USA falls to Ecuador on late goal

USA Ecuador (Reuters)


HARRISON, N.J. – The U.S. men's national team saw an all too familiar game play itself out against Ecuador.

For the third time in five games, the Americans created chances but had nothing to show for it, falling 1-0 to Ecuador in front of 20,707 supporters at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday night.

Second half substitute Jaime Ayovi netted the game's lone goal, rising above U.S. substitute Tim Ream to head the ball past Tim Howard and into the back of the net.

"They played a brilliant first half, created lots of chances, didn't score, but didn't allow anything for Ecuador at all there," said head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who is now 1-3-1 as head coach of the U.S. team. "Then we had to make some changes … Ecuador, second half, got better into the game and created some chances but never really any threat for Tim Howard, so he never really had anything to do in that game besides that one beautiful goal that they scored."

Playing in a 4-1-3-2 formation, the United States began the game well, creating a chance in the opening seconds when Jozy Altidore got on the end of a quick throw in. Altidore then took a shot on goal, but Ecuador goalkeeper Maximo Banguera got down to make the save.

The United States nearly scored in the fifth minute as well, as Danny Williams fed Brek Shea for an open look. Shea unleashed a hard shot that Banguera was able to knock away for a U.S. corner.

Two minutes later, the United States had another chance, but left back Timmy Chandler's shot from just outside the penalty area went wide by inches.

"We came out and wanted to play," said Shea, who was replaced at halftime. "We wanted to do well and to come out and create chances. I think we did that."

Ecuador settled after the early chances and began to control possession a little more. But aside from Steve Cherundolo having trouble with the speed of Jefferson Montero on a handful of occasions, the Americans held their own defensively in the opening 45 minutes.

Chandler and Oguchi Onyewu, who started in his first game under Klinsmann, were two of the bright spots defensively for the Americans, with Chandler shutting down Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia and Onyewu continuing to show that he's back to top form.

"We saw many, many good things in that game. Starting maybe with (Onyewu) in the back, he's back. Maybe that's the easiest way to say it," said Klinsmann. "It's awesome to see. He's getting his rhythm; his presence is amazing and really good to watch.

"You see a Timmy Chandler at left back, he didn't allow Valencia not even one thing," said Klinsmann. "You're talking about a player that plays at Man. United and is a very, very good player, but you couldn't see him at all because Timmy Chandler closed him completely down."

The second half was a different story, as Ecuador was able to find a rhythm and hold the ball for longer stretches against a U.S. team that made four substitutions at halftime.

That played a role in the United States' struggles to create chances, as it took them midway into the half to create a quality opportunity.

"We lost a little bit of our rhythm after making so many changes," said Clint Dempsey.

Ecuador took advantage of that and went up in the 79th minute when Ayovi beat Ream to the ball and headed it into the back of the net following a cross from the left flank from his brother, captain Walter Ayovi.

Desperate for an equalizer, the Americans sent numbers forward but never found a goal.

The result marked the Americans' third shutout loss since Klinsmann took over.


What do you think of the United States' loss to Ecuador? Who impressed/disappointed you? Wondering what cure is out there for the U.S. team's scoring woes?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Mario in QT

    The few things I took out of this game that stand out:

    The plusses:

    Gooch is back

    Chandler is your left back.

    The minuses:

    Specter is not USMNT material.

    Beasley is done.

    Ream (24)too late for MNT development.

    Beckerman lacks in field vision.

    Klinsi is doing a good job of building

    his team.


  • Eddie

    Seriously, how about a little patience. Sure, Ream was responsible for the goal, probably out of his depth, and we will likely see others get a tryout at CB.

    Gooch was great last night, and his forays into the attack weren’t comical at all. If anything, that was encouraging.

    I’m also confident that Klinsmann is a more “educated soccer observer” than a random poster on an SBI forum.


  • John

    Correction, Franco. Ayovi didn’t ‘rise above’ Tim Ream. He ran in front of Ream, who was caught completely napping. Again. Everyone loves Ream’s ball-playing, but the simple fact is that he doesn’t track runs well enough to play at this level. Not yet, anyhow.


  • Jim

    I would like to point out that according to OPTA that Gooch had 29 successful passes and only 5 unsuccessful passes. Tim Ream in his short time on the feild had 9 successful passes and 3 unsuccessful. The data doesnt lie. Gooch passed well this game, and didn’t get his due credit. HE isn’t just a boot the ball up field player.


  • bryan

    To add on, I think JK needs to look at Bedoya, Mixx and Sasha now. Outside of LD, we don’t have a natural right winger who has been called in. Bedoya can be that for us. Even if he is on the bench and Beasley or Shea plays on the right, we need depth there. Williams, while not bad, doesn’t look like he has the pace needed for playing out wide. Dempsey can play there, but we need him up top.

    Mixx and Sasha need a chance because with Holden and Torres hurt, we need find someone who can play in the advanced midfield role. Truth is, outside of Mixx, not a single one of those players are a natural “attacking” midfielder. But those four are what we have. LD could probably fill that role too, so long as we have Beasley or Bedoya to play wide. I’d also like to see Williams in that role as he stated he prefers that position.

    Finally, I think we need to give Davies another shot. We cannot finish to save our lives. CD is probably the best finisher we have. It’s probably worth getting him back into the mix.

    Going forward, I’d like to see JK start using the entire A team. I think has had enough time to judge the talent. We need a consistent lineup now to start playing with each other with this new style.

    I think our players should come from the following pool (I’m going to include injured players):

    GK: Howard, Hamid, Hannyman/Guzan/Rimando/Yedell
    D: Dolo, Chandler, Gooch, Boca, Goodson, Spector, Orozco, Johnson, Lichaj
    M: Mixx, Sasha, Torres, Holden, Beasley, Donovan, Williams, Shea, Bradley, Edu, Jones, Bedoya
    F: Dempsey, Alitdore, Agudelo, Buddle, Davies, Bunbury


  • Eddie

    This is a good analysis, except I’d disagree with one thing: I thought Williams actually looked pretty good. He was in the attack a lot in the first half and I was lucky enough to be sitting a few rows from the pitch on that side. There is definitely quite a bit of talent there. I look forward to seeing him get more chances.


  • bryan

    as someone below pointed out, “Gooch had 29 successful passes and only 5 unsuccessful passes. Tim Ream in his short time on the feild had 9 successful passes and 3 unsuccessful.”

    he doesn’t just boot the ball every time.


  • SoccerInATL

    last comment. red bull arena gets very little support from soccer fans in that area. although they always say red bulls games are sold out half the stadium is empty every game. Its sad to see this carry over to when the us men’s national team shows up. I mean even Theirry Henry came. There isn’t 20k U.S. fans in that area?

    Can we please get a men’s nat team game in the south at some point? nashville is close enough. South flordia doesn’t count as its way too far of a drive for most southern cities. Of course Atlanta is ideal 🙂

    sick of watching friendlies in smaller MLS stadiums that are still filled up with half of the other team’s fans.


  • gbs

    in a year when we don’t qualify for the worldcup people will realize kilnsy is a long-winded theorist not a coach.


  • bryan

    I’m sorry, but Orozco showed he can play in that position and is a good depth option. He’s 25, meaning he is only a year older than Ream and younger than Parkhurst. People want to act liek Orozco was Bornstein, but he played well. He had a few issues, but he’s clearly the second string and will be paired with Goodson.


  • bryan

    Yeah, big coaching mistake by JK on that one. Bradley is not good at playing up either. Having Edu/Beckerman or Bradley/Beckerman leaves no one moving forward in the center of the midfield. That’s why I thought Williams needed to go into Edu’s spot, then Edu replaced with Beasley and Beckerman replaced with Bradley. Williams/Bradley would have, likely, done a better job.


  • away goals

    “At worse, this team should have been able to maintain its form, not get worse.”

    This is incorrect. Making the switch from the Bradley pragmatism to the JK fluidity was always going to involve some early struggling.

    The rationale is that the fluidity has a higher ceiling long term. You have to pay a steeper start up cost, but the overall gains will be greater.

    If we want to play a more attractive game, we’ll have to go through this sooner or later.


  • Sir Nigel Aghaincourt.

    Playing with Beckerman is like playing a man down

    he does 1 thing and that is it. nothing else, hopefully there is a replacement for meaningful games.


  • bryan

    i couldn’t agree more about Orozco. Him and Goodson are the second string CBs. John/OG/Ream are the third string.


  • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo

    Good teams win ‘friendlies’.
    There were no ‘fringe’ players on this roster, you heard that from Klinsman who called in the ‘best available talent’ and would have had Castillo in camp, but for a knock.

    What I’m saying is, you can overlook the issues if you choose, but don’t use the reason that Klinsy was scouting talent, he was not. This is his team, his 23-28 or so players that he believes are the best the U.S. has to offer.


  • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo

    Neither Torres or Holden are CAMS. If healthy one or the other may have been in Edu’s role. And Torres did not exactly unlock the Costa Rica defense.
    Dempsey was playing the ‘CAM’ role these two games.
    But you are right about Edu and Beckerman, both were poor in moving forward.


  • Jeff

    This is a pretty good point. Edu should not really be counted on in an advanced position. His touch is simply not good enough and his passes put our attacking players in bad positions. He got into some nice spots, but is not quick or decisive enough on the ball to make things happen from those spots.

    I like the ideal of Williams manning that CM spot until Holden or Torres are ready, particularly once LD is back to man the right side. Beckerman/Edu/MB/JJ should only be used in the destroyer role, of which we should only have one.


  • primoone

    “…call Adu’s little a$$ to camp…”

    “…Spector & Ream make ADU look like Urlacher!!! ”

    “…the little bastard creates chances! ”

    “… one leg and one eye, put his little midget a$$ on the pitch!”

    I can now stop reading through the forums. My day has been made.


  • The Imperative Voice

    I am a Houston Dynamo fan. Houston beat Dallas in Dallas and John did not wow me. The winning goal in MLS Cup 2010 deflected in off him. He has not won any big recognition in MLS, like Best XI or All Star. He was not even a NCAA All American or a US youth stud. He’s just a solid back on a team that has allowed a solid but not mindbogglingly good 34 goals in slightly fewer than that many games. Ho-hum, dime a dozen IMO.

    In terms of Castrol, if you believe that Alvaro Fernandez is the best player in the league, Wondo in the top 4, Magee top 7, Schuler from RSL is 10th best, that’s what Castrol says. The index almost refutes itself. Grasping at straws.

    Everton signed Arnoux and Peterlin a few years back. Do they even play anymore? You’re neglecting the influence of having a EU passport and if you noticed the deal fizzled right away once John couldn’t get that sorted fast enough.

    There is average and there is slow. Cameron is fast, Gooch is average, Gonzo is slow. Like Boswell or Hainault from Houston. I don’t care how classy of a club defender he is — Berhalter still plays some for LA and we all know what Germany did to his speed level — he lacks the speed necessary to stay with players. When a fast forward shows up Gonzo cannot ask for him to stand still so he can keep up.


  • hogatroge

    Gonzo will never have the speed, agility or ball skills that Cameron has, even if he has 1 extra WC cycle in him. I’m not razzing on the kid… he is in great form and has a potential spot backing up and eventually replacing Gooch.


  • Jeff

    The role is not so much an attacking midfielder, but more of a box to box guy that is slick on the ball under pressure and makes good passes. Edu was in the role last night, and his lack of touch and imagination cost us a number of opportunities. His passes put our attackers in positions where they cannot do much, and he does not have a quick enough touch to convert on opportunities around the 18. He would be fine in Beckerman’s role, or even, dare I say, in the rotation at CB.

    Holden or Torres are more suited for the CM role – possibly even Williams. LD would probably be best deployed on the right where Williams was. The creative element was Dempsey playing under Altidore.


  • hogatroge

    Pontius did earn a call up last month, albeit to replace someone who had to drop out.

    That said, he has since suffered a season ending injury.


  • The Imperative Voice

    “Best striker we have now?” Dempsey scored the winner against Honduras. Altidore went 0-fer. Altidore has 2 goals all year for the Nats, 10 appearances, 634 minutes.

    There are plenty of other options out there besides Agudelo or Edson freaking Buddle. This is starting into Bradley-mope-mode where yes we need a player to play x but we just can’t do better. Which is how Bornstein got PT at LB, Sacha got in at CM, etc. You can’t have that mentality.

    There’s Dempsey, Davies, Donovan, Bunbury, and others. It’s fake to act like Altidore is the only option.

    All due respect to your AZ stats but it translated to squat this international stint. When the US manages one goal against the good but not great sides from Honduras and Ecuador a little self-examination is appropriate, and one thing we are not getting is forward production. And Agudelo and Altidore have been getting beaucoup PT. Connect the dots.


  • Adam

    Makelele only ever played the ball back or square… I’m not trying to compare Beckerman to him, but simply winning the ball and passing it back isn’t such a bad thing.


  • hogatroge

    The reason he doesn’t play at NY can only be attributed to the fact that Rodgers and Henry match up well together.

    Agudelo’s goal/game ratio is pretty damn high.


  • hogatroge

    The Spector substitution was baffling to me. Dolo is faster than Spector, and even he was getting burned by his mark. So, the solution is to sub a slower fullback? Hmmmn.


  • bryan

    yeah. i would like the days of two defensive mids to be done. i love that formation for madrid, but we don’t have the supporting cast to create the chances that teams like madrid can. 4-2-3-1 is fun, and looks good on paper, but with the emergence of Shea, i think a 4-4-2, 4-1-3-2, 4-1-3-1-1 or 4-4-1-1 (which are all essentially the same thing) should be the way forward.


  • John

    I don’t put much stock into Klinsmann’s or the US’s record at this point. He is trying new things out. I do admit I was very high on Klinsmann when hired, but I am starting to now realize he’s not anymore tactically knowledgeable than Bob Bradley was, but just maybe a better motivator as show when coaching Germany 2006 WC, not yet exhibited as the US coach. However, the German talent he had then was incredible/world class, but just needed direction. Unfortunately, the US simply does not have that kind of talent at any ranks within their system and he’s got not much to work with. Let’s not fool ourselves, besides Dempsey and Donovan, there is nobody else. Dempsey is very good in the EPL at positional ability and that’s how he scores most of his goals in the box. The US has nobody to feed him the ball as exhibited throughout the match lastnight. Our wingers (national team level) are still working on dribbling up the wings, let alone unleashing an accurate cross creating the ability to score. I don’t care whether they played thru rain last Saturday or night, it’s so obvious that when we start an offensive attack from our backline, it’s PAINFULLY slow to develop. That’s not fatigue. Seriously, it was Equador we were playing and once a pass was made, it was clear nobody on the pitch had the talent to receive and distribute the ball with speed, technique,or any vision needed to continue any sort of attack. The play when Onewyu dribbled from his own backline to past the centerline and then distributing the ball to the touchline and continuing his run into Equador’s own box showed this clearly deficient team ability to sustain a creative and solid attack. We will struggle to score goals in the future as we have in the past, not anymore fault on Klinsmann, than the US’s ability to develop more talented players with better skill on and off the ball amongst many other worries like first touches (which were horrendous by every single player) or vision/creativity. I couldn’t tell you how many times I saw Dempsey wide open at 25 yds out blatantly open to receive the ball from our midfield with nobody even looking his way. It’s just frustrating to watch.


  • Goalscorer24

    And then we can go back to Bunker Bob, but at least we tried something different. (Nothing Ventured, nothing gained.)


  • Two Cents

    Yah, I certainly understand. Like I said, it’s not necessarily that I thought he was bad, but I just felt he wasn’t good enough to warrant a statement like “another great game for Williams.” In essence, I missed Donovan, but I can see this kid being very useful for us in the CDM position. Potential there, but we didn’t see as much of it this game as we did against Honduras, at least that’s what I think. You may have had a better reference point though lol. I saw the game on tv, a little bit different than being there.


  • hmmmm

    Oh yeah. Losing to Barca in the knockout stages of a Champions League that they won, and being 3 points out of first in your league is definitely coaching a team into the ground.


  • AC

    Also wondering if Ream is turning into another version of Bornstein….Gaffes keep hurting the team…


  • boosted335

    So you saw one game of Johns and werent impressed. You did not now John was first team pac10 multiple times and also a herman trophy candidate. You failed to understand that the reason Johns deal fell through is because the player he was supposed to replace ended up staying with the team…

    Castrol measures who is PLAYING the best…being that John has been near the top of that list since the start of the season and most would agree that he played even better last season a normal person would recognize that as proof of his quality.

    Speaking of last year..John carried his team past the “great” RSL, he scored and neutered Buddle the next game, he was having a MOM performance in MLS cup before and after the deflection…

    But if you dont know by now he’s quality you never will…I sure hope Klinsman isnt as stupid but im not convinced.

    By the way…Ream was an all-star this year. Its a popularity contest that a defender in Frisco Texas will never win. But he will be first 11 MLS selection this year and did “win” most underrated player last year FYI


  • Jon

    what does that have to do with anything? all im saying is that some players play better with teh national team because they feel more comfortable and Adu very well could be one of them


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