Mexico, Ecuador play to 1-1 draw at Qwest Field
Despite consistent offensive pressure, Mexico settled for a 1-1 draw that felt more like a defeat considering a 14-2 disparity in shots.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The vuvuzela-playing fans started early and provided an ear-splitting soundtrack during Saturday's exhibition soccer match between Mexico and Ecuador.
The sound from the noisemakers made famous at the 2010 World Cup rose several decibels when Mexico scored early and appeared headed for a blowout. It was a promising start for El Tri and the pro-Mexico crowd of 50,305 fans who bathed in the afternoon sun at Qwest Field.
However, the good vibes subsided when Ecuador countered with a goal just before the break. Despite consistent offensive pressure, Mexico settled for a 1-1 draw that felt more like a defeat considering a 14-2 disparity in shots.
"When a team defends well, there is very little space and with that there were going to be few opportunities," said Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre. "We had to be more effective and we had to convert.
"We had a few of those opportunities, but could not convert them to goals."
Mexico took control early when Aldo de Nigris booted a corner kick from the left post toward the net. In the scramble, defender Jorge Torres Nilo used his left foot to deflect an assist from Hector Moreno past goalkeeper Maximo Banguera.
"That play just kind of presented itself," Torres Nilo said. "All I did was just push it in."
Ecuador countered with a brilliant blast from midfielder Michael Arroyo from just outside the penalty box that powered low and to the right past a diving goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in the 37th minute.
The solo strike was the last shot from Ecuador, which failed to mount any effective offense in the second half.
"It's difficult when you don't have a lot of action," Ochoa said. "They made a great shot. Great goal. It's just part of the game."
Mexico's fans grew antsy in the second half, and their team made a frantic push in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
Forwards Giovani dos Santos and de Nigris broke free near the net, but their short shots sailed high.
Neither team was pleased with the draw, but then winning wasn't the No. 1 goal in this friendly in which no one received a yellow card. Opposing players were cordial to each other, and both teams used the game as a tuneup for upcoming competitions.
Ecuador has two exhibitions before the Copa America that starts July 1 in Argentina.
Mexico (2-0-2) remained undefeated on its North American tour and the team has one exhibition remaining before the CONCACAF Gold Cup that begins June 5 in Arlington, Texas.
"What we are really looking for is the Gold Cup," Torres Nilo said.
Perhaps the true winners Saturday were the fans. Many wore gigantic sombreros, while Mexico's green, white and red flag decorated the stadium.
"It's just a feeling of great satisfaction to come here and have people from your country following you and your career out of the country," Torres Nilo said. "I feel so much pride when I do that and I also am really thankful. I want to say thank you to the fans for the support they give us."
It was Mexico's second visit to Seattle since a 1-0 win over China in 2008.
"The first time we were here with the Mexican national team it was a bit of a gamble and a little bit of an unknown if a game would be successful here," said Soccer United Marketing spokesman Gabriel Gabor. "This time we knew it would be a successful event.
"To bring in 50,000-plus fans is fantastic considering we were wedged between a Champions League final in the morning and a Mariners-Yankees game right across the street in the evening."
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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