HARRISON, N.J. – The development of Tim Ream hit a snag on Tuesday night as the New York defender was burned playing soft defense on Ecuador’s goal in the United States' 1-0 loss in an international friendly at Red Bull Arena.
Ream was caught out of position in the 79th minute as Jaime Ayoví rose to meet a cross, powering a header past a helpless Tim Howard.
It was a difficult moment for Ream who, playing in his club team's home grounds, realized his mistake on the goal.
“I was watching the man and, as I looked back, I saw the ball coming and he was past me as soon as I took a step,” he said after the loss.
Tuesday's second-half appearance was Ream’s first for the US since Jurgen Klinsmann took over on July 29. But the 24-year-old admitted it wasn't his ideal debut under the new US head coach.
“You always have things to work on, and that’s something I need to work on,” Ream said of losing Ayoví on the winning goal. “The [international game] is being more physical, winning balls in the air and being able to see both things – more than one thing at one time.”
It has been a difficult year for Ream, whose has struggled at times during his second year in MLS. Most recently on Sept. 21, a poor back-pass to Red Bulls goalkeeper Frank Rost was intercepted by Real Salt Lake's Fabián Espíndola for the second goal in a 3-1 defeat.
“That’s the way that my year’s gone with club and country,” Ream said. “There’s not one thing that you can point to, it’s tough — but again, I have to turn around and have a game this weekend and get back to the grind.”
After Tuesday's loss, Ream was consoled by US captain Carlos Bocanegra, who spent several moments talking with him at midfield. Klinsmann showed confidence in Ream after the match, calling it a “learning moment” and that despite the gaffe, he’s still “on a good path."
“He’s one of the very promising center backs in this country and that’s why he’s in the squad," Klinsmann said. "He deserves to be in the squad and he’s extremely willing to learn. He’s a constant asker. He wants to know, ‘How do I get to the next level? What do I have to do?
"And we throw him in now in a moment like that because he needs to smell that level and get a taste of it and he needs to make minutes and minutes in order to learn to learn how to anticipate and how to get tin front of the other striker and to read the space. Even after the goal happened, he stayed focused and shook it off.”