S. more than once. Other members of the 2005 team included Benny Feilhaber, Patrick Ianni, Sacha Kljestan and Marvell Wynne
- The U.S. team ranges in age from 18 (Altidore) to 36 (Brian McBride). The other two overage players – Brad Guzan and Michael Parkhurst - were both born in 1984, making them less than a year too old to be considered Under-23
- Parkhurst was named Major League Soccer’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 at just 23 years old, while Guzan was last year's MLS Goalkeeper of the Year at the same age. Edu was also an award winner last year, as he was named the league’s Rookie of the Year
- Seitz, Ianni, Orozco, Edu and Wynne were part of a defensive unit that allowed only two goals during Olympic Qualifying in March
A LOOK AT THE IVORY COAST: Ivory Coast head coach Gerard Gili has brought 20 players to Hong Kong, including nine who played in the team’s last meeting with the U.S. on May 23. Fabrice Okoua was in goal for the Ivory Coast that day, earning a shutout in the 1-0 victory over the U.S. at the Toulon International Tournament in France. The team is participating in its first-ever Olympics in Men’s Football, after winning five straight matches in African qualifying, scoring 13 goals along the way.
Ivory Coast Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Vincent de Paul Angban (Asec Mimosas), Fabrice Okoua (Africa Sport), Badra Ali Sangare (ES Bingerville)
DEFENDERS (6): Serge Pascal Wawa (Asec Mimosas), Benjamin Angoua (Budapest Honyed), Souleman Bamba (Dunfermline), Ousmane Viera Diarassouba (CRR 1907 Cluj), Mamadou Bagayoko (Africa Sport), Mekeme Tamla Ladij (Stade Lavallois)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Emmanuel Kone (CFR 1907 Cluj), Anthony Moura-Komenan (Libourne St Seurin), Kaoumba Coulibaly (SC Bastia), Herve Kambou (Charleroi)
FORWARDS (7): Antoine N’Gossan (Asec Mimosas), Gervais Yao Kouassi (Le Mans), Sekou Cisse (Roda JC), Abraham Guie Guie (Budapest Honved), Franck Dja Djedje (Grenoble), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea), Nassa Guy Roland Niangbo (Charleroi)
MINDING THE MEDIA: The ING Cup has garnered quite a bit of attention in Hong Kong, and the U.S. seem to be the team to follow. Head coach Peter Nowak, midfielder Michael Bradley and forwards Freddy Adu and Brian McBride addressed local and foreign media leading up to Wednesday’s game. For a complete quote sheet, click here.
FINAL PREPARATIONS: Though there are two games to be played before the start of the Olympic Football Tournament, the USA’s focus is on preparing for the world stage. The U.S. has been drawn into a difficult Group B of the Olympic Games and will open against Japan on August 7 before facing the Netherlands on August 10, with both games taking place at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Tianjin. The team will then travel to Workers Stadium in Beijing to conclude group play against 1996 gold medalist and 2005 Under-20 World Cup champion Nigeria on August 13.
NBC TO PROVIDE CHANNEL EXCLUSIVELY FOR OLYMPIC SOCCER COVERAGE: NBC Universal will launch a channel exclusively dedicated to full coverage of Men’s and Women’s Soccer at the 2008 Olympic Games. A total of 32 Men’s and 26 Women’s Soccer Games will be shown in their entirety on the NBC Olympic Soccer Channel, in addition to coverage on USA Network, MSNBC and live streaming on NBCOlympics.com. The seven NBC Networks — NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Oxygen, Telemundo and Universal HD — will provide an unprecedented 3,600 hours of coverage, all in high definition. NBCOlympics.com will also provide over 3,000 hours of on-demand access to full event replays and extensive highlights. The NBC Olympic Soccer Channel is available on most major cable, satellite and telephone companies and distributors.
BUSY BLOGGING: The Olympic Team is back in blog action since making the journey to the Far East. You can read all about the trip and keep up on the latest happenings and behind-the-scenes news on the YNT Blog. Click on http://ynt-ussoccer.blogspot.com/ to learn more about adjusting to the humidity, coffee walks and life in Kowloon.