USA-Ecuador: El Bolillo returns to Orlando, this time with La Tricolor

The USA will open the Gregg Berhalter era with its full squad against Ecuador on Thursday night at Orlando City Stadium.

The game will the USA's first match in Orlando since a 4-0 win over Panama in October 2017.

Panama's coach that night was Colombian Hernan Dario Gomez, who said the USA could have scored 10 goals, which made the USA's result four days later so stunning, a 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago knocked the USA out of the 2018 World Cup.

Gomez will be back at Orlando City Stadium in charge of Ecuador.

Promising start. Like the USA, Ecuador is rebuilding after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and Gomez has La Tricolor off to a promising start. It went 4-1-1 in six friendlies last fall.

Back for second stint. El Bolillo was named head coach after taking Panama, which finished ahead of the USA in the Hexagonal, to the World Cup for the first time in 2018. This is his second stint with Ecuador, having taken it to the 2002 World Cup four years after coaching Colombia in the finals. He is the only coach to have ever qualified three different national teams to a World Cup.

MLS connection. Gomez's 23-player roster for games against the USA in Orlando and Honduras in Harrison, New Jersey, includes three MLS players -- midfielders Carlos Gruezo (FC Dallas), Romario Ibarra (Minnesota United) and Sebas Mendez (Orlando City).

Last time out.  Gruezo is one of four starters from La Tricolor's 2-1 loss to the USA in the 2016 Copa Centenario quarterfinals along with goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez, defender Juan Paredes and Enner Valencia, whose 27 international goals are second all-time on the Ecuador scoring list.



Youth movement.  Gomez has also called up two 18-year-old players from Ecuador's U-20 Sudamericano championship team: defender Jackson Porozo and forward Leonardo Campana.

Ecuador Roster:
Goalkeepers (3):
Maximo Banguera (Barcelona; 35/0)
Alexander Dominguez (Velez Sarsfield, ARG; 47/0)
Pedro Ortiz (Delfin; 0/0)
Defenders (8):
Gabriel Achilier (Morelia, MEX; 38/1)
Xavier Arreaga (Barcelona; 1/0)
Beder Caicedo (Barcelona; 2/0)
John Narvaez (Melgar, PER; 2/0)
Juan Paredes (Emelec; 73/0)
Angelo Preciado (Independiente del Valle; 4/0)
Jackson Porozo (Santos, BRA; 0/0)
Cristian Ramirez (Krasnodar, RUS; 18/1)
Midfielders (8):
Carlos Gruezo (FC Dallas; 20/0)
Renato Ibarra (Club America, MEX; 37/1)
Romario Ibarra (Minnesota United; 6/3)
Jefferson Intriago (LDU Quito; 4/0)
Sebas Mendez (Orlando City; 5/0)
Jefferson Orejuela (LDU Quito; 12/0)
Ayrton Preciado (Santos Laguna, MEX; 9/0)
Antonio Valencia (Manchester United, ENG; 93/11)
Forwards (4):
Leonardo Campana (Barcelona; 0/0)
Angel Mena (Leon, MEX; 9/3)
Jhohan Julio (LDU Quito; 0/0)
Enner Valencia (Tigres, MEX; 46/27)
Note: In parentheses are caps and goals.

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