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U.S. Olympic hopefuls tie in China
by Ridge Mahoney, December 14th, 2007 7AM



They hope to be in Beijing in eight months for the Olympic Games; to that end, the U.S. under-23s played the first of their two games in the host country Thursday and tied, 0-0, in front of 30,000 fans in Changsa, China.

Real Salt Lake keeper Chris Seitz saved five shots and FC Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty prompted an American attack that generated several good chances and hit the woodwork twice.

The host team hit the crossbar in the first half after a mixup between Seitz and defender Patrick Ianni let a loose ball roll to Chinese midfielder Du Zhaenyu. He curled a cross that a wide-open Zhou Haiban headed off the bar.

Coach Peter Nowak used 16 of the 19 players who suited up for the match.

Charlie Davies and Jozy Altidore started up top, with Robbie Findley replacing Altidore midway through the second half. McCarty anchored a midfield that included captain Sacha Kljestan, Stuart Holden and Arturo Alvarez.

Davies, who plays in Sweden for Hammarby IF, was the only European-based player to play in this match. The only other European-based player on the trip, Sal Zizzo of German club Hannover, suffered an ankle sprain in training Tuesday and did not suit up.

A Maurice Edu header from a Hunter Freeman corner kick grazed the top of the crossbar, and Altidore ran into a through ball from Kljestan to hit a shot that beat the goalkeeper but struck the goalpost.

The U.S. plays the Chinese U-23s again Sunday in the southern city of Guangzhou.

The Americans will take a three-week break for the Christmas holidays before regrouping in Bradenton, Fla., Jan. 6 for a two-week camp. The CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers will be played in Florida, California and Tennessee March 11-23.

Dec. 13 in Changsha, China
China 0 USA 0.

China -- Liu Zhenli, Wan Holiang (Zhao Yuri, 64), Li Weifeng, Zhou Haiban, Sun Xiang, Shen Longyaun (Yan Xiangchuang, 66), Zhaenyu, Dai Lin, Wang Yongpo, Zhu Ting, Jiang Ning (Lv Zheng, 73).

USA - Seitz, Marvell Wynne (Randolph, 74), Edu, Ianni, Freeman; Holden (Rogers, 72), Kljestan, McCarty, Alvarez (Harrington, 80), Davies (Ward, 88), Altidore (Findley, 68)

Referee: Tao Rancheng (CHN)

Att.: 30,000


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