USA 1, Ecuador 0 | International Friendly Match Recap
The US national team continued their preparation for the Copa America Centenario on Wednesday, beating fellow Copa America entrants Ecuador 1-0 on a 90th-minute Darlington Nagbe goal in a friendly at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
The game was a slow-paced affair, dominated by play in the middle third, with only periodic chances popping up.
The Americans' best chance of the first half came in the 29th minute, as Clint Dempsey sent a pass through Ecuador's defense to Gyasi Zardes, but the LA Galaxy attacker's first touch was too long and Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez met Zardes before he could recover.
The best chance of the game before the goal came in the 71st minute, as Graham Zusi dribbled into the box and sent a low cross right in front of goal, but Alejandro Bedoya's tightly-angled shot went right back across the goalmouth.
The hosts saved the very best for last, however, as Bobby Wood sent a cross into the box on the stroke of 90 minutes, and Nagbe opened his USMNT account by finding space and slotting home an acrobatic finish to put the US ahead 1-0.
- LEGEND OF NAGBE: Fans who have long followed Nagbe's journey to the USMNT were likely thrilled to see him make the decisive play in the game. That he not only scored his first goal for the national team but did it in rather spectacular fashion will have plenty of people eager to see what he can do at Copa America.
- TENTATIVE PLAY: Although the end was exciting and Ecuador did briefly pick up their efforts after the goal, the first 90 minutes were cautious on both sides and it appeared they were looking to get some minutes in but avoid injury. For Ecuador, that may not have been a success, as both FC Dallas midfielder Carlos Gruezo and goalkeeper Dominguez were taken off due to injuries.
- GUZAN, DEFENSE NOTCH SHUTOUT: Aside from posting a win against the best opponent in the three pre-Copa America friendlies, the defense and goalkeeper Brad Guzan notched a coveted shutout on the night. While a friendly won't fully match the conditions of tournament soccer, it will obviously give the 'keeper and defense some momentum before the competitive games kick in.
USA: Saturday 5/28 vs. Bolivia (8 pm ET, FS1, UniMás, UDN)