According to the coach and players, tonight’s football game with the U.S. is one of the biggest football games in Ecuador team history. It is the first time the team has reached the quarterfinal round in Copa play in 23 years and it is the first time it has played the U.S. in a game with major significance.
“This is a chance for us to break through to a higher level of competition,” says Ecuador coach Gustavo Quinteros. “It’s a chance to turn around our recent negative history. And of course, we have the opportunity to defeat the host team in the tournament on its own field.”
Following ties with Brazil and Peru in the first round of Copa America, Ecuador dominated under-manned Haiti 4-0 last week, to finish second in their group. The U.S. finished first in its group under German coach Jurgen Klinesmann. According to analysts, it is the best U.S. team in the program’s history.
Ecuador is led by West Ham (England) striker Enner Valencia, who scored a goal against Haiti and set up a second, and goalie Alexander Domínguez, who made several spectacular stops in the first three games of Copa play. Both Valencia and Domínguez are from Esmeraldas.
Ecuador and the U.S. kick off tonight at 8:30 Ecuador time at Seattles’ CenturyLink Field.
Probable starting lineup for Ecuador: Alexander Domínguez; Juan Carlos Paredes, Arturo Mina, Frickson Erazo, Walter Ayoví; Antonio Valencia, Carlos Gruezo, Christian Noboa, Enner Valencia; Jefferson Montero and Jaime Ayoví. Coach: Gustavo Quinteros.
Probable starting lineup for the Estados Unidos: Brad Guzan; Michael Orozco, Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Fabian Johnson; Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya; Bobby Wood, Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes. Coach: Jürgen Klinsmann.