The U.S. men's soccer team has played a strong game against top-rated Argentina in an international friendly match near New York.  As VOA's Jim Stevenson reports, the surprising scoreless draw (0-0) kicks off the American campaign to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. 

Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey was filled to capacity, late Sunday, as 78,682 fans -- most wearing Argentina's white and light blue colors -- jammed inside to watch the contest.

Both teams ran well, despite very hot and humid conditions.  But the play was mostly tentative and disorganized.  After losses to England and Spain, American head coach Bob Bradley says the game will be helpful for World Cup qualifying.

"We have to always in these games to find some balance between pushing the tempo but also being patient," Bradley said. "We have had games like that in the past.  And, so even though we have played three very different teams in a row, we can still use the experiences we have had in the past."

Midfielder Pablo Mastroeni was ejected from the game in the 71st minute, with his second yellow card.  That left the U.S. squad with 10 players on the field.

The capacity crowd became boisterous with chants of "USA" when heavy rain and thunder came in the 83rd minute. 

The draw is the first for the American team against Argentina all-time after two wins and six losses in previous meetings.  The United States will next travel to Carson, California for its first World Cup qualifier against Barbados.