The United States men's national team escaped Texas with a narrow 1-0 win over Ecuador in their second warm-up friendly for the Copa America Centenario. A debut goal from a talent player was enough for the USMNT to get the win in an otherwise uneventful match.
Nervous beginnings for the United States saw the majority of play in the opening 10 minutes take place in their defensive end. The first hint of danger came from a deflected cross that Brad Guzan tipped beyond the near post.
Ecuador enjoyed success on both flanks, getting past defenders and whipping in crosses. However, they were unable to create any clear cut chances 20 minutes in.
Soon after, the U.S. finally had their first real effort on goal from a Clint Dempsey free kick from 30 yards out. His powerful drive blazed over the goal.
Dempsey turned provider near the half hour mark to set up Gyasi Zardes for the first good chance of the match. His flicked ball over the top found the LA Galaxy man in stride, but the first touch was heavy and the Ecuadorian goalkeeper came out to collect.
The first half came to a close with little action in either half taking place.
Jurgen Klinsmann's halftime changes of injecting Darlington Nagbe and Bobby Wood into a stale lineup paid off immediately with some dangerous pressure in the first five minutes of the second half.
Nagbe's work ethic in the midfield helped produce the USA's first shot on target in the 59th minute. He won the ball around the sideline, dished off to Jermaine Jones who laced a left-footed shot right at the goalkeeper.
The U.S. looked like a reinvigorated side as the match went on and the substitutes piled on. Christian Pulisic and Alejandro Bedoya came in the next wave and impacted the play just as positively. Bedoya came inches away from the first goal of the match when he slide a shot past the post in the 72nd minute from a Graham Zusi squared ball.
With time ticking down on a drab match, the U.S. grabbed a late winner when Nagbe's hard work paid off with his first international goal. DeAndre Yedlin beat a defender on the wing, whipped in a cross that found its way to the Portland Timbers midfielder. He took his time and slotted it away calmly to give the Americans the win late.
USA 1 - Nagbe 90'
Ecuador 0 -
3 Quick Thoughts
- The starting lineup was painful to watch in the first half.
- Darlington Nagbe changed the game when he came on.
- NAGBE GOAL KLAXON!!! Start him, Jurgen.
The USMNT finish off their three-friendly warm-up for the Copa America against Bolivia on Saturday, May 28th. The match will take place at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas and will kick off at 8 p.m. Eastern and be televised live on Fox Sports 1.