American squad left struggling for scores

TIANJIN, China --- Adding Brian McBride should have improved the U.S. Olympic team's scoring.


Not yet.

The Americans, who scored only six goals in five games during qualifying, arrived in China without scoring a goal in their only two warm-up matches. The half-dozen goals -- three in one game -- were enough to earn one of two CONCACAF berths. That might not be enough to get out of its group in the summer games.

The U.S. opens Thursday against Japan essentially needing a victory with the more heavily favored Dutch and Nigeria next.

"One goal goes in, and there's going to be a lot more to follow," U.S. midfielder Freddy Adu said Tuesday. "We're not really worried about that. We've been doing some finishing during training; hopefully that translates into something."

Adu scored four of the six goals during qualifying. The 19-year-old, who recently announced his loan from Benfica to Monaco, will be the focus of most U.S. opponents.

With the Olympic men's soccer tournament restricted largely to players younger than 23, McBride -- the third most prolific goal scorer in U.S. national team history -- was added as one of three overage players.

At the ING Cup last week in Hong Kong, the United States held Ivory Coast to a 0-0 draw and lost 1-0 to Cameroon -- two teams who have qualified for the Olympics.

"The last tournament was a chance for us to find the right mix on the field," Adu said. "Obviously, we would have loved to score a goal. I think we created enough chances. The goal scoring part is going to come."

McBride -- who in July signed with MLS's Chicago Fire after a 41/2-year stint with Fulham in the English Premier League -- paired with 18-year-old Jozy Altidore as the Americans' offensive strike force at the ING Cup. Though it didn't produce goals, Altidore said he's adjusted to McBride, a player nearly twice his age.

The defensive side has been more successful, as the Americans allowed only two goals in their five qualifying matches.



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