A 2-2 tie with the Czech Republic actually was accompanied by a tinge of disappointment for the U.S. under-23 squad.
"We showed we're a solid team and created a lot of opportunities for ourselves," said Josh Wolff, who set up a goal and scored another Wednesday. "I think we matched them from the get-go and got in as hard on them as they did on us. We could have won, so we're a little disappointed."
Still, the tie put the Americans in a solid position to advance out of the first round for the first time. They next play Cameroon, which edged Kuwait 3-2, but looked sloppy.
In other games, Italy beat Australia 1-0 and Nigeria took Honduras 3-3.
Among the women, Germany beat Australia 3-0 and Brazil took Sweden 2-0. The U.S. women play Norway on Thursday.
The American men led twice, including 2-1 at halftime on goals by Chris Albright and Wolff. But the Czechs tied it on Lukas Dosek's penalty kick seven minutes into the second half.
The United States got more opportunities as the match progressed, but goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny frustrated the young Americans.
Not that it got the U.S. players down.
"This shows the rest of our pool we are able to play going into the Cameroon match (Saturday)," Wolff said.
Wolff missed a chance to break the tie in the 65th minute. He appeared to be dragged down with only Drobny to beat, but no penalty was whistled.
Jeff Agoos' long-range left-footer from the resulting corner kick was also blocked.
Albright put two crosses into the box, but the Americans failed to capitalize as Drobny produced a stunning two-handed save and blocked another shot. Casey and Frankie Hejduk also had shots blocked by the 20-year-old Czech keeper, a trend that continued until the final whistle.
"I tell people all the time that we have players in the United States that can play very well in any arena. I just think the guys proved that tonight," coach Clive Charles said.
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