United States 1 Ecuador 0: USA make it three from three under Berhalter

By Sports Desk March 21, 2019

The United States maintained their perfect record under head coach Gregg Berhalter with a 1-0 victory over Ecuador in an international friendly.

Gyasi Zardes made it three wins from three matches since Berhalter's appointment after breaking the deadlock nine minutes from time in Orlando.

Zardes' long-range shot deflected off a defender and looped over Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez as Berhalter became just the second USA coach after Bob Bradley in 2007 to win each of his first three games.

The USA were flawless heading into the international fixture after wins against Panama and Costa Rica and they made a bright start on Thursday.

Paul Arriola, Christian Pulisic and Zardes were in the thick of the action against Ecuador, who had a lot to thank Dominguez for during the early exchanges.

Ecuador – headlined by Manchester United veteran Antonion Valencia earning his 94th cap – slowly found their feet and started to get on the ball, though the USA should have taken the lead approaching the half-hour mark.

Some lovely interchange play between Zardes and Pulisic set up Arriola with a one-on-one chance just outside the six-yard box but Dominguez used his outstretched leg to thwart the Americans.

Berhalter's men did put the ball in the net four minutes later, however, it was ruled out of for offside, though replays showed it was a very close call on Jordan Morris.

Ecuador – who failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup like the United States – managed to get in behind before half-time thanks to Beder Caicedo, whose shot flashed just over the crossbar in a timely warning for the hosts.

The South American visitors defended well and they continued to do so in the second half amid a host of substitutions for both sides, which impacted the rhythm of the match.

Ecuador – who offered little in attack – looked comfortable in defence as they match appeared to be petering out for a draw.

However, Dominguez went from hero to villain after he was caught scrambling off his line by Zardes, who secured a third successive victory and clean sheet.

 

What does it mean? Berhalter and Co. on track

This is the last break before the USA's CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign gets underway in June. There is work to do for the Americans but fans should be encouraged by a performance that was capped with a goal.

USA continue to impress

With Pulisic – who will join Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season – back in the starting line-up, there were more encouraging signs for the USA. The 20-year-old, like his team-mates, showed glimpses of their potential – especially in the first half – with plenty of pace and passing as they continue to rebuild under Berhalter.

McKennie carried off

It is not what the coaching staff and supporters wanted to see. The 20-year-old Schalke midfielder hurt his ankle and had to leave the field on a stretcher. The only blight on an otherwise positive night for the USA.

What's next?

The USA welcome Chile to Houston on Tuesday, while Ecuador are on the road against Honduras on the same day.

Related items

  • I don't even know what I want – Ibrahimovic unsure about future I don't even know what I want – Ibrahimovic unsure about future

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic is unsure what his future holds amid reports he will leave AC Milan at the end of the season and possibly retire.

    Ibrahimovic, 38, returned to Milan in December and scored four goals in 10 appearances before the campaign was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The former Barcelona, Inter and Manchester United star is reportedly considering his future, with his contract at Milan expiring at season's end.

    But Ibrahimovic said even he was unsure about what was ahead as he considers his options.

    "Let's see," he told Svenska Dagbladet on Wednesday.

    "I don't even know what I want. Something new happens every day. Who could have predicted this with corona? We just have to try to live and enjoy life.

    "Don't worry too much. I have a family to take care of, they feel good so I feel good."

    Italy has been hit hard by coronavirus, reporting more than 110,000 cases and 13,100 deaths.

    Ibrahimovic said the health of the community had to come first, with the Serie A season suspended indefinitely.

    "It started to spread to football. They shut down the whole training facility, we were not allowed to move outside," he said.

    "It is tragic that football leagues shut down, but we must respect the system and be patient. They must find a solution that is good for the whole community.

    "Health is above all sport. I'm not worried about corona. I think it will be solved, it's just to wait until the experts know what to do."

  • Coronavirus: Walker hopes Premier League season resumes, but says football must 'take a back step' Coronavirus: Walker hopes Premier League season resumes, but says football must 'take a back step'

    Manchester City defender Kyle Walker hopes the Premier League season can resume, but said "football has to take a back step for now".

    The campaign has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought sport to a standstill around the world.

    It remains unclear when, and if, the Premier League campaign will resume, but Walker is hoping the season can get back underway.

    "Football has to take a back step for now because that is the least important thing on everyone's mind in the football world," the right-back said.

    "The health of family members and other people's family members is the most important.

    "But, I hope, and I am sure everybody else hopes, that football will come back and we will be able to finish off the season, but if it is not a possibility, then everyone does understand that people's health is more important than a game of sport."

    Walker discussed how City – who were second to Liverpool in the Premier League when the season was stopped – were keeping up team spirit using group chats.

    But the 29-year-old revealed manager Pep Guardiola, who donated €1million to the coronavirus fight in Spain, was not in the players' chat.

    "Obviously Pep is not in the group chat! I dropped him a text message last night saying hope you are OK, and I hope the family is well and fair play for donating the amount of money that you have donated," Walker said.

    "That says a lot about him as a person. Put football aside, that has come from his heart and it is something that should definitely be recognised."

  • Coronavirus: Serie A clubs banned from team training until at least April 13 Coronavirus: Serie A clubs banned from team training until at least April 13

    Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has banned Serie A clubs from returning to team training until at least April 13.

    The Serie A season was suspended indefinitely last month with Italy hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Napoli and Lazio were among the clubs to backtrack on plans to return to training last month and with Italy extending their nationwide lockdown until April 13, Conte ruled out any team sessions taking place.

    "Actual measures are extended until April 13. We know we are asking another effort, another sacrifice," he said on Wednesday.

    "We have to understand one thing – if we stop following the rules or reduce these measures, we will waste our efforts."

    Conte added: "The only news introduced is about athletes' training sessions … training sessions are not allowed in clubs' headquarters.

    "It doesn't mean athletes cannot train themselves, they can do it individually."

    More than 13,100 people have died from coronavirus in Italy, with the global death toll exceeding 46,000.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.