Ecuador and Chile will both be mixing veterans with intriguing youth when they take on the U.S. men's national team in a pair of friendlies during the March international window.
Ecuador and Chile will both be mixing veterans with lesser-experienced players when they take on the U.S. men's national team in a pair of friendlies during the March international window.
Ecuador faces the USA first, when they clash Thursday in Orlando, Fla., while Chile will meet the USA next Tuesday in Houston. All three are preparing for summers filled with official competition, with the U.S. out to defend its Gold Cup title, while two-time-reigning champion Chile and Ecuador will take part in Copa America. All three have another key common denominator: they all missed out on quailfying for the 2018 World Cup. As a result, they're all in some sort of rebuild mode, featuring newly hired managers and a transition period from the old guard to the new.
Here's who the USA's competition will be bringing to their friendlies:
La Tricolor was set to have Enner Valencia lead the line, but a back injury has ruled the Tigres veteran out of action, perhaps creating an opening for rising star Leonardo Campana, who led all scorers in helping Ecuador win the South American U-20 championship for the first time earlier this year. In terms of the more experienced senior players, Antonio Valencia, will be part of Hernan Dario Gomez's side, along with three MLS-based players. Here is his squad in full (with Barcelona referring to the Ecuadorian club, not the one leading La Liga):
Goalkeepers: Máximo Banguera (Barcelona), Alexander Domínguez (Vélez Sarfield), Pedro Ortiz (Delfín)
Defenders: Christian Ramírez (Krasnodar), Jacson Porozo (Santos), Juan Carlos Paredes (Emelec), Angelo Preciado (Independiente del Valle), Gabriel Achilier (Morelia), Robert Arboleda (Sao Paulo), Xavier Arreaga (Barcelona), Beder Caicedo (Barcelona)
Midfielders: Jefferson Intriago (Liga de Quito), Renato Ibarra (América), Jefferson Orejuela (Liga de Quito), Jhegson Méndez (Orlando City), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Carlos Gruezo (FC Dallas), Christian Noboa (Zenit), Romario Ibarra (Minnesota United)
Forwards: Leonardo Campana (Barcelona), Jhojan Julio (Liga de Quito), Ángel Mena (León)
There's no room for Alexis Sanchez or Eduardo Vargas–two of the top three scores in Chilean history–but veterans Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz, Gary Medel and Mauricio Isla are among the title-winning players set to feature for La Roja. It's a largely Mexico- and South America-based contingent, with MLS's Diego Rubio making the cut among the forwards. Here's who Reinaldo Rueda will be bringing to the U.S. (with Barcelona here referring to the Spanish club):
Goalkeepers: Gabriel Arias (Racing), Brayan Cortés (Colo Colo), Lawrence Vigouroux (Swindon Town)
Defenders: Paulo Díaz (Al-Ahli), Gonzalo Jara (Estudiantes de La Plata), Mauricio Isla (Fenerbahce), Eugenio Mena (Racing), Sebastián Vegas (Monarcas Morelia), Guillermo Maripán (Deportivo Alavés), Igor Lichnovsky (Cruz Azul), Óscar Opazo (Colo Colo)
Midfielders: Charles Aránguiz (Bayer Leverkusen), Pedro Pablo Hernández (Independiente), Jimmy Martínez (Universidad de Chile), Gary Medel (Besiktas), Arturo Vidal (Barcelona), Erick Pulgar (Bologna), Esteban Pavez (Colo Colo), Diego Valdés (Santos Laguna)
Forwards: Nicolas Castillo (América), Jean Meneses (León), Felipe Mora (Pumas UNAM), Iván Morales (Colo Colo), Diego Rubio (Colorado Rapids)