Super-subs Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic shine for the U.S.
In what proved to be a relatively low-energy warm-up friendly for the Copa America, the United States got a late goal from substitute Darlington Nagbe to beat Ecuador 1-0 in Frisco, Texas.
The first half was mostly controlled by the visitors, though Ecuador never turned their advantage into real threats on goal.
The second half belonged to the U.S., thanks to a couple of substitutions that not only gave the Americans energy, but provided some tactical advantages they lacked with the starting lineup.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Brad Guzan, 7.5 -- Despite Ecuador controlling the game in the first half, Guzan didn't face much action. The Aston Villa keeper was not required to make a save all day, with his work limited to a few decisions to come out early.
DF Fabian Johnson, 7 -- Limited to a mostly defensive day until the match opened up towards the last 30 minutes. Johnson was good in possession, defended well, but missed out on a few chances to be involved in the attack.
DF Steve Birnbaum, 7 -- Birnbaum showed significant nerves in the early throes of the match, but improved mightily as the game went along. He mis-measured a few passes, but was at least trying to keep the ball on the deck. Disrupted Enner Valencia with time running down to save the win.
DF John Brooks, 7 -- For every good action, Brooks made a simple mistake or questionable decision, especially in the first half. Intervened with late challenges more than once, however, that helped keep the clean sheet.
DF DeAndre Yedlin, 6.5 -- Battled with Jefferson Montero admirably in the first half, though he was beaten a handful of times. The 22-year-old was caught upfield a few times and had to be bailed out by midfielders behind him. Had a good moment or two going forward.
MF Kyle Beckerman, 5 -- Part of a very ineffective midfield that had trouble pushing the ball through the middle. Made a few critical interventions, otherwise pedestrian at best.
MF Michael Bradley, 6 -- Struggled to control play and help keep possession in the first half. Bradley was better after half-time when substitutions pushed him deeper. Connected well with Nagbe especially moving the ball from back to front.
MF Jermaine Jones, 5.5 -- Jones will share a lot of the blame for the dysfunctional dynamic in the channel he manned in front of Birnbaum, but did manage to provide some crucial interventions. Picked up a professional yellow covering for Yedlin.
FW Gyasi Zardes, 4 -- It was another night of bad touches and questionable decisions for the LA Galaxy forward. Zardes wasted the one good chance the U.S. created in the first half.
FW Clint Dempsey, 5.5 -- Deuce hardly touched the ball in the first half as the U.S. struggled to function in possession. Dropped deep to try and gain some influence, but was unable to bring much to the table.
FW Graham Zusi, 5 -- Did nothing particularly noteworthy other than a run late in the that resulted in a ball across the face of goal. Turned the ball over too often.
FW Bobby Wood, 8 -- Provided an outlet that was clearly lacking in the first half. Worked tirelessly to make runs and push the ball towards the Ecuador goal. Set up Nagbe for the American winner with a header in the box.
MF Darlington Nagbe, 8 -- Made a night-and-day difference in the midfield with his speed of thought and ability to play the ball into space quickly and with purpose. Nagbe scored the winning goal by hanging around the box, and he deserved it on balance.
MF Christian Pulisic, 7.5 -- The 17-year-old did not look out of his element in the slightest. Excellent on the ball, showed soccer smarts with his choices from a wide left position. Helped close out the game with excellent possession play.
MF Alejandro Bedoya, 6.5 -- Had a few nice moments in just under 30 minutes, though Bedoya did turn the ball over with simple mistakes at least twice. Improved the midfield with a willingness to work back to the ball.
DF Matt Besler, NR -- Besler handled himself well enough in a cameo, helping to see out the clean sheet and the victory. Professional job.
DF Michael Orozco NR -- Did not have enough time to make an impression as the Americans dealt with a few final Ecuadorian forays.
Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.