A youth-injected squad left it late, but former LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes nabbed the game-winner as the USA defeated Ecuador 1-0 Thursday night at Orlando City Stadium.
The highly anticipated friendly was the first chance for USA fans to see Bundesliga standouts Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie take the pitch at the same time. Unfortunately a resolute Ecuadorian defense came out in a low block and frustrated the American attack: Gregg Berhalter’s side were tidy in possession but unable to mount serious pressure in the final third.
Paul Arriola had a golden opportunity to put the U.S. ahead following a crisp passing sequence but goalkeeper Alexander Domínguez stood his ground to make the close range stop.
Sebastian Lletget checked in for Christian Pulisic in the 62nd minute, however the momentum of the game dropped when McKennie went down after a gruesome looking ankle injury, fortunately it is being reported as just a sprain.
ON THE BOARD! A @gyasinho strike puts the #USMNT in front! pic.twitter.com/rxLdlWkZMG— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) March 22, 2019
It would be Zardes to score the game-winner late, with his deflected shot outside the 18-yard box looping up and over Dominguez and in.