HONG KONG (August 2, 2008) – The U.S. Men’s Olympic Team fell to Cameroon, 1-0, in their second and final game of the ING Cup in Hong Kong before heading to the Olympic Games. Head coach Peter Nowak used 17 players in the game, once again taking full advantage of the ING Cup’s six allowed substitutions. Every player on the Olympic roster has seen the field over the two games.
“As I said before the start of the tournament, the reason we were here was to make progress in the way we play, said Nowak. “Looking at this game maybe we’re a still a little bit naïve about international football. Going into games like this we have to expect that they’ll be physical, with a lot of contact so we have to prevail. For us, I think the second half we played much better. Progress has been made and we expect to go to Tianjin tomorrow and polish the things that we need to this week.”
In the second game of the night, the Netherlands drew with the Ivory Coast, meaning the U.S. finished the Olympic tune up tournament in third place with two points. The Netherlands were crowned champions with seven points from a 2-0 win over Cameroon and a 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast.
The U.S. will travel to Tianjin, their Olympic venue, on Sunday, Aug. 3 for four days of preparation before their opening match of the Olympic Games against Japan on Aug. 7. That match will be shown live in the U.S. on MSNBC at 4:30 a.m. ET.
The penalty kick tally in the 24th minute was the only goal allowed by the U.S. in Hong Kong, which means they did not give up a single goal in the run of play. The back line of Marvell Wynne, Maurice Edu, Michael Parkhurst and Michael Orozco held strong in front of both Brad Guzan and Chris Seitz during the two matches.
The penalty was given after a foul called against Michael Bradley in the area. Aurelien Chedjou Fongang converted from the spot, placing the ball perfectly into the side netting and barely past the outstretched hands of Guzan.
Cameroon came out on the attack, and nearly scored in the fifth minute. After earning a corner that was taken by Fongang, Stephane Bikey got a head to it and snapped his header hard into the crossbar.
The U.S. attack settled into its rhythm shortly thereafter, holding much of the possession throughout the first half. They got their first chance in the 11th minute on a buildup that started all the way at the back line. Sacha Kljestan received the ball in midfield and hit a perfectly placed diagonal ball across for Robbie Rogers. Rogers cut inside past his defender, but his shot went just wide of the near post.
With the score 1-0, Cameroon came close to doubling their lead in the 34th minute off of another corner kick. Fongang curled it to the near post and again was able to find Bikey. This time his header seemed destined for the near post, but Rogers was there holding his defensive position to save the ball off the line.
Minutes later at the other end, Jozy Altidore received the ball from Stuart Holden, touched it in the air over his defender and ripped a low shot from the top of the box that went just high over the goal.
In the second half, the U.S. was looking for the equalizer and came out attacking in full force. Just two minutes after the whistle, Wynne was moving forward and powering through three defenders on his way into the box. He played the ball out to Holden, who crossed it over for Altidore. Altidore slotted the ball in front of goal, but Cameroon ‘keeper Patrick Tignyemb read the ball well and was able to intercept just before it reached the feet of a charging Holden.
Ten minutes later, Bradley whipped in a ball from the touchline right to the head of captain Brian McBride, who had time and space. He snapped his header on frame, but Tignyemb leapt to keep the ball from going just under the crossbar.
Things started to get scrappy as the two teams combined for 25 fouls in the second half, 16 of which were against Cameroon. Late in the game, the U.S. earned consecutive free kicks from within 30 yards of goal. Holden struck one into the charging wall, and then Freddy Adu chipped the second into the box looking for Edu, but Tignyemb was there to pick it out of the air.
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.
U.S. Men’s Olympic Team Match Report
Participants: U.S. Men’s Olympic Team vs. Cameroon
Competition: ING Cup
Location: Hong Kong Stadium – Hong Kong
Date: August 2, 2008
Weather: Hot, Humid
1 2 Final
USA 0 0 0
CAM 1 0 1
CAM - Aurelien Chedjou Fongang (penalty) 24th minute
USA: 18-Brad Guzan (1-Chris Seitz, 46); 2-Marvell Wynne, 15-Michael Parkhurst, 6-Maurice Edu, 3-Michael Orozco; 16-Sacha Kljestan, 4-Michael Bradley (8-Danny Szetela, 78), 7-Stuart Holden (5-Dax McCarty, 88), 14-Robbie Rogers (10-Benny Feilhaber, 78); 12-Jozy Altidore (11-Freddy Adu, 64), 17-Brian McBride (capt.) (9-Charlie Davies, 69)
Subs Not Used: 13-Patrick Ianni
Head Coach: Peter Nowak
CAM: 16-Patrick Tignyemb (capt.); 2-Albert Legrand Baning, 3-Antonio Ghomsi, 4-Stephane Mbia Etoundi, 6-Stephane Mbia Etoundi (20-Henri Ewane Elong, 90+), 8-Aurelien Chedjou Fongang (11-Songo’o Bangweni, 57), 9-Anicet Bebbe Mbangue (7-Marc Mboua, 80), 12-Roland bebey Kingue, 13-Julio Nkoulou Ndoubena (18-Alexis Enam Mendomo, 71), 17-Alain Junior Olle Olle (14-Constant Mand Jeck, 71), 19-Serge Charles Ngal
Subs Not Used: 1-Joslain Leonnel Mayebi, 21-Ledoux Pokong Moussa
Head Coach: Martin Ndtoungou Mpile
USA / CAM
Shots 7 / 8
Shots on Goal 1 / 5
Saves 2 / 1
Fouls 15 / 22
Corner Kicks 4 / 7
Offside 1 / 2
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution) 52nd minute
CAM – Stephane Bikey (caution) 52.
CAM – Alain Junior Olle Olle (caution) 67.
CAM – Serge Charles Ngal (caution) 87.
Referee: Kwok Man Liu
Asst. Referee: Ka Yu Fung
Asst. Referee: Sai Yin Pau
Fourth Official: Chun Kit Chow