The United States was able to avoid Brazil the five-time champion of the World Cup in the Copa America quarterfinals on Thursday, but their opponent Ecuador cannot be taken lightly.
Jurgen Klinsmann the U.S. National Team coach said Ecuador has a few special players, which is not surprising as the team is ranked No. 13 in the world.
Its biggest stars are Antonio Valencia who plays for Manchester United in the English Premier League, Enner Valencia with the EPL’s West Ham and Jefferson Montero with Swansea City, also in the EPL.
Even though Klinsmann calls Ecuador a strong opponent, he likes the chances of his squad to advance to the semifinals with a victory at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The U.S. is ranked No. 31 by FIFA in the world rankings.
In each of the three group stage matches to open Copa America, Klinsmann started the exact same lineup, which marked the first time in 86 years that the United States started the same 11 in three consecutive matches.
Despite being shutout by Colombia in the opening match of the tournament June 3, the U.S. team finished atop the table in Group A after defeating Costa Rica followed by Paraguay. Because of that, the U.S. sidestepped a match with the top club from Group B. That ended up being Peru after they eliminated Brazil with a 1-0 win on Sunday in an upset that was very controversial due to a blatant handball being missed by match officials.
The loss eliminated Brazil and on Tuesday, their coach Dunga was fired by the country’s football federation.
Klinsmann must make a change in the lineup for its match versus Ecuador. DeAndre Yedlin a defender was given two yellow cards against Paraguay that led to a red card and automatic suspension for this match.
Klinsmann is upset that Yedlin cannot play but he is not worried, as he knows that Yedlin’s replacement will do his job and protect the team’s goal.
Michael Orozco a veteran defender for the U.S. is the likely choice to fill in for Yedlin, but Klinsmann would not name who would play.
Orozco came in when Yedlin was given his second yellow and a red card and played 40 minutes helping keep the clean sheet for the U.S.
The U.S. team will face a tough match on Thursday. Odds makers have the match nearly even with Ecuador at +170 and the U.S. at +175.