CONFIDENT COACH Ecuador coach Quinteros on 1-0 friendly loss to USA: 'We were superior in our game'
By MICHAEL LEWIS
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Gustavo Quinteros had one thing to say after his team booked a spot in the Copa America Centenario quarterfinals Sunday night: Bring on the United States.
Quinteros was confident his side would beat the Americans in the knockout around, even though the hosts recorded a 1-0 friendly victory between the two teams prior to the tournament.
Ecuador and the USA will tussle in the quarterfinals in Seattle Thursday night.
Quinteros noted that his team outplayed the Americans in the opening 30 minutes of that May 25 match in Frisco, Texas, even though the USA prevailed 1-0 on a 90th-minute goal by Darlington Nagbe.
"We were superior in our game," he said through a translator after his team walked out of MetLife Stadium with a 4-0 Group B win over Haiti. "We had some chances to create some damage."
While Quinteros was confident about his team's chances, he realized that the two Group A qualifiers -- the United States and Colombia -- were no pushovers.
"They're both dangerous teams," he said. "We know them well.
"On whatever day we can play up to our potential, it doesn't matter who we have on the pitch because we really trust in our team. If we are playing at our maximum potential and if 90 minutes if play to our full potential, we will be most dangerous for anyone we face."
Quinteros called the USA a "complicated foe."
Not only did the United States secure a quarterfinal berth, the Americans won the group Saturday night. They fought past Paraguay, 1-0, while Costa Rica, which already had been eliminated produced of the big surprises of the competition as it stunned previously unbeaten Colombia, 3-2.
Quinteros liked what he saw against the Haitians, but felt there was plenty of room for improvement.
"It was a very intense game," he said. "We took advantage of diagonals and finding spaces. I am satisfied with some of the things the team delivered.
"I'm very satisfied and happy for having qualified. We see new possibilities ... in a new stage."