There are more than three years before now and the next World Cup, so teams are starting to lay out their plans to ensure they better their chances at qualifying for Qatar in 2022. This is the time to give a lot of your young talent some games in order to give them seasoning and see what they can provide in the future, and both the United States and Ecuador are out to do that here. Neither country was able to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, so they are more wont to shake things up in a big way.
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United States vs Ecuador
- Date and Time: March 21, 2019, 8 p.m. ET
- Location: Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, Florida
- US Television Coverage: ESPN2
- Betting Line: United States PK and -0.5, O/U 2 and 2.5
Missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1990 meant the USMNT needed to shake things up. The US parted ways with Jurgen Klinsmann, and he was replaced by Gregg Berhalter. Berhalter was not the first choice, but he is familiar with American soccer after coaching Columbus Crew for six seasons.
The US struggled in friendlies after the World Cup in 2018, but this team did swing for the fences with its opponents. The Stars and Stripes lost to England, Italy, Colombia, and Brazil, and the only loss that was close was against Italy. The US did get a draw against Peru and a win over Mexico, and their results improved when they started playing lesser teams. Panama and Costa Rica both made the 2018 Word Cup, and the US beat them 3-0 and 2-0.
Since the conclusion of the World Cup, Ecuador has played with fire. The Tricolor lost their last four COMNEBOL Qualifying games to fail to make it out of South America, but they won every game they played in the Americas in 2018. Qatar knocked off Jamaica, Guatemala, and Peru by a score line of 2-0 each, and they outlasted Panama 2-1 in late November.
Ecuador Player to Watch
Enner Valencia might be the best player on Ecuador at this point. While Antonio Valencia has a lot of name recognition, he is past his prime and has sat out a lot with injuries this season. Meanwhile, Ennar Valencia has looked fantastic for Liga MX side Tigres UANL. He has been a consistent goal scoring threat, and he came up big in the CONCACAF Champions League. Two of the other forwards on the roster have yet to register a cap, and the only other Ecuador player with experience up front is Angel Mena with nine caps. Valencia has more goals than the rest of the team combined with 27 goals in 46 games on the national team.
United States Player to Watch
Jordan Morris is one of the youngsters that the USMNT is counting on to develop in the near future. The Stars and Stripes have big holes up front with Clint Dempsey retiring, and another homegrown product would give the club a further boost. Morris was lost for all of 2018 after tearing his ACL in February, but he has three goals in three games since his return to Seattle. He has five goals overall in 25 games with the USMNT.
United States vs Ecuador Free Picks
Going all out to win no matter what is not the point. These friendlies are all about building for the future, and I think we see a lively one here. Look for the over to cash in early.
United States vs Ecuador Prediction: United States 2, Ecuador 2
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