Nagbe’s Late-Winner Pushes USMNT Over Ecuador

nagbe usmnt

BY DENY GALLAGHER

The United States Men’s National Team is hitting their stride at the right time after a 1-0 victory over Ecuador on Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas.

Darlington Nagbe was the lone goal scorer on the evening, earning his first career international goal in the 90th minute.

Both sides took a precautious approach to the first half. Ecaudor made the first serious attack, and forced the Americans to defend. The play of John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin kept Ecuador at bay, thanks to the duo’s combination of force and athleticism.

After the first quarter hour, the United States was able to secure a better share of possession and proceeded on offense. Jurgen Klinsmann deployed the three-man midfield of Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, and Kyle Beckermann. The formation allowed for increased flexibility with Gyasi Zardes and Graham Zusi dropping back into the midfield when called upon. This allowed for the Americans to have a more dynamic attack, while providing defensive support in their own half.

After an opening stanza that saw the United States lacking the same vigor to get forward that it demonstrated Sunday against Puerto Rico, Klinsmann called in Bobby Wood and Darlington Nagbe for Gyasi Zardes and Kyle Beckman. Their insertion helped the side look considerably more threatening in the final stanza.

Klinsmann continued to experiment in this tune-up match, as 17-year-old Christian Pulisic entered the match around the mid-point of the second half. The Dortmund man finished his night to glowing reviews after a terrific outing.

In the 90th minute, the United States finally found a break through courtesy of Darlington Nagbe. A DeAndre Yedlin cross from deep on the right flank was deflected toward Bobby Wood, who headed it to the Portland Timbers man. Nagbe finished the opportunity with a swinging, right footed volley to secure the winner.

Moments later the official blew his final whistle, and the Stars and Stripes came away with a 1-0 victory over Ecuador.

The United States is back in action on Saturday when they take on Bolivia in their final tune-up ahead of the Copa America Centenario. Kickoff is set for 8 PM at Children Mercy Park in Kansas City. The match can be seen on FS1 and UniMas.