Arroyo helps Ecuador tie Mexico 1-1
Michael Arroyo scored an unassisted goal in the 37th minute to help Ecuador tie Mexico 1-1 on Saturday in an exhibition game in front of 50,305 fans at Qwest Field.
Mexico opened the scoring in the seventh minute when Jorge Torres Nilo scored off a corner kick.
But Arroyo's solo effort pulled Ecuador even. Arroyo gained possession at midfield and went down the right side. He stopped 4 yards outside the box and to the right of the arc and fired a 22-yarder between two defenders and just beyond goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa's reach.
That was one of just two shots the Ecuador had for the entire game - both in the first half. Mexico fired 14 shots, seven in each half.
''When a team defends well, for instance, there is very (little) space, and with that, there were going to be few opportunities,'' Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre said. ''We had to be more effective, and we had to convert. We had a few of those opportunities, but we could not convert them into goals.''
The corner that led to Mexico's goal was set up when Aldo de Nigris' shot at the left post was slapped away by goalkeeper Maximo Banguera. Hector Moreno floated the ball across the penalty area, and Torres Nilo's shot from about 8 yards away in front of the far post flew into the back left corner.
''There were some surprising moments at the beginning of the game, especially that surprising goal, and we had to make it up,'' Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda said. ''Maybe the first few minutes, we were not focused on a set-piece play. On the second touch, we lost a mark and allowed a goal. Thankfully, we managed to tie the game and that gave us confidence and tranquility.''
But that was the only shot that got past Banguera. Mexico turned up the pressure during the final 20 minutes with three near goals - one wide right and two more that skimmed over the top.
Mexico is 2-0-2 on its five-game North American tour.
''It's good to have these preparation games,'' de la Torre said. ''We see how teams are playing, but more than anything, players need to be ready for any circumstances that show up on the field.''
Each team was missing one of its star players on Saturday, as Mexico's Javier Hernandez and Ecuador's Antonio Valencia both were with Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final in London. Manchester United lost to FC Barcelona, 3-1.
Mexico and Ecuador are in final preparations for upcoming international tournaments. Mexico is preparing to defend its CONCACAF Gold Cup title starting June 5 in Arlington, Texas. It has one more game remaining on its five-game North American tour, Wednesday in Denver against New Zealand.
Ecuador is gearing up for the Copa America that begins in early July in Argentina. It has two friendlies remaining prior to that, the first of which is against Canada on Wednesday in Toronto.
''There are things to be improved, and we will do that in the next few days as we prepare and train and practice for Copa America,'' Rueda said.