USA / ECUADOR
Possession: 61% / 39%.
Shots: 6 / 12.
Saves: 2 / 2.
Fouls: 12 / 11.
The USA's plan was to press the opposition, but it was Ecuador that took advantage of the shaky U.S. defense and turnovers to overrun the USA for two rapid-fire goals. Keeper Jonathan Klinsmann and the right side of the U.S. backline -- Aaron Herrera and Tommy Redding -- were exposed on both goals.
Washington Corozo broke free down the left wing past Herrera and sent Redding tumbling to the ground before Klinsmann took him out. But the ball had already been played to Herlin Lino, who scored to give Ecuador the lead in the fifth minute.
Two minutes later, first Herrera and then Redding were outmuscled before Bryan Cabezas, who debuted for Ecuador's senior national team in February, beat Klinsmann with an angled shot.
The game changed in the USA's favor, ironically, on a non-contact injury to Gedion Zelalem that forced him to leave the game in the 34th minute in favor of Derrick Jones. Zelalem had been stranded in the role of a deep-lying playmaker and did little to contain the Ecuador attacks.
Despite the miserable start, the USA got back in the game thanks to the 6-foot-3 Jones, recently cleared by FIFA to represent the USA, and Sargent, the youngest U.S. player at the U-20 World Cup since 16-year-old Freddy Adu in 2005 but always menacing up front.
In the 36th minute, Jones won a ball in midfield and fed de la Torre, who broke through the Ecuador defense and found Sargent free on the right side for the first U.S. goal. The USA started the second half confidently and was rewarded on a play that Jones again started. He played the ball forward to Tyler Adams, who laid it off to Brooks Lennon, who launched a pinpoint cross for Sargent to head down and across the goal area into the net.
Klinsmann atoned for his bad start with two big saves early in the second half but then made a horrible mistake, trying to dribble out of trouble on a ball played back to him by Herrera. His first touch with OK, but he then lost control of the ball with his second touch, playing it straight to Cabezas, who beat him from the top of the area in the 64th minute.
The goal deflated the young Americans, who struggled to create any attack until the last minute of stoppage time. Herrera won a ball on the right side and played it to Lennon, who whipped in another dangerous cross that the Ecuador could only clear into the path of the charging de la Torre, who fired it inside the near post for the equalizer.
The U.S. players and their coach, Tab Ramos, celebrated the third goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time like it was a winner.
NOTABLE. The USA started three college players -- Klinsmann (Cal), Herrera (New Mexico) and Eryk Williamson (Maryland). Two years ago, Ramos played no collegians.
May 22 in Incheon
USA 3 Ecuador 3. Goal: Sargent 36, 54, de la Torre 90+4; Lino 5, Cabezas 7, 64.
USA -- Klinsmann, Acosta, Redding, Palmer-Brown, Herrera; Williamson (Kunga 72), Adams (Saucedo 86), Zelalem (Jones 34), De la Torre; Lennon, Sargent.
Ecuador -- Cevallos, Minda, Estupinan, Corozo (Caicedo 77), Ayovi (Rojas 57), Lino, Cabezas (Jaramillo 89), Sierra, Quinonez, Torres, Segovia.
Yellow Cards: USA -- Jones 80; Ecuador -- Corozo 74.