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Americans again have trouble scoring, but McBride finishes Latvia.

U.S. reserves have little difficulty in disposing of Venezuela.

Knee injury shelves Gibbs, Berhalter joins World Cup effort; Reyna appears OK.

Americans have causes for concern after loss to Morocco.

Reyna, Keller are each named to their fourth World Cup team.

Poor U.S. effort leads to disappointing 1-1 draw with Jamaica.

Donovan becomes leader in career assists as U.S. draws 1-1 with Jamaica.

U.S. defense collapses, Germany hands rout to depleted Americans.

Hejduk has strained hamstring, is replaced by Feilhaber on roster for Germany match.

Donovan scratched for game against Germany with calf ailment.

Dempsey dropped from Germany roster after suspension by Revs for fight.

Gulati is acclaimed new USSF president; board size is slashed.

Three games in May are scheduled as final World Cup prep.

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U.S. men

Visit to Hamburg City Hall follows easy day of training.

By Robert Wagman

HAMBURG, Germany (Wednesday, June 7, 2006) -- The United States men have begun to taper off in training ahead of Monday's World Cup opener against the Czech Republic.

After last Monday night's 1-0 victory over Angola - striker Brian McBride recorded the goal -- in a closed-door scrimmage and yesterday's mandated public practice, the Americans rested today, watched some video tape and then traveled several blocks to City Hall -- the Rathaus -- for a gilt hall reception and official welcome to Hamburg from Mayor Ole van Buest.

"This is the time to make friends and you are our guests," van Buest said. One of the most popular politicians in Germany and a powerful figure because Hamburg is both a city and a state, van Buest recounted the long ties that Hamburg, as a major port, has with what is now the U.S., going back a hundred years before the American Revolution. He noted most immigrants who entered the U.S. through Ellis Island, N.Y., from Northern Europe departed from Hamburg.

"The World Cup is the most important event in Germany this year and that's why we are so happy to be hosting the national team of the U.S.," van Buest said. "We hope we can continue to have you here through the quarterfinals. The City of Hamburg extends to you a warm welcome."

One of the quarterfinals will be played in Hamburg. Should the U.S. make it that far, it is possible it could face Germany.

U.S. manager Bruce Arena presented the van Buest with a U.S. team jersey with his name on the back, then assumed the role of diplomat.

"Hamburg is one of the great cities of the world, and we're glad to be here," he said. "We look forward to coming back to play that quarterfinal and probably to play Germany."

The reception took place in the elaborate and historic Grosser Festsaal room in the ornate City (and State) Hall and was attended by many of the business and civic leaders of Hamburg.

As with all the team's movement in and around the city, security was tight with a number of police vehicles in front and behind the team bus for the very short trip from the team hotel.

Yesterday, the U.S. team held an open practice, as required by world governing body FIFA. About a 1,000 fans turned out to welcome the Americans, quite a contrast for the players to their normally private training sessions, but paling in comparison to the 25,000 expected for defending champion Brazil's open practice.

U.S. midfielder and captain Claudio Reyna has proclaimed himself fit for Monday's World Cup opener against the Czech Republic. Reyna resumed full training Saturday, a day after the Americans arrived in Germany, and played in Monday's scrimmage against Angola.

"Everything has really gone to plan, which is nice," Reyna told Associated Press. "Now it's just full steam ahead."

Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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