One lapse in judgement by U.S. defender Tim Ream made all of the difference in the outcome of the United States vs. Ecuador match. Ecuador's Jaime Ayovi was able to work enough space betwen himself and Ream to head in a nice cross from Walter Ayovi in the 79th minute to give Ecuador a 1-0 lead, and ultimately a victory over a U.S. side that were once again, held scoreless.
It was the third time in five matches under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann that the United States were unable to score a single goal.
The match saw the return of Oguchi Onyewu to the heart of the United States defense. Onyewu did a fine job keeping Ecuador in check throughout the game. Hopefully, a healthy Onyewu means the end of the rather unsuccessful Orozco Fiscal experiment in the central defense.
There were some exciting moments for both sides in the first half, the first coming for the United States mere seconds into the start of the game when forward Jozy Altidore had a chance to put the U.S. up early, but his shot was directed right at Ecuador goalkeeper Maximo Banguera, who was able to make the save.
A few minutes later U.S. forward Brek Shea had a chance of his own from the left side that was set up by a nice series of dribbling and a very good pass from Danny Williams, but once again, Banguera was able to thwart Shea's shot.
Shea put in another impressive performance for the United States in his 45 minutes of action.
Ecuador's Jefferson Montero made a number of good runs in the first half, but probably none more impressive than in the 12th minute of play, when Montero was able to beat U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo down the right side of the United States defense, opening up space for Montero to attempt a shot across the U.S. goal. The shot was able to get past U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, but was off just enough to go wide of goal. The miss had to have left the Americans breathing a slight sigh of relief.
Much of the rest of the half saw a number of nice series of play, but without any real threat of scoring from either side, until the 42nd minute when U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey almost connected on a long shot from outside the box that just sailed over the top of goal.
At half time, the match was still tied up at 0-0.
The second half saw Klinsmann introduce four substitutes for the U.S. side. Michael Bradley came on for Maurice Edu, Juan Aguedelo for Altidore, DeMarcus Beasley for Shea, and Jonathan Spector for Cherundolo. The mass substitutions seemed rather odd, and the crispness of play by the United States seen in the first half, all but left once the second half began.
In the 53rd minute Spector made a poor clearance that allowed Montero another chance from the left side as he was able to close in on the U.S. goal. Howard was finally able to corral the ball.
Ecuador midfielder Antonio Valencia was able to find space on the right side in the second half, and made a few dangerous crosses.
Montero threatened once again in the 60th minute when Montero fired a shot just wide of the far post.
Ream came on for Carlos Bocanegra in the 72nd minute of play, and it was mere minutes later that Ecuador would take advantage of the substitution, as Ream's current run of poor form continued.
Ayovi's goal undermined a much improved defensive performance from the United States, who were able to shut down the Ecuador attack for much of the match.
Players who helped their USMNT stock
Brek Shea, Danny Williams, Oguchi Onyewu, Jozy Altidore
Players who hurt their USMNT stock
Kyle Beckerman, Jonathan Spector, Tim Ream
Lineups: (via MLSsoccer.com)
USA (4-2-3-1, left to right): #1 Tim Howard -- #3 Timmy Chandler, #5 Carlos Bocanegra (capt.) (72’ #14 Tim Ream), #4 Oguchi Onyewu, #2 Steve Cherundolo (46’ #13 Jonathan Spector) -- #6 Kyle Beckerman, #8 Maurice Edu (46’ #15 Michael Bradley) -- #11 Brek Shea (46’ #16 DaMarcus Beasley), #10 Clint Dempsey, #7 Danny Williams (65’ #17 Edson Buddle) -- #9 Jozy Altidore (46’ #18 Juan Agudelo)
Subs Not Used: #12 Nick Rimando
Ecuador Lineup (4-4-2, left to right): #1 Máximo Banguera -- #10 Walter Ayoví (capt.), #3 Fricson Erazo, #2 Eduardo Morante, #18 Gabriel Achilier -- #9 Jefferson Montero (60’ #17 Jaime Ayoví), #8 Édison Méndez (69’ #19 Luis Saritama), #14 Segundo Castillo, #16 Antonio Valencia (63’ #13 Cristian Suárez) -- #7 Michael Arroyo (86’ #4 Juan Carlos Paredes), #11 Christian Benítez (90’ #15 Jairo Campos)
Subs Not Used: #12 Adrian Bone, #6 Michael Quiñonez