FRISCO, Texas -- Darlington Nagbe scored his first international goal on a 90th-minute volley, and the United States beat Ecuador 1-0 in a Copa America tuneup on Wednesday night.
The U.S. defeated a South American team for just the third time in 21 tries (14 losses, 4 draws) since a March 2007 victory over Ecuador.
After a listless first half, the U.S. attack improved with the entry of Nagbe and Bobby Wood after the break and 17-year-old Christian Pulisic in the 63rd minute.
The goal developed after Alejandro Bedoya dribbled down the right flank and cut the ball back to DeAndre Yedlin. He beat a defender and crossed into the penalty area, where Juan Carlos Paredes at the six-yard box tried to clear with a header.
Wood outjumped Robert Arboleda not far from the penalty spot and headed a pass to Nagbe. The 25-year-old midfielder chested the ball and, while falling, volleyed a right-footed shot from about eight yards past Esteban Dreer, who replaced injured starter Alexander Dominguez when the second half began.
Nagbe was making his fifth international appearance. Born in Liberia, he made his debut in November shortly after becoming a U.S. citizen.
The Americans face Bolivia on Saturday in an exhibition at Kansas City, Kansas, in their final warmup, then open the Copa America against fourth-ranked Colombia on June 3 at Santa Clara, California.
Before the goal, the best chances were wasted. Dempsey sent Gyasi Zardes clear midway through the first half, but Zardes took too a hard touch and allowed Dominguez to get to the ball. In the second half, Bedoya was just wide from a sharp angle off a cross from Graham Zusi, who had run to the endline.
Dempsey, who grew up in the East Texas town of Nacogdoches but trained in the Dallas area as a youth, didn't have many other chances on the same field where he scored twice in a CONCACAF Gold Cup-opening win over Honduras last July.
American goalkeeper Brad Guzan, starting ahead of Tim Howard, was rarely tested by Ecuador, which was missing Antonio Valencia following last weekend's FA Cup final and left back Walter Ayovi, who is with Monterrey for a Liga MX playoff final game at Pachuca on Thursday.
After Sunday's 3-1 win at Puerto Rico, the U.S. starting lineup turned over with the addition of seven players who had been with their Major League Soccer teams last weekend: central defender Steve Birnbaum, midfielders Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley and Zusi, and Dempsey and Zardes in the attack.
In addition, Fabian Johnson played the entire match at left back after recovering from a groin injury, his first game action since April 24 with Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
With Geoff Cameron nursing an injured groin sustained in Stoke's season finale on May 15, Birnbaum was paired in the center of the defense with John Brooks.
Ecuador opens the Copa America against Brazil on June 4 at Pasadena, California.