Ecuador beats Bolivia in Philadelphia setting sights on Copa America

Kendry Paez | Credit: Shanely Leonardini
Credit: Kendry Paez | Credit: Shanely Leonardini

Copa America preparations continue for the participating nations. Ecuador and Bolivia faced off once again to evaluate the changes needed before the start of the tournament. Ecuador wanted to turn the page from the defeat against Argentina over the weekend. Bolivia had similar plans, so Ecuador was the perfect rival to showcase what could be an ongoing squad for Copa America and World Cup qualifiers. Both nations will aim to improve their participation record in the most prestigious tournament for the region. 

Ecuador dominates from start to finish

Ecuador is known to have one of the most talented generations in recent years. The recent friendly matches against Italy and Guatemala suggested that the team needed more time to develop team chemistry. The main issue was finding the right players to take over icons like Enner Valencia and Pervis Estupiñan.

Enner Valencia | Credit : Shanely Leonardini
Enner Valencia | Credit : Shanely Leonardini

Unfortunately, the team still doesn’t have a clear solution to the issue, but the game against Bolivia could have provided glimpses of hope for the immediate future. Enner Valencia and Angel would put on a show and prove why they are two of the best players on the national team at the moment. Their performance during the first half ensured that class was permanent. Angel Mena turned back the clock and was key down the wings. He made the run that opened up the score. Enner Valencia scored against Bolivia once again after Mena’s cross found him unmarked. Ecuador’s all-time top goal scorer continues to increase his legacy in the History Books.

Scoring first always allows you to have control of the match. Ecuador rarely found any challenges after going up in the scoreboard, so it allowed Jose Cifuentes and Layan Loor to get involved in the attack build-up. Loor dayviewed with the National team against Bolivia and put in an impressive performance despite having his first minutes with the squad. If he gets to have minutes in the upcoming match against Honduras, the left-back position could be covered for Copa America.

Ecuador beat Bolivia in Subaru Park | Credit: Shanely Leonardini
Credit: Ecuador beat Bolivia in Subaru Park | Credit: Shanely Leonardini

In addition, John Yeboah also saw his streak with the national team continue. The striker was able to score yet again and continues to make his case for future national team call-ups. His shot from outside the box in the 25th minute settled the match for Ecuador earlier than expected. By the second half, the purpose of the game had been fulfilled. The experience side of the team was up and running, but can the team get on the same page in time for the first game against Venezuela?

The second 45 minutes saw a far more aggressive Bolivian side, but having a new manager and getting a playing style settled didn’t favor their intentions to counter the result. Ecuador continued to test out their squad, including Kendry Paez and Moises Caicedo. Both players will probably be the starters for Ecuador, but as I said on previous occasions, chemistry build-up is important.

However, Moises Caicedo proved why he is regarded as one of the top talents in Europe right now despite Chelsea’s unlucky season in the Premier League. His dribbles broke Bolivia’s midfield constantly and also got a few Bolivian players booked due to harsh fouls against him. Ecuador would settle the game in the 70th minute after a penalty shot by Jordy Caicedo found the back of the net. There was no action seen by Leverkusen’s Hincapie, but I assure you he will be one of Ecuador’s secret weapons during Copa America.

Angel Mena dribbles past a defender | Credit: Shanely Leonardini
Angel Mena dribbles past a defender | Credit: Shanely Leonardini

Bolivia has an uphill battle and a race against time if it wants to find a formula to help it compete. I believe that Marcelo Martin’s retirement has taken a toll on a Bolivian side that could probably use his experience one last time during this ongoing transitional period. Miguel Terceros scored for them in the 88th minute, but as I said, they have to find a game style fast, or they will be having trouble succeeding in Copa America. Both Nations have one more fixture this weekend before the start of the tournament.

Ecuador is expected to get out of their group, but as we know, every game is different and anything can happen. Bolivia can easily surprise everyone and be the best nation in the tournament. Keep an eye out and see you next time.

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