Busy day. Let's get to it.
*The most -- or perhaps only -- influential player in the U.S. under-23 national team's disappointing 1-1 tie with unimpressive Cuba in the Olympic qualifying opener was 18-year-old Freddy Adu. Troubling? Yes. A USA-Mexico, do-or-die semifinal sure seems inevitable. Sorry for the cynicism, but between the American performance and the dismal turnout in Tampa (4,259), from a U.S. perspective this event is off to a grim start. Except, of course, for Adu, who scored the goal, hit the post, tested Cuba's goalkeeper repeatedly and just missed on a free kick in the closing minutes. The Americans had a chance to put away this match early and failed. Now they've got to deal with Panama tomorrow and first-place Honduras on Saturday. (Where was Jozy Altidore in the second half? Taken off for precautionary reasons after absorbing a number of tackles.)
"We had enough chances to win the game," Peter Nowak siad. "We have to capitalize on our chances we had in the first half, and also in the second half. As I said, it's the first game and we had a difficult game. We're going to be ready for the next game."
*D.C. United will try its luck in CONCACAF competition tonight against Harbour View in Kingston (8 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel). Seems the Jamaican press did not appreciate United's match preparations. Houston visits Municipal tonight as well (10 p.m., FSC). The Champions' Cup got underway last night with defending champion Pachuca earning a 0-0 tie at Motagua.
*The Insider told you two weeks ago that Costa Rican Argenis Fernandez had signed with New England. Now it's official. We told you last week that former Dallas forward Roberto Mina was going to Gimnasia de Jujuy in Argentina. Now it's official. In case you missed it, Kansas City introduced Claudio Lopez on Monday, the latest in an increasing number of Argentines arriving in MLS. Georgetown-based Smash Soccer, led by Peter Smith and former MLSer Marcelo Carrera, has played a leading role in facilitating a number of acquisitions, beginning with Christian Gomez's signing with DCU in late 2004.
*USA women vs. Denmark in the Algarve Cup final this morning.
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