By Ryan Rosenblatt / VOAO

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new here at AOHQ where we put our #AOFamily in the driver’s seat for U.S. National Team matches. We call it #AOLive. Their game, your comments, our recap. 

For every MNT and WNT match just tag your tweets with #AOLive and you could have your hot takes, cold takes, in-game commentary, puns or whatever featured in our social review. 

Gregg Berhalter’s reign as MNT manager got off to a perfect start with a pair of January camp wins, but as decisive and fun as they were, those were weakened U.S. teams taking on pretty poor opponents. The March international break allowed him to put together his best team and take on a pair of strong South American teams.

This was time for the U.S. to get a test, and it started on Thursday in Orlando against Ecuador.

Our chapters were ready to see how the boys did.

And were maybe a tad bit optimistic.

The team came out with just as much energy as AO, too.

Right from the start, the U.S. took it to Ecuador. They made their way into the box three times in the first six minutes, piling on the pressure and coming just a foot away from an early goal.

And it wasn’t just running at the Ecuador defense either. It was some pretty play.

It gave people some feels.

And also some frustration.

The Yanks continued to take it to Ecuador, allowing next to nothing while getting forward with ease. But despite the good play, the U.S. couldn’t manage a first half goal.

Goal or not, we brought it in the stands. And had a good time too.

As the boys continued to chase a goal, we got a dose of bad news when Weston McKennie went down hurt.

Hopefully his ankle injury isn’t too bad.

There was still 15 more minutes to play, though. And we wanted a goal to reward our good play.


Party on, everyone.

In the end, the U.S. had more than 60% of the possession and five shots, while forcing Ecuador into more than half-a-dozen blocks. Oh, and that defense? They conceded just one shot all game.

There was no doubt who the better team was on this night, and the scoreboard showed it.

So Berhalter has coached three games, all wins. The U.S. has scored six goals in those matches and they still haven’t allowed a goal. The step up in competition? Not much of a problem.

The Berhalter train keeps chugging along and picking up steam.

Wrap it up for us, DC.