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Gyasi Zardes scored on deflected shot in the second half to give the United States a 1-0 win over Ecuador on Thursday.
Ecuador's South American Under-20 Championships triumph was a joy to watch. But will that translate to success at a senior level?
The U.S. men's national team will play Ecuador in an exhibition on March 21 at Orlando City Stadium.
Six teams remain as the South American U20 Championships resume with perennial powerhouses Brazil and Argentina in unusual positions.
The Ecuador Football Federation (FEF) has suspended five national team players indefinitely for indiscipline.
Argentina conceded after just 37 seconds in their must-win game against Ecuador -- but Lionel Messi came to the rescue.
La Albiceleste have won just two of six World Cup qualifiers held in Ecuador and once since the current format began in 1996.
Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho put aside speculation about his club future to help Brazil beat Ecuador 2-0.
After solid starts in World Cup qualifying, Ecuador and Uruguay are reeling at the wrong time, with matches against South America's Big 2 on Thursday.
In CONMEBOL friendly action on Thursday, Ecuador and Venezuela played to a 1-1 draw, while Peru beat 10-man Paraguay 1-0.
With the exception of Brazil, this would seem to be South America's poorest collection of World Cup qualifying teams for several campaigns.
A Paulinho hat trick helped Brazil to a 4-1 victory over Uruguay in a clash of the top two teams in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying on Thursday.
As ever, the level of competition in South America will ensure that the World Cup qualifying campaign will go all the way down to the wire.
CONMEBOL qualifying is arguably as tough as it gets but teams are thoroughly prepared for the World Cup. Changing the format could be a hindrance.
With very few Ecuadorians playing in Europe, Antonio Valencia continues to thrive at Manchester United and set the standard for Ecuadorians abroad.
James Rodriguez said Ecuador will be easy to beat in South American qualifying. Ecuador's coach, however, has issued the Real Madrid winger a warning.
Argentina vs. Brazil is the headliner but Colombia vs. Chile and Uruguay vs. Ecuador are other appetising matchups in round 11 of CONMEBOL qualifying.