1. It was a good result for Klinsmann’s men
Considering the USA’s form within the last year -- Gold Cup and Concacaf Cup failure, a World Cup qualifying loss at Guatemala and tie at Trinidad & Tobago -- this result has to feel good for Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, even if it came in a home friendly.
USA-Ecuador: Player Ratings
It marked the USA’s most impressive result since beating Germany and the Netherlands in 2015 summer friendlies. No, Ecuador doesn’t rate as high as those teams, but higher than any teams the USA has beaten since. After six games, Ecuador is in second place in South American World Cup qualifying and eight of the Ecuadorans on the field in Frisco played in wins at Argentina and/or at home over Uruguay late last year.
2. We’ll see a 17-year-old play in the Copa.
Christian Pulisic, who broke in at Borussia Dortmund this year, came on in the 63rd minute and helped create the two best U.S. chances in the second half before Nagbe’s goal. In fact, the 17-year-old would have scored had Alejandro Bedoya noticed Pulisic was in front of the open net when he tried to blast a low shot from an impossibly tight angle.
Pulisic also did a fantastic job keeping possession when the USA was holding on to its lead in stoppage time.
3. We know who should start on Saturday.
The USA has one more prep game before kicking off the Copa Cententario on June 3 against Colombia. And when it faces Bolivia on Saturday, Klinsmann should evaluate Pulisic as a starter, and also start Nagbe and Bobby Wood, who along with DeAndre Yedlin assisted on the gamewinner.
Klinsmann probably already has Wood slated to start in the Copa but wanted to test Gyasi Zardes against Ecuador. Zardes failed the exam and the USA played remarkably better in the second half than in the first.
But what happens late in a friendly with both teams platooning -- Ecuador subbed five in the last half hour -- doesn’t replicate a competitive game.
In any case, Nagbe, after his sixth appearance as a sub since debuting in last November, is overdue for being on the field at kickoff.
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).