Jurgen Klinsmann recently received his first victory as the head coach of the U.S. men's national team, and the famed German star will look to build off that success when his squad host Ecuador at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey on Tuesday.
The U.S. defeated a very weak Honduras side on Saturday, 1-0, but this time will face a tougher squad in Ecuador.
Led by Manchester United star winger Antonio Valencia, Ecuador is capable of surprising the U.S. Though Valencia has performed better with the Red Devils than for his home country, the presence of often-injured Valencia will be a boost to Ecuador's confidence, and there are players around him that are capable of performing at a higher level.
Head coach Reinaldo Rueda has a pair of young stars in winger Jefferson Montero, 22, who plays for Real Betis, and 23-year-old forward Jaime Ayovi, who plays for Pachuca. Rueda will need both players to be in form if he expects at least a draw.
Ecuador also has two solid veteran players in 32-year-olds Edison Mendez, a midfielder, and left back Walter Ayovi, who is also the squad's captain.
Rueda, who is on the hot seat to hold onto his job, might have some confidence going into the match as the U.S. has not performed well in Klinsmann's short time as head coach. Meanwhile, there is a rather large Ecuadorian community in the New York area, so there might be some energy on Ecuador's side on Tuesday night in what should be pleasant weather conditions.
Klinsmann is still tinkering with the U.S. lineup as World Cup qualifying is still months away, and the World Cup is several years away.
The U.S. will be without midfielders Landon Donovan and Stuart Holden, but will still have attacking midfielder Clint Dempsey in the starting 11, along with playmaker Michael Bradley. Veteran Tim Howard will be in goal, and Klinsmann will also have Glasgow Rangers' defensive midfielder Maurice Edu in uniform.
Forwards Jozy Altidore and Juan Agudelo will also be in the lineup, as the U.S. continues to search for a superstar goal scorer. There really hasn't been a truly productive striker for the Red, White, and Blue since the retirement of Brian McBride.
Two players for fans to keep an eye on are Danny Williams and Oguchi Onyewu. Williams, 22, is a German-born defensive midfielder who has shown promise at 1899 Hoffenheim in the Bundelisga. Onyewu, considered perhaps the best centre back in American history, appears to have battled back from an injury-plagued stretch and is near his previous form.
Klinsmann will be looking to see some cohesion with this group of players. Though the new head coach has several players unavailable that certainly fit into his future plans, there is still a great deal of importance being placed on strengthening the Yanks' depth, and the only way to understand how good these players are is to play them.