Nicolás Lodeiro and Uruguay kicked off their 2019 Copa América campaign with a resounding 4-0 win over Ecuador on Sunday in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Selected into the Starting XI by Head Coach Óscar Tabárez, Lodeiro rewarded the decision by being central to all three first-half goals for La Celeste.
Seattle’s midfield maestro bagged the game-winning goal in the 6th minute, as he settled a cross from FC Barcelona’s Luis Suárez before flicking the ball over a defender and smashing a volley into the bottom corner. In the 20th minute, the Uruguayan was on the receiving end of an elbow to the head from Ecuador’s José Quintero, who received a straight red card upon Video Review.
Lodeiro then collected the first of his two secondary assists in the 33rd minute. He headed a long corner kick toward Diego Godín, who then nodded the ball back across the face of goal for Edinson Cavani to smash into the back of the net. On the brink of halftime, Martín Cáceres redirected Lodeiro’s corner kick into the path of Suarez for an easy tap-in at the back post.
Protecting a substantial lead, Uruguay slowed the tempo down dramatically after the break. Lodeiro’s rhythmic passing helped his country kill off the match before he was substituted in the 74th minute. Ecuador’s day went from bad to worse two minutes later, as defender Arturo Mina recorded an unfortunate own goal that rounded out the scoring.
Sounders center back Xavier Arreaga made Ecuador’s matchday roster, but did not feature.
Uruguay’s next match of the group stage comes against Japan on June 20 (4 p.m. PT), while Arreaga and Ecuador will face Chile on the same day (4 p.m. PT).