Fuel Soccer Talk: The USMNT edition following win over Ecuador

News & opinion on the USMNT 

U.S. men improve to 3-0 under Berhalter with 1-0 win

The U.S. Men’s National Team used an 81st minute strike from Gyasi Zardes to earn a 1-0 victory against Ecuador in front of 17,442 fans at Orlando City Stadium on Thursday. With the win, Gregg Berhalter became the second MNT head coach to begin his tenure with three straight victories.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Gyasi Zardes (Tim Ream), 81
st minute:
After collecting a pass from Tim Ream about 25 yards from goal, Zardes turned with space and dribbled towards goal before unleashing a shot that deflected off Ecuador defender Robert Arboleda and looped over ‘keeper Alexander Domínguez. USA 1, ECU 0

Key Save and Defensive Plays:
ECU – Beder Caicedo, 6th minute: After a number of connected passes in midfield, Christian Pulisic collected the ball at the top of the area and threaded a pass to Tyler Adams on the right. The full back alertly sent in a low cross, but Caicedo slid through at the end line to put it out for a corner kick.

ECU – Alexander Domínguez, 26th minute: Gyasi Zardes and Weston McKennie connected well on a combination at the top of the box before the latter slipped a ball through to Pulisic at the penalty spot. The MNT attacker slid it to Paul Arriola in stride on the left, but his effort was thwarted as Domínguez came bravely off his line to thwart the effort.

USA – Aaron Long and Weston McKennie, 52nd minute: Ecuador forced a turnover and quickly transitioned into attack with Jhegson Méndez sending Romario Ibarra into space with only Long in his way. Long worked to slow down the run and McKennie made an 80-yard jaunt to track back before the duo forced Ibarra outside and cleared the ball for a throw in.

What were the highlights from the U.S. side in this match?

The pundits & trolls weigh in on U.S. win and what it means

There was plenty of reaction – when isn’t there – after the U.S. team’s 1-0 win over Ecuador. Some of it was positive, some was more critical and some just plain silly. Here is a little sampling from the social media world.

“I have no idea what Berhalter was thinking. Playing multiple players out of position? If this were a better team we played tonight we would’ve been smashed.”

“We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
“That whole game consisted of a lack of attacking power. Bring (Tim) Weah up.”

“Should have been 5-0. US finishing was atrocious.”

“Americans need more players in Europe and to stop relying on Pulisic to solve everything. This is not basketball. A single player can’t carry a team. In football, physical attributes are useless if not accompanied by technique. When the USA learns that then they can at least make the World Cup.”


ANOTHER TAKE 2 (see below)

Now that we’ve heard from everyone else, what does the result mean for USMNT? 

Roster updates for upcoming match with Chile

The U.S. Men’s National Team roster was reduced to 23 players following the USA’s 1-0 victory against Ecuador as defender Tyler Adams departed camp Friday morning. No replacements will be made ahead of Tuesday’s match against Chile in Houston.

Adams played the full 90 minutes in the shutout on Thursday, working on a back line that limited La Tricolor to just one shot on goal. The 20-year-old will return to Germany to continue training with Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.

Additionally, goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez has returned to FC Dallas and will be available for selection for Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids, before returning to MNT camp in Houston following the game.

Having exited Thursday’s 1-0 win against Ecuador in the 68th minute with an ankle injury, midfielder Weston McKennie will travel with the team to Houston for further evaluation.

The USA faces two-time defending Copa America champions Chile on Tuesday, March 26 in Houston. Kickoff from BBVA Compass Stadium is set for 7:55 p.m. ET and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, UniMas and UDN.

What other roster changes should be made, if any?

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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