Coach: Reinaldo Rueda
Star Players: Christian Benitez, Antonio Valencia, Jaime Ayovi
2-0 Win over Venezuela (CONMEBOL Qualifying)
5-2 Win over Jamaica (International Friendly)
2-0 Win over Costa Rica (International Friendly)
Although Ecuador might not be the cream of the crop in CONMEBOL, the US cannot afford to overlook this attacker-infested team. Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia seems to be fully recovered from his ankle injury that kept him out most of last season and striker Christian Benitez is finding his form for Club America. Simply put, Ecuador has the offensive weapons to keep up with the USMNT.
What Ecuador Needs to Do to Win- With Klinsmann’s back line still struggling to play together as a unit, Ecuador must be willing to throw plenty of players forward at the risk of getting exposed at the back. In simpler words, Ecuador might not have the defense to contain the likes of Altidore and Dempsey, but if La Tri can fight fire with fire, Reinaldo Rueda and company might have a chance to spoil the USMNT’s New York showing.
The two matchups that Ecuador must take advantage of are Valencia vs. Chandler on the left wing, and Benitez vs. Ream/Onyewu/Orozco up the middle. If Ecuador works these areas with great determination, the US is bound to concede a goal at some point in the night. After all, Howard is no superman.