In a group that includes quality teams like Nigeria and Holland, the U.S. needed to beat Japan today in its Olympics Group B opener.
A Stuart Holden goal proved enough for a 1-0 win and while not particularly convincing, the U.S. took its chance while Japan did not take their more plentiful chances. The U.S. was also fortunate not to have a penalty call go against them late in the game.
With Nigeria and the Dutch drawing 0-0, the U.S. sits atop the group. Up next: Holland on Sunday.
U.S. lineup: 18-Brad Guzan; 2-Marvell Wynne, 6-Maurice Edu, 15-Michael Parkhurst, 3-Michael Orozco; 7-Stuart Holden (10-Benny Feilhaber, 83), 4-Michael Bradley, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 14-Robbie Rogers (8-Danny Szetela, 87); 11-Freddy Adu, 17-Brian McBride – Capt. (12-Jozy Altidore, 74).