Ecuador routs Chile 3-0 at wet Citi Field

BY foxsports • August 16, 2012

Ecuador made it impossible to tell which was the higher-ranked team in its rout of South American rival Chile on Wednesday night.

Looking more like the continental leader in World Cup qualifying, 20th-ranked Ecuador manhandled No. 15 Chile 3-0, getting goals by Narciso Mina, Jaime Ayovi and Jefferson Montero. Using four attackers for much of the match, the Ecuadorians toyed with Chile, which showed plenty of muscle when it advanced to the second round of the 2010 World Cup.

''It was a great opponent that we faced, which gave us great motivation,'' Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda said. ''It was a strong commitment that we had in a very important game against a Chile team that's leading the qualifiers.''

It was the third ''futbol'' match at Citi Field, home of the Mets, and certainly the wettest. The elements reduced the crowd to 31,901 soaked soccer aficionados whose enthusiasm wasn't dampened by the pounding rain that lasted through the first half.

The fans tooted their horns and chanted for their nations throughout in what seemed like a home game for Ecuador. More than 100,000 Ecuadorians live in Queens, the most in any county in the United States.

''It's very rewarding to play before so many fans who are rooting for us,'' Rueda said.

Chile found its footing in the second half once the rain stopped. Yet it was Ecuador, fourth in qualifying, that got the clincher on a strange goal by the night's most impressive player.

A long goal kick bounced hard on the watery turf and over Chile's defenders to Montero, who had come close to scoring several times. He simply headed the ball over charging goalkeeper Miguel Angel Pinto in the 67th minute.

Things got chippy after that, with players shoving and arguing, and a stream of yellow cards were handed out by referee Terry Vaughn. In all, Vaughn handed out six cautions.

A friendly indeed.

Chile, playing without Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal (groin) and standout goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, was kept off-stride by its South American rival's offensive aggressiveness. That strategy paid off twice in a span of just over four minutes, with Antonio Valencia the catalyst both times.

Valencia penetrated on right wing and sent a pass to the middle of the penalty area, where Mina was in position to send it home in the 10th minute.

Ecuador kept coming, and Valencia again made a perfect pass to Ayovi, whose low skidder from 20 yards beat goalkeeper Pinto to his right.

''Valencia showed the strengths of his game tonight,'' Rueda said.

As the rain slackened midway through the half, Ecuador's attack didn't. Finding loads of space in the outfield grass, Montero and Ayovi came close to making it a three-goal lead. Montero's speed on left wing and Ayovi's footwork belied the slippery conditions, and both tested Pinto in Chile's net. Pinto was fortunate to get a hand on Ayovi's low left-footed drive in the 30th minute - the ball was past him when he tipped it out of bounds.

Ayovi has displayed his scoring touch in the United States before, getting the only goal for Ecuador in a 1-0 win over the Americans at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey last October.

Chile's best threat came three minutes later during a scramble. Alexander Dominguez made a sprawling save, but allowed a sloppy rebound. Chile couldn't convert, though, as Humberto Suazo was whistled for being in Dominguez's way at the goal line.

Just before halftime, Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez drew a yellow card for dissent, a fitting ending to a frustrating 45 minutes for the Chileans. They didn't look anything like the squad that advanced to the second round of the 2010 World Cup.

''Give much credit to the Ecuador team,'' Chile coach Claudio Borghi said. ''Ecuador was the better team tonight.''

Borghi noted how tough it can be to not have all of the regular players for the national team. But he said he's confident Chile will recover in time for its next match, a home qualifier against Colombia.

''No question, it is more difficult without the full national team,'' he said. ''But you have the opportunity to look at many players, too.''

Ecuador plays at home against Bolivia in its next World Cup qualifier.

''The team was loose, they were confident,'' Rueda said. ''I hope we can repeat this performance when it's worth three points.''


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