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U.S. U-23 MNT Arrives in Hong Kong Ahead of ING Cup

U.S. Men’s Olympic Team
ING Cup - Hong Kong
July 27, 2008

WELCOME TO HONG KONG: The U.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 will being 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 Mongkok Stadium in their final two matches before the start of the Olympic Games.

LOOKING AT THE ING CUP: Three of the four teams participating in the ING Cup have already arrived at the host hotel in Kowloon with the U.S., the Netherlands and Cameroon all getting settled onto their respective team floors. The Ivory Coast, who has been training in South Korea, will arrive on Monday ahead of their clash with the USA on Wednesday evening. The U.S. will play fellow Olympic teams Ivory Coast and Cameroon at the 40,000-capacity Hong Stadium on Wednesday and Saturday respectively. Wednesday’s game will be somewhat of a rematch from the Toulon Tournament in March, when the Ivory Coast scored a late penalty kick goal to beat the U.S. 1-0 in France. 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.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (5): Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (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)

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 Worker’s Stadium in Beijing to conclude group play against 1996 gold medalist and 2005 Under-20 World Cup champion Nigeria on August 13.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Of the 18-man Olympic roster, 11 were part of the U.S. squad that booked the team’s ticket to Beijing in March by finishing in second place in the 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament. Freddy Adu, Maurice Edu and Michael Orozco were named to the Best XI in that event, while Sacha Kljestan received Honorable Mention. Goalkeeper Chris Seitz and defender Patrick Ianni, Orozco, Nathan Sturgis and Marvell Wynne were all part of the defensive unit that earned three shutouts in CONCACAF qualifying in March. The Qualifying Team finished the CONCACAF tournament with a 3-1-1 record, giving up only two goals in those five games.

COUNTING ON EXPERIENCE: A total of 12 players on the Olympic roster have been capped with the Men’s National Team, led by three-time World Cup veteran forward Brian McBride who earned 95 caps in his 10-year international career. Midfielder Michael Bradley also has a wealth of experience despite not turning 21 until July 31, having already earned 20 appearances with the full team. Fellow midfielder Benny Feilhaber has earned 16 caps for the full team and has recently recovered from knee surgery following an injury suffered against Turkey on May 21 in Toulon, France. Freddy Adu scored four times in three games to lead all goalscorers in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in March, has played in four FIFA youth World Cups, and was the first player to ever score a hat trick in both the FIFA Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups.

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 to find out more.