Enner Valencia - Ecuador - October 2014
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Ecuador: Copa America Centenario Team Guide

La Tri are as solid and unassuming as it comes, but don't be fooled. They have enough ability to achieve great things, as evidenced by their perfect start to CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying this time around. The current squad is highly experienced, well-balanced and contains just enough offense to help their strong defense win games.

3 Stars

  • Antonio Valencia (Manchester United/England) – He's missed much of this season due to an ankle injury, but should be fully fit come spring. Valencia brings a wealth of high-level experience, but often underwhelms for Ecuador at big tournaments. He is strong on both sides of the ball, dribbles very well and is a possession ace out wide.
  • Jefferson Montero (Swansea City/England) – The left winger can run at defenders all day, but is now finally providing regular end product for Ecuador. He has two goals and four assists in his last 11 appearances.
  • Enner Valencia (West Ham/England) – His overall game can be a bit clunky, so he seems likely to come off the bench as a late game nuisance. He can dribble and shoot from distance, and like Caicedo, will drop back to get dirty to win the ball back. It's worth nothing that he has nine goals and two helpers in his last seven games against CONCACAF foes.

Manager

Gustavo Quinteros – Born in Argentina, Quinteros would eventually earn 26 international caps as a defender for Bolivia, including being selected for the squad that qualified to the 1994 World Cup. His first coaching job came back in Argentina with San Lorenzo in 2003, but he would soon return to Bolivia, where he won three league titles and four domestic cups with four clubs before taking the national team reins in 2010. He won just two of 14 matches before resigning two years later.

After leading Emelec to a couple of Ecuadorean titles, Quinteros became Ecuador manager in the spring of 2015 and ended the year with a six-game win streak that included victories away to Argentina and Mexico.

Copa America Group B Schedule

June 4 vs. Brazil (10 pm ET, Rose Bowl – Pasadena, Ca.)
June 8 vs. Peru (10 pm ET, University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, Az.)
June 12 vs. Haiti (6:30 pm ET, MetLife Stadium - East Rutherford, NJ.)
Full schedule

Copa America Squad

Goalkeepers (3): Maximo Banguera, Alexander Dominguez, Esteban Dreer
Defenders (7): Gabriel Achiller, Robert Arboleda, Walter Ayovi, Frickson Erazo, Arturo Mina, Juan Carlos Paredes, Cristian Ramirez
Midfielders (9): Michael Arroyo, Fernando Gaibor, Carlos Gruezo, Pedro Larrea, Fidel Martinez, Angel Mena, Jefferson Montero, Christian Noboa, Antonio Valencia
Forwards (4): Jamie Ayovi, Miller Bolaños, Juan Cazares, Enner Valencia

Starting XI (4-4-2)

  • GK: Alexander Dominguez (LDU Quito)
  • RB: Juan Carlos Paredes (Watford)
  • CB: Gabriel Achilier (Emelec)
  • CB: Frickson Erazo (Atletico Mineiro)
  • LB: Walter Ayovi (Monterrey)
  • DM: Pedro Quinonez (Emelec)
  • DM: Christian Noboa (FK Rostov)
  • RM: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
  • LM: Jefferson Montero (Swansea City)
  • FW: Miler Bolanos (Gremio)
  • FW: Enner Valencia (West Ham United)

Style of play

Ecuador has traditionally featured a somewhat dry style that revolved around the physical prowess of players, but Quinteros prefers to use their athletic ability for high pressure in order to unleash counters. Many underdog nations lean on that attacking strategy out of necessity, but this manager actually springs it like a trap. They will try to entice foes forward, halt the rushes just across midfield and catch the opposing defense on its heels.

How they qualified

Automatically qualified as one of 10 South American nations.

Copa America history

Ecuador are one of two CONMEBOL teams never to have won the tourney. In fact, they've never reached the championship match, with their only semifinal appearance coming in 1993. Even worse, they've been eliminated in the group phase six straight times (1999-2015).

Memorable moments

La Tri are one of two CONMEBOL teams never to have won a Copa America, with their best showing being a fourth-place finish in 1993 and a quarterfinal qualification in 1997. The best of their three World Cup adventures ended with a tough Round-of-16 loss to England in 2006.

United States vs Ecuador

Matches US Wins US Losses Draws
Overall 2 5 5
Official Competitions 0 3 1
Friendlies 2 2 4

MLS Connections

The recent FC Dallas capture of Carlos Gruezo doubled the amount of players out of Ecuador on active league rosters. The other, Real Salt Lake attacker Joao Plata, will be hoping to bounce back from a tough 2015 campaign. The most successful Ecuadorian of the dozen to have worked in MLS is Ariel Graziani, who twice led the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas) in scoring and also matched the feat once with San Jose. The country also put one sideline boss in MLS, with Octavio Zambrano managing two of the most explosive attacking teams in league history the 1998 LA Galaxy and 2001 MetroStars.

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