The United States will begin their Copa America Centenario preparations in earnest tonight with a friendly against Ecuador, a fellow Copa participant. The USMNT just played a friendly over the weekend, but the circumstances - a significantly different roster for the Americans, and an opponent stocked with more than a few amateurs - were radically different. Tonight in Texas, the US will face a stiff challenge.
La Tricolor may not take the field with a bunch of big name players, but they're more than getting the job done right now. Ecuador sits in second place in CONMEBOL's World Cup qualifying table, and that run includes wins over Uruguay and Argentina (with the latter coming in Buenos Aires). While they may lack stars, they do have some names US fans will recognize. Antonio Valencia, Enner Valencia, and Jefferson Montero are all Premier League players, while frequent MLS watchers will note the presence of FC Dallas holding midfielder Carlos Gruezo and former Chivas USA attacker Miler Bolanos.
The US, meanwhile, has moved on from the odd roster they set up for the friendly against Puerto Rico, and will be using their Copa roster. Well, save one player: Timmy Chandler was injured in Eintracht Frankfurt's relegation playoff, and will be replaced tonight by FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta. Why replace a fullback with a midfielder? Well, because the only people on earth who seem to think of Acosta as a fullback happen to run our national team program. Hooray!
In any case, this game should give us a good idea of how Klinsmann plans to deal with Colombia in the USMNT"s opening game in Group A. Coping with Ecuador's speed and trying to shut down Felipe Caicedo - currently tied atop CONMEBOL's scoring table in qualifying - will be a solid warm-up for what is going to be a challenging Copa group.
Location: Toyota Stadium (Frisco, TX)
Kick-off time: 8:00pm Eastern
Available TV: ESPN2 (English), UniMas (Spanish), Univision Deportes (Spanish)
Available streaming: WatchESPN (English), Univision Deportes app (Spanish)
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
Treat this as tonight's gamethread.