[OLYMPIC COUNTDOWN] In the first of two tuneup games before the Olympics, which begin next Japan next Thursday, the USA tied Ivory Coast, 0-0, in the opening match of the ING Cup in steamy Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Led by Chelsea's Salomon Kalou, Ivory Coast's Elephants used their speed and athleticism to create counterattack opportunities, but the U.S. goalie Brad Guzan was up to the task with four saves, including a diving save on a header and a kick save from point-blank range, both off shots by Sekou Cisse, in the second half.
Coach Peter Nowak used all 16 field players, including a complete switch of his midfielders and
forwards at halftime.
"These matches are tune-ups for the Olympics so we want to make sure the stuff we've been working on will translate into the games," Nowak said. "We wanted to give
time to the whole group to make sure that they're ready for the game on Saturday, and more importantly learn from today's mistakes before our game against Japan. Our preparations, mentally and
physically, will show through these two games both offensively and defensively. We want to make sure to get the full package together by next week."
In the other match at the ING Cup, the
Netherlands, which will face the USA in Group B, beat Cameroon, 2-0. Liverpool star Ryan Babel came off the bench to score one and set up the other for Roy Makaay.
The Americans will face Cameroon in their second match of the tournament on Saturday at Hong Kong Stadium.
July 30 in Hong Kong
USA 0 Ivory Coast 0.
USA -- Guzan, Wynne, Parkhurst, Edu, Orozco, Kljestan (Feilhaber, 46), Bradley (Ianni, 89), Adu (McCarty, 46), Holden (Szetela, 46), McBride (Rogers, 46), Altidore (Davies, 46).
Ivory Coast -- Angban, Wawa, Diarrassouba, Angoua, Coulibaly (Kambou, 67), Kalou, Dja-Djedje (N'Gossan, 46), Kone, Bagayoko, Yao, Cisse (Guie Guie, 81).
(Click here for more on the Americans in Hong Kong.)