ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Though the U.S.-Ecuador match was a friendly, it was hard to tell that from the fierce footwork at Orlando City Stadium Thursday. Much of the 17,000 attendees were Ecuador supporters.
Both teams’ defenses kept the game scoreless into halftime, although the U.S. did find the back of the net. Unfortunately it was a no-goal, much to the ire of U.S. fans. It was evident from early in the game that Ecuador was the faster team, managing to steal and deflect the ball from the U.S. at nearly every turn.
Ecuador’s Leonardo Canpana was subbed in at halftime.
In the 52nd minute, U.S. attempted another goal, saving the ball from going out of bounds, but Ecuador goalie Alexander Dominguez caught the ball.
In the 56th minute, U.S.’s Paul Arriola caught the first yellow card of the game after a fierce duel for the ball. In the next minute, U.S. made another drive for the goal, but kicked it too high. The ball bounced of the upper right goal post.
In the 59th minute, U.S. subbed in Michael Bradley for Wil Trapp. In the 61st, U.S. subbed in Sebastian Lletget for fan favorite Christian Pulisic.
Weston McKennie went down in the 65th minute and had to be escorted off the field. In the 68th minute, U.S. subbed in DeAndre Yedlin for Jordan Morris. Christian Roldan was subbed in for McKennie as well.
After another tough tussle, the U.S. subbed in Jonathan Lewis for Paul Arriola in the 78th minute.
The U.S. got another scoring chance–and the breakthrough of the game–in the 81st minute. U.S.’s Gyasi Zardes kicked the ball up in the box for a goal, and Ecuador’s goalie Dominguez’s attempt to block the kick caused the ball to bounce off of him and into the back of the net. The U.S. fans thundered with cheer. U.S. was finally on the board with a score of 1-0.
Things went a bit awry in the 85th minute when an Ecuador fan jumped the barrier and ran onto the field. Three security officers quickly caught him and escorted him off the field, but the clock was still ticking.
After that, Ecuador made sure to bandy the ball between themselves to run down the clock.
The game got five minutes of added time.
Ecuador’s Jhohan Jullo was issued a yellow card in the added time after sliding the ball away from U.S.
Neither team was able to make another goal, sealing the final score at 1-0 USMNT.
“I’m really proud of the effort,” USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said after the game. “I’m proud of the openness to try things and to try to execute the movements.”
The USMNT next faces Chile in a friendly at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 7:55pm EST.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org