Gyasi Zardes scored a quirky goal in the 81st minute as the United States' men's national soccer team defeated Ecuador 1-0 Thursday night in an international friendly in Orlando, Fla.
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who attended the nearby University of Central Florida, posted the shutout for the U.S., which won its third consecutive match since new coach Gregg Berhalter took over.
Zardes scored the lone goal after defender Tim Ream, wearing the captain's armband for the U.S. for the first time, intercepted an Ecuador clearing pass near midfield. Ream quickly passed to Zardes, who was alone in the center of the field about 35 yards from the goal.
Zardes dribbled the ball down the middle and unleashed a shot from about 25 yards that deflected off defender Robert Arboleda. The ball went high into the air and toward the net, forcing goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez to retreat to try to tip the ball over the crossbar. Instead, the ball went just over Dominguez's fingertips and skimmed off the bottom of the crossbar before falling just over the goal line.
Zardes, who has seven goals in international play, also scored the winner the last time the teams met in a 2-1 decision in the Copa America Centenario quarterfinals on June 16, 2016 in Seattle.
The U.S. dominated possession for most of the match but was unable to break through in the opening 80 minutes.
The U.S. had a chance to score in the 26th minute, as Weston McKennie and Zardes played give-and-go just outside the Ecuador 18-yard box. McKennie got the ball back and made a pass to Christian Pulisic in the penalty area. Pulisic flicked the ball onto an onrushing Paul Arriola, who shot from about a yard left of the penalty spot. Dominguez guessed wrong in diving to his left but was able to get a foot on the shot and knock it away.
The U.S. did put the ball in the back of the net in the 30th minute, but Jordan Morris was ruled offside before making a cross to the far post.
McKennie went off in the 68th minute with what team officials later termed a sprained left ankle.