Lewis strike gives U.S. win over Ecuador
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama, March 10 (Reuters) -
Eddie Lewis netted his first goal in more than two years to give the United States a 1-0 win over Ecuador in a World Cup warm-up on Sunday.
The Fulham midfielder's third international goal came on 21 minutes when he took a pass from Clint Mathis and curled in a sweetly struck shot.
The U.S. played the final 32 minutes with 10 men after Mathis was sent off after receiving his second yellow card in a game marred by physical play.
Ecuador's best chance fell to Carlos Tenorio in the first half but debutant goalkeeper Tim Howard saved his close-range effort.
Lewis, who has hardly played for his club side in the last 18 months, boosted his chances at a World Cup spot with the goal.
``This game had the look and smell of a World Cup qualifier,'' U.S. coach Bruce Arena said of the foul-laden match.
``We got more out of this game than we did we did in last week's game (a 4-0 win over Honduras),'' Arena said. ``That red card really showed our maturity as the guys were able to kill the game off.''
The United States overcame some sluggish play early on to open the scoring in the 21st minute through Lewis who has been a regular fixture in the U.S. line-up after rarely seeing time during qualification.
Cobi Jones, appearing in his 151st international, swung a cross toward the left corner where Mathis cut the ball back to Lewis who curled a left-footed shot to the left corner from 20 metres.
Lewis' strike, his third overall and first in more than two years, marked the first for the U.S. against Ecuador since 1984. The Americans have only beaten Ecuador once in nine chances (1-4-4).
Ecuador had only a couple of real chances in the half and failed to muster a shot over the final 45 minutes as the U.S. enjoyed the brunt of the run of play while the South Americans employed a more counter-attacking style.
``It was a fair result,'' said Lewis. ``I don't think either team played that great, but considering our circumstances that we had to play with 10 men, you have to be happy.
``A few tackles either way and it could have been eight against eight,'' Lewis said of the match that had 36 fouls six cautions handed out.