USA-Ecuador International Friendly Player Ratings

May 25 in Frisco, Tex.
USA 1, Ecuador 0. Goal: Nagbe 90.
Att.: 9,893.
Halftime subs Bobby Wood and Darlington Nagbe revived a sluggish U.S. attack and in the final minutes they teamed up to score the goal by which the U.S. beat Ecuador, 1-0.

The Americans started poorly and seldom troubled the Ecuadoran defense in the first half but kept the game goalless until their attack got rolling. Ecuador seldom revived the energy it had showed in the opening minutes and never tested keeper Brad Guzanwith a dangerous shot.

U.S. Player Ratings:
5 Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/ENG), 44/0.
Caught a couple of tough balls in traffic, distributed the ball well, required to make just one save.

6 DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland/ENG), 33/0.
Fought through a few testing moments triggered by Jefferson Montero and grew more secure as the game unfolded. Thwarted a dangerous attack in the final minutes by getting his foot on a ball cut behind him. Last-ditch cross turned into the goal.

6 Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United) 5/1.
Started badly and nearly cost the U.S. goal with a couple of turnovers but improved markedly. Headed down a free kick into a scrum without reward. Got on the end of a cross but couldn’t knock it to Dempsey. Won a vital header in the final minutes.

5 John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER), 20/2.
Very shaky in the opening minutes but giveaways weren’t punished by Ecuador, and he recovered his poise and confidence. Cool, half-volleyed clearance just yards from his own goal line and solid tackle on Enner Valencia in the second half reflected the change.

5 Fabian Johnson (Borussia M'Gladbach/GER), 43/2.
Hesitant offensively and lackluster defensively in the opening minutes. Got more into the attack after halftime and connected well with subs but still wasn’t sharp defensively.

4 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), 53/1.
Passed inconsistently and ran blindly into a double-team that gave Ecuador the ball close to the penalty area.

5 Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), 59/3.
Seldom dribbled forward to launch attacks but played efficiently. Hit a lot of short passes and redirections that aided possession and tempo, and fired a left-foot shot on target from distance.

6 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 114/15.
Plugged up the middle and grew more assertive as Ecuador faded late in the first half. Started second half with an excellent ball to Wood and hit a deep cross that just missed producing a goal. Cut off a possible goal by racing back 40 yards to strip Angel Mena. Followed up to hit a partial clearance first-time over the bar.

3 Gyasi Zardes (L.A. Galaxy), 23/3.
Nearly invisible playing wide, mostly on the left. Couldn’t dribble past defenders, didn’t connect with teammates. Got in a couple of tackles but never got out of neutral offensively.

4 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), 122/49.
Labored through an anonymous first half, perked up after halftime. Quick free kick put Wood through but no shot resulted.

5 Graham Zusi (Sporting KC) 34/4.
Pushed the attack, especially in the second half. Darted to the byline and cut back a ball that produced a near-miss from Bedoya. Ran onto a ball near the edge of the box and shot wildly under pressure.
6 Bobby Wood (Union Berlin/GER), 18/5.
Another impressive, encouraging performance. Let a good ball from Dempsey slip away and misplayed another from Bradley, but got to the byline to drill a perfect ball to Dempsey, and headed the ball that Nagbe banged into the net.

6 Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER), 2/0.
Raced free on the left side several times, used the ball smartly, hit a good cross, and help kill some stoppage time by bamboozling three opponents.

7 Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), 5/1.
Lifted the U.S. game immediately after coming on. Provided plenty of smooth, intelligent touches and forced a turnover with a fierce challenge. Feathered a pass that ran perfectly for Christian Pulisic. Scored a sweet goal by chesting Wood’s header and smacking the ball home as it dropped.

4 Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA), 47/2.
Played centrally, had a few good touches, shot just wide from a sharp angle with two teammates in better positions.

5 Matt Besler (Sporting KC), 32/0.
Got into the flow of the game quickly and stepped into tackles as needed.

NR Michael Orozco (Tijuana/MEX) 24/4.
Brief appearance.

TRIVIA. The USA has scored four goals in the 89th minute or later in its six games this year. The others are Steve Birnbaum (Iceland, 3-2); and Jozy Altidore (Canada, 1-0, and Guatemala, 4-0).

May 25 in Frisco, Texas
USA 1, Ecuador 0. 
Goal: Nagbe 90.
USA --
Guzan; Yedlin, Birnbaum, Brooks (Besler, 78), Johnson; Beckerman (Nagbe, 46), Zusi (Orozco, 87), Jones (Bedoya, 64), Bradley, Zardes (Wood, 46), Dempsey (Pulisic, 63).
Ecuador -- Dominguez (Dreer, 46); Paredes, Erazo, Achilier (Arboleda, 73), Ramirez; Noboa (Gaibor, 69), Gruezo (Larrea, 59), Mena, Montero (Arroyo, 64); E.Valencia, Bolanos (Cazares, 68).
Referee: Alfredo Penaloza (Mexico).
Att.: 9,893.
38 comments about "USA-Ecuador International Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. Miguel Aviles, May 26, 2016 at 12:46 a.m.

    A low key friendly with neither team wanting to risk much or show too much to Copa America opposition. But 2nd half US changes did lead to better play. Nagbe looked good in central midfield which enabled Bradley to drop deeper while Wood's speed and energy were an upgrade over Dempsey's lackluster play. And Pulisic may be just 17 but he can play and did not look out of place. His development on the left of midfield makes moving Fabian Johnson back to left back less of a concern.

    How much was really learned from this game we don't know yet and won't know until we see Klinsmann's lineup in the opener against Colombia. He better start Nagbe and Wood or else the US will really struggle.

    As for Ecuador, an Ecuadorian friend before match told me Ecuador rarely plays well in friendlies. But they do miss injured Felipe Caicedo, their #9, who won't play Copa America.

  2. beautiful game replied, May 26, 2016 at 10 a.m.

    Anyone miss Brek Shea? Not enough was said about Pulisic in this article. How he got into those positions should be the talking point.

  3. Vince Leone, May 26, 2016 at 2:11 a.m.

    Best moment of the match for me was when Pulisic managed to keep the ball under heavy pressure from 3 (larger) opponents who had him pinned against the touchline. More of that please!

  4. Wooden Ships replied, May 26, 2016 at 8:39 a.m.

    That was fun to watch.

  5. Vince Leone, May 26, 2016 at 2:13 a.m.

    In the early days of the MLS, the SJ Clash had a forward who was fast as hell but had the touch of a bulldozer. Zardes always reminds me of that guy.

  6. Allan Lindh, May 26, 2016 at 3:38 a.m.

    With Nagbe, Wood, Pulisic, Bedoya in the game we actually looked like a bit of a soccer side. Of course it was after Ecuador was subbing freely, and so not as good as it looked. But if he ever plays Beckerman again he should be fired on the spot. Unless Cameron is injured, it was shi..y to not even give him a look. None of our starting midfield could even make the squad at Stoke, let alone start every game.

  7. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 26, 2016 at 10:02 a.m.

    Michael Bradley couldn't make the bench at Stoke?! LOL!

  8. Jake Lammi replied, May 26, 2016 at 10:24 a.m.

    Michael Bradley couldn't get on the pitch with a mediocre Villa team. What makes you think he cracks the starting 11 at Stoke?

  9. R2 Dad replied, May 26, 2016 at 2:35 p.m.

    Stoke is much improved from the Pulis years; Cameron is in a very good situation, surrounded by a better squad. MB is now played as a Dmid at his club so glad to see JK figure that out in the 4-1-4-1 we saw in the 2nd half. It's JJ that is now given an attacking spot in MLS, so maybe MB stays home and JJ gets forward?

  10. Eric Dibella replied, May 27, 2016 at 10:55 a.m.

    This Bradley not making the pitch at Aston Villa comment has come up a couple of times now. It seems as though it is a ridiculous comment as he went on to play in Italy, ultimately with Roma. Clearly there were problems at Aston Villa, and I am sure Guzan can attest to that even more so now. We all knew it was a joke that Aston Villa were not using him.

  11. Wooden Ships, May 26, 2016 at 8:33 a.m.

    Does possession always lead to victory? No. But it's ups your odds. The second half was easier on the eyes for sure. Jurgen seemed surprised at times at the change once he started subbing. Fabian still needs to be in the midfield, MB holding, leave Zuzi and Zardes and Blanco (I mean Deuce) and JJ as subs if needed. Once we had players that had the work rate and touch we were new and improved. The Blanco reference wasn't a slam at Clint, he can and has and does score, sort of like Mathis use too. But, he has to be more active for us to play the style and linking play we exhibited. JK selected a few I wouldn't have and it could hurt us in the Copa, but if it gets sorted out coming qualification time then we will have made some progress.

  12. Lewie Stevens replied, May 26, 2016 at 1:27 p.m.

    I agree with your assessment on Dempsey. His skilled touch with the ball at his feet doesn't come into play until he gets more active.

  13. Ric Fonseca replied, May 26, 2016 at 2:36 p.m.

    Hey Blanco Dempsey??? I like this monniker! Il Deuce needs to amp up his work rate, his body language says volumes, as if he just doesn't want to be on the pitch, yeah he's a tough opponent when he wants to be, but yesterday all he was body-language sending out was nothing but telling JK and Herzog, "get me outta here already!" And after they did, the team seemed to perk up some!!!

  14. Bob Ashpole replied, May 27, 2016 at 3:26 a.m.

    If Dempsey had started on the left and Woods in the center I think it would have made a big difference in the first half play.

  15. Leo Strine, May 26, 2016 at 8:50 a.m.

    Less than 10,000 people at the stadium. Frisco, Texas should not be given the opportunity to hold another national team game. Embarrassing turnout.

  16. beautiful game replied, May 26, 2016 at 11:02 a.m.

    Why an embarrassing turnout; unless it's a Mexico or Argentina exhibition, why waste the money.

  17. Jeffrey Organ replied, May 26, 2016 at 11:11 a.m.

    Don't understand why US Soccer continues to stage USMNT games that don't involve Mexico anywhere in Texas. I am sure FCD will come up with excuses for this turn out...weeknight game, weather wasn't perfect, etc. Unfortunately the reality is that most down here either don't care about the National team, or aren't motivated enough to spend their money to attend these games.

  18. Matt D replied, May 26, 2016 at 2:10 p.m.

    I was there and thought the turnout was disappointing as well. Yes, weather wasn't great but rarely is in late May in Texas. Frisco is just too far for most in Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Took us over an hour to get there from downtown Dallas and know some that took 2 hours. Hard to do on a weeknight game starting at 7. All that said, I did more checking and people will turn out for a competitive game in Frisco. Gold Cup game last July 7 against Honduras drew 22,357 in Frisco. For comparison, last four USMNT friendly games attendances were 9,214 at Red Bull Arena, 8,803 in Carson/LA, 9,274 in Carson/LA, and now 9,893 in Frisco. As far as Jeffrey's comment, USMNT vs Honduras at Cowboys Stadium drew 81,410 in 2013 Gold Cup semis.

  19. Wooden Ships replied, May 26, 2016 at 2:24 p.m.

    Good reply Matt. Frisco from the beginning was thought to be too much on the fringe of the greater DFW area. There are great supporters of the sport in this area, for the men's and women's teams. Huge numbers play. Seemed like when I was recruiting for college players, I was there 8 to 10 times a year. Other than SoCal, DFW might have the greatest density of players in the country.

  20. Ric Fonseca replied, May 26, 2016 at 2:38 p.m.

    Leo, Leo,. Leo, what do ya expect of a game with a late kick off time, in the middle of the week!!! If you want to blame anyone, blame the Federation that scheduled the match!!! Heck I almost forgot it in Los Angeles, with a 5pm kickoff and didn't even turn it on until the 15th minute!

  21. Jeffrey Organ replied, May 26, 2016 at 3:56 p.m.

    Matt D...fair comments but a couple of additional points. I was at the Gold Cup semis you referenced, and I do believe US-Honduras was the undercard to Mexico-Panama. Second, I accept that Frisco is a hike from Downtown Dallas, but the common myth that it is in the middle of nowhere is flat wrong. The number of people living within a 30 minute drive of the stadium is the size of a reasonably sized city by itself. Finally, this was a lead up game to a major and tournament and not your typical friendly. Soccer should have advanced to the point where we do better than this in this country.

  22. Matt D replied, May 26, 2016 at 5:23 p.m.

    Jeffrey, all good points. And couldn't agree more on your last sentence. As I mentioned in my first sentence, disappointed nonetheless with the turnout. I just feel like Frisco represents the DFW area poorly and always wonder what the turnout would be if the stadium was near downtown (like all new MLS clubs are headed). Might be just more of the same but always makes me wonder.

  23. j bapper, May 26, 2016 at 9:53 a.m.

    2nd half was better with Nagbe, Pulisic, Bedoya and Wood. Beckerman and Zardes should never be allowed to put on a US Jersey again. Dempsey needs to be a sub for late in the games... his game has declined pretty rapidly. Zusi is a squad player but shouldn't be starting. Bradley had to be a holding midfielder... that's his best position. Yedlin will continue to improve. Unfortunately, Fabian is going to have to play left back as there's no decent alternative.

  24. Wooden Ships replied, May 26, 2016 at 2:16 p.m.

    J, we have to use someone else back there in my opinion. We must start possessing and scoring more. The onus needs to tilt to the attack. For years its been about defending. Fabian is too important as we go forward with a more sophisticated game. I think there are some serviceable options for left back, but Fabian is head and shoulders more effective than other left mid options.

  25. Bob Ashpole replied, May 27, 2016 at 3:23 a.m.

    I suspect Dempsey would have had a better match starting on the left with Woods in the middle.

  26. Fire Paul Gardner Now, May 26, 2016 at 10:03 a.m.

    Love the over the top hyperbole from the posters on here - "so and so should never play again!" "If JK plays so and so again he should be fired on the spot"

    Geez - calm down!

  27. Matt D replied, May 26, 2016 at 1:49 p.m.

    Ironic given the poster's name...

  28. Ric Fonseca replied, May 26, 2016 at 2:41 p.m.

    Jeez, even after all your posts, I see that Paul Gardner is still on SA's staff!!! Good levity of a joke....

  29. Gary Levitt, May 26, 2016 at 10:39 a.m.

    j bapper: agree but very disappointing that in JK's tenure he has yet to identify and develop a left back. Fabian needs to be in midfield to compliment the likes of Nagbe, Bradley and Bedoya. Those are four decent mids with Zusi and Jones next men up. With all that said, this was a friendly with a South American side in 3rd gear.

  30. cisco martinez, May 26, 2016 at 11:02 a.m.

    Pulisic looks technically sound and for his age really strong on the ball, Bedoya should have had a higher rating, and Nagbe to my surprise played well and was strong on the ball, however he plays the ball square all the time when he should be looking to link up play with the forwards and wingers. Interesting to see Klinsmann play a 4-1-4-1 in the second half with Bradley as a #6 and halving Wood on the wing, not so sure if those are the ideal positions for either of them.

  31. K Michael, May 26, 2016 at 11:04 a.m.

    In the words of Sir Alex, if you are good enough, you're old enough. Third -rate scrimmage or not, it is blindingly obvious the remarkable leap in first touch quality and speed of play once the Bundes boys and Nagbe were on the pitch together. Best news of all is that that kind of quality is just the beginning as the u17 and younger set comes of age with what I call "native" soccer skills - is it 2022 yet?

  32. Wooden Ships replied, May 26, 2016 at 2:04 p.m.

    Haha, like your thinking K Michael.

  33. R2 Dad, May 26, 2016 at 2:07 p.m.

    Jones/Beckerman/Bradley didn't work in the first half--not enough dynamism against a weak opponent--would like to see MB & JJ playing the two DMid positions against top teams. Same thing with Zusi/Dempsey/Zardes--don't think we will see Zusi much in the future. I think JK gives chances to some of these players to see that they're out of their depth, and the 2nd half proved that. I thought Clint would be a lock for 2018 but declining skills vs international defenders might make him a sub by then. If JK is forced to slot FJ in at left back, the least the team can do is pick up his runs out from the back line. They have not in the past, to his frustration. Regardless of the outcome of Copa, our starters will be younger this time next year (if everyone stays healthy). We will need to be younger and more energetic to battle El Tri, which has rebounded and is much-improved after the 2012 nightmare from which we bailed them out.

  34. Christopher Tallmadge replied, May 26, 2016 at 8:55 p.m.

    Ecuador is hardly a weak team.

  35. Chris Sapien , May 26, 2016 at 2:20 p.m.

    Two words. Zardes, YIKES!

  36. Bob Ashpole, May 27, 2016 at 2:51 a.m.

    I was very pleased with the match. Not the score, but rather the way the US was coached and played. Watching that match, the coaching staff had to have seen that the US pool has progressed to the point where technical skill is more important than size and strength. I think we are finally seeing a turning point where JK will commit to better technical players and step up the quality of play. I hope. I also agree that JK needs to stop playing people out of position, if we want better quality play. It is one thing to use Johnson at fullback because of an injury, but somebody else should have started there. Especially in a friendly like this. If JK intends Johnson as the starting LB, then who is behind him? There has to be others.

  37. Kent James, May 27, 2016 at 9:46 a.m.

    Not sure why JK started 3 defensive mids (Beckerman, Jones & Bradley), and calling 2 of them offensive CM's doesn't make them so. Nagbe is an offensive CM. But generally agree with multiple posters that Pulisic is the real deal (so quick, good touch) and Dempsey's time has passed (so little effort). Although Bedoya has no skills that stand out, he's solid and seems to make things happen (though he needs to be on the outside), and I thought he deserved a higher rating.

  38. Kevin Sims, May 27, 2016 at 12:15 p.m.

    Nagbe seems like the real deal ... Pulisic seems like he will be the real deal ... touches, timing, decision-making, poise, weight of passes, movement off ball all quite good with Nagbe ... Pulisic still a bit of a work in progress in comparison ... Zardes not growing in these regards ... ditto Bedoya

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