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New-look U.S. men's soccer team beats Ecuador

By Alex Butler
New-look U.S. men's soccer team beats Ecuador
USMNT forward Gyasi Zardes scored off a deflection for the only goal in a win against Ecuador Thursday in Orlando, Fla. Photo by Stanley Gontha/EPA

March 22 (UPI) -- The United States Men's National Team used a new lineup combination, including several young players, to beat Ecuador 1-0 in a friendly in Orlando.

New coach Gregg Berhalter is now victorious in each of his first three matches after picking up the victory Thursday at Orlando City Stadium. Thursday's starters featured Sean Johnson, John Brooks, Wil Trapp, Paul Arriola, Weston McKennie, Gyasi Zardes, Christian Pulisic, Jordan Morris, Tim Ream, Tyler Adams and Aaron Long.

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The average age of the lineup was 25 years old. Berhalter put Pulisic, Adams and McKennie in the starting lineup together for the first time ever.

While the team's attack wasn't pretty, the defense limited Ecuador to just one shot, which was off-target. The USMNT had two of its five shots on goal.

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Zardes scored the game-winner in the 81st minute, but needed a bit of luck. The 27-year-old striker dribbled outside the box during the sequence before blasting a 25-yard shot. The rip deflected off a defender and went very high, before falling back down toward the middle of the goal.

Ecuador keeper Alexander Dominguez attempted to save the shot, but the ball went behind him and fell into the net.

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"This whole week of training we crammed in a bunch of information in a short amount of time," Zardes said. "I knew if I stayed patient, my teammates would provide the ball to me. I'm thankful for the opportunity to represent my country and it was a good win."

"I feel like we had control of the game the majority of the game and we just keep progressing as we move forward."

The USMNT has another friendly against Chile at 7:55 p.m. Tuesday at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.

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