Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Nagbe's late goal lifts US

Published:Friday | May 27, 2016 | 5:00 AM
US midfielder Darlington Nagbe (left) takes a shot and scores in front of Ecuador’s Christian Ramirez (5) during the second half of an exhibition match on Wednesday in Frisco, Texas. The United States won 1-0.

FRISCO, Texas (AP):

Darlington Nagbe's first international goal was a lift for the United States in their next-to-last tune-up before hosting next month's Copa America.

Nagbe scored on a 90th-minute volley, and the United States beat Ecuador 1-0 in an exhibition Wednesday night for just their third win in 21 games against South American teams over the past nine years. The US had 14 losses and four draws in that span.

Born in Liberia, Nagbe was making his fifth international appearance following his debut in November, made shortly after he became a US citizen.

"It gives you a lot of confidence," Nagbe said. "To come out here and have a little bit of the ball and create some chances and get a goal and get the win, it's good."

The Americans face Bolivia tomorrow in an exhibition at Kansas City, Kansas, then open the tournament against fourth-ranked Colombia on June 3 at Santa Clara, California.

LISTLESS FIRST HALF

After a listless first half, the US attack improved with the entry of Nagbe and Bobby Wood after the break and of 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 metres past Esteban Dreer, who replaced injured starter Alexander Dominguez when the second half began.

"It says that Darlington understands the moment in time," said US coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "He knows that he has to push the envelope. He knows that he's a couple of years late for us because he couldn't play before that. So he's not a youngster anymore."