MICHAEL ADUBATO - Tuesday, October 11, 2011
United States vs Ecuador
Friendly - Tuesday October 11, 2011
Red Bull Arena
For the third time in five games the United States National Team fell to defeat under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann with the 1-0 loss to the South Americans.
The American's starting eleven was the same eleven that defeated Honduras over the weekend except Oguchi Onyewu, who replaced Michael Orozco Fiscal next to captain Carlos Bocanegra just in front of goalkeeper Tim Howard.
The German head coach made four substitutes at the break as Jonathan Spector, Michael Bradley, DaMarcus Beasley and Juan Agudelo replaced Steve Cherundolo, Maurice Edu, Brek Shea and Jozy Altidore after a rather ineffective first 45 minutes.
The game turned just 11 minutes from the full-time whistle when Ecuador's second-half substitute Jaime Ayovi easily beat New York Red Bull defender Tim Ream to Walter Ayovi's cross from the right side to give the visitors the victory.
The USA started the brightest and could have taken a lead before the clock struck one minute but it was not to be as Jozy Altidore's chance from inside the box was blocked and then claimed by Ecuador's keeper, Maximo Banguera.
Danny Williams picked up the ball in the middle of the park five minutes into the game and beat his defender, then finding Brek Shea on the wing. The FC Dallas man however was unlucky with his crisp shot as Banguera again protects the back of his net.
A pair of minutes later Timmy Chandler got a shot off from the top of the box, followed by a Clint Dempsey shot from the same area but both times nothing comes of it. Dempsey's shot was the pick of the pair but he was unable to put enough dip onto it, having to watch it just clear the crossbar.
Jefferson Montero made a tenth minute run up the left win and slipped the ball back to Michael Arroyo at the top of the box but his effort sailed wide of Tim Howard's near post. This was followed by the same Arroyo bringing down Maurice Edu thus surrendering a free kick 30 yards out from Banguera's goal. The kick was wasted however as Clint Dempsey was unable to get it over the wall.
Ecuador could have gone ahead in the 12th minute as the feisty Montero blew up the left side past Steve Cherundolo to get himself into the side of the box. The Real Bettis man's shot would have been a better pass as it screamed past Howard and his goal but with nobody around to redirect it.
Brek Shea was lively on the wing in the first half and was looking to claim an assist when ran into the box and played the ball to Edu. The Ranger couldn't settle it however which resulted in a weak shot minutes before the half hour mark.
It was actually on the 30 minute mark when the New Jersey dirt let Michael Arroyo down after a pass from Montero. The striker who plays for San Luis in Mexico made a move to beat his defender but his feet came out from under him as he slipped into the Red Bull Arena's wet grass.
Both teams had chances going forward but finishing the job were proving difficult although it wasn't for lack of trying, especially on the part of the USA. A few minutes before the intermission Edu picked out Dempsey, who moved the ball forward, turned and shot from 25 yards out. Although the shot was worthy of a Premiership player, the Fulham midfielder wasn't able to get it to dip enough to slide under the Ecuadorian crossbar.
After Jersey boy Altidore took exception to a rash tackle by Arroyo, Oguchi Onyewu got a shot off from midfield, followed by one from Shea. The block and rebound however gave the visitors a chance on the break but they fluffed it with a bad pass that Tim Howard easily claim in his home state, pretty much ending the first half action.
Klinsmann's changes to start the second half did change the dynamics of the game, especially with Michael Bradley taking up his midfielder's role. The US build started almost immediately when the third Jersey native on the field pushed the ball to Dempsey who played it through to Agudelo however the whole build-up was foiled when Eduardo Morante stepped in to take charge and keep the ball from threatening his keeper.
The South Americans won a 51st minute corner kick which was cleared out of the box, only to fall to Arroyo but he struck it like a little girl and sent it wide of the mark.
The US soon afterwards got into their groove and won a corner that Bradley took charge of. The effort was cleared by ended up at Beasley's feet and the Indiana native played Danny Williams in who found Dempsey. The mesmerizing build came to nada this time however.
On the hour mark Antonio Valencia popped the ball into Howard's box and goes to nobody but Spector who made a bad decision of heading it behind the goal with no Ecuadorians around for miles. The corner was cleared but in the end Montero managed to get a shot off wide left of the box. Howard dives but the ball goes wide regardless.
Christian Benitez felt a bit spunky and charged forwarding, running around Bradley and Carlos Bocanegra but his touch while entering the box was a bit too heavy and thus gifted the ball to Howard who came off his line to claim the blunder.
Sixty eight minutes in Beasley was given time for a shot 20 yards out yet he had too much time to think about it and got off a terrible one that went too wide of the post to mention. He did redeem himself somewhat however with another shot 22 yards out that he hit hard and true yet right into Banguera's hands as the shot stopper collected the stinger.
Klinsmann said "Gooch is back" and the big defender played solid defense and also got to push forward late in the game, but perhaps too late because in the 79th minute Tim Howard was picking the ball out of the back of his net.
The ball was sent right into the center of the American's box by Walter Ayovi and found the hed of Jaime Ayovi, who angled himself around defensive substitute Tim Ream and headed in for the game winner.
Going down a goal presented the sense of urgency and the team kept pressing forward to put the visiting defenders on their back heels as they won corner after corner.
Onyewu went up front for the set pieces and stayed forward as he became an attacking threat for the Americans. In one instance the Sporting defender latched onto the ball and slid it forward into the box however it was cleared, followed by one of his long patented throw-ins which Edson Buddle latched onto however struck it wide.
In stoppage time Onyewu was at it again as he played Dempsey through and the Texan's shot was blocked for another corner, which was eventually claimed by the Ecuadorian #1.
In the end it was too little too late for the Americans who suffered another loss under their new coach.
"The team tried hard to do what we asked them to do," the German-born American coach said during the press conference. "We asked them to step it up after the Honduras game and they did that. I think they played a brilliant first half.
"We made some half time changes because we wanted to give some players the chance to expressive themselves."
Overall Klinsmann felt that the USA should have gotten something out of the game.
"In the second half they (Ecuador) got better and created some chances but nothing that really threatened Tim Howard. He never really had anything to do in that game, besides that one beautiful goal that they scored."
"When you put all that effort into it, you think you should get rewarded but it went the other way around. This is important for the players to learn that one little thing can change the game and it goes the other way."
The USA is planning to play next month in Europe however nothing has been confirmed yet.