Five Things to Know About the Ecuador U-20 MNT

Learn more about the U-20 MNT's first opponent at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup

The United States Under-20 Men’s National Team opens the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a scintillating match against Ecuador on May 22 in Incheon, Korea Republic. The match will be televised live on FS1 and Telemundo at 4 a.m. ET.

Here are five things you should know about the USA’s opening opponent in Korea:

How They Qualified

Ecuador navigated nine matches to finish second at the 2017 South America Youth Football Championship and qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Here’s a look at their results:

Group Stage

Jan. 18

0-1 L vs. Brazil

Jan. 20

4-3 W vs. Colombia

Jan. 22

1-1 D vs. Chile

Jan. 26

2-1 W vs. Paraguay

Final Stage

Jan. 30

2-2 D vs. Brazil

Feb. 2

2-4 L vs. Venezuela

Feb. 5

3-0 W vs. Argentina

Feb. 8

3-0 W vs. Colombia

Feb. 11

1-2 L vs. Uruguay


Ecuador’s 21-man roster for the U-20 World Cup features 18 domestic-based played, along with one player each from Chile (Gabriel Carabali), Italy (Bryan Cabezas) and Spain (Pervis Estupinan). One-third of the domestic-based players come from one club, Independiente del Valle.

Goalkeepers (3): Gabriel Carabali (CSD Colo-Colo/CHI), Jose Cevallos (Barcelona SC/ECU), Gian Terreros (Barcelona SC/ECU)

Defenders (7): Jonathan Bravo (CD River Plate/ECU), Pervis Estupinan (Granada CF/ESP), Kevin Minda (LDU Quito/ECU), Angelo Preciado (Independiente del Valle/ECU), Joel Quintero (CS Emelec/ECU), Luis Segovia (CD El nacional/ECU), Felix Torres (Barcelona SC/ECU)

Midfielders (7): Wilter Ayovi (Independiente del Valle/ECU), Bryan Cabezas (Atalanta Bergamo/ITA), Yeison Guerrero (Independiente del Valle/ECU), Renny Jaramillo (Independiente del Valle/ECU), Juan Nazareno (Independiente del Valle/ECU), Jhonny Quinonez (CS Norte America/ECU), Jordan Sierra (Delfin SC/ECU)

Forwards (4): Jordy Caicedo (CD Universidad Catolica/ECU), Washington Corozo (Independiente del Valle/ECU), Herlin Lino (Deportivo Cuenca/ECU), Joao Rojas (CS Emelec/ECU)

The Manager

A 56-year old native of Daule, Ecuador, José Javier Rodríguez has been in charge of the Ecuador U-20 National Team since 2015. Prior to taking over with the U-20’s, Rodríguez was the head coach of the Ecuador U-17 National Team for eight years, leading his country to a pair of appearances in the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

At the 2011 U-17 World Cup, Rodríguez led Ecuador to the Round of 16 before falling 2-0 to Brazil. Four years later, Rodríguez again steered La Trí to the U-17 World Cup, where it reached the Quarterfinals. After earning the country’defeating Russia 4-1 in the Round of 16 for Ecuador’s first-ever Knockout Round victory at the U-17 World Cup, the side fell 2-0 to eventual champions Mexicon in the Quarterfinals.

The Top Scorer

Ecuador’s leading goal scorer at the South American Youth Football Championship with five goals, Bryan Cabezas plays professionally for Atalanta in the Italian Serie A. Hailing from Quevedo, Ecuador, Cabezas began his professional career at Independiente del Valle, scoring four goals in 68 appearances between 2012-16.

In his final season with Independiente del Valle, Cabezas helped lead the club to the Copa Libertadores Final, where it fell to Atlético Nacional of Colombia 2-1 on aggregate. Cabezas started both matches in the final. Later in the summer of 2016, Cabezas move to Atalanta for a reported 1.6 million Euros, where he made one league appearance during the 2016-17 season.

U-20 World Cup History

Ecuador is making just its third appearance at the U-20 World Cup and first at a tournament played outside South America. Ecuador’s inaugural appearance in the tournament came in 2001 when they advanced to the Knockout Round in Argentina. Advancing in second-place out of a group that included Costa Rica, Netherlands and Ethiopia, Ecuador fell to eventual tournament runner-up Ghana 1-0 in the Second Round. 

Ecuador’s most recent trip to the U-20 World Cup came in Colombia in 2011 where it again reached the Round of 16. As the second-place qualifier from Group C, which also included Spain, Costa Rica and Australia, Ecuador went on to play France in the Knockout Round, falling to Les Bleus 1-0 on a goal by current Atlético Madrid star Antoine Griezmann.