13 October 2014 16:11
Ivan Hurtado will make an emotional return to the Ecuador side for his 168th and final international cap against El Salvador on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old has not featured for the national team since May 2010 but will make one last appearance for Sizto Vizuete’s side in New Jersey.
Having made his debut against Guatemala in 1992, the central defender has represented his country at two World Cups and won 167 caps.
To mark his official retirement from football, Hurtado will line up for the friendly against El Salvador and he is looking forward to one final run-out.
“The 14th of this month I’ll make my official farewell to football and especially all the fields, and what a great privilege for me, having made that decision together with my family, I make official my departure in this home, as an Emelec.
“I could not have imagined a better chance like this and I think I’ve been blessed with everything football has given to me, to be at the door and experience a moment like this and feel really happy for this opportunity.
“On October 14th I will have the opportunity to suit up for the last time to play for my country’s national team, in an official manner, and therefore I really appreciate them for this moment.”
Ecuador have a good record against Tuesday’s opponents with three wins in their four previous meetings, the last coming when they secured a comprehensive 5-0 win in March 2013.
Since their exploits in the World Cup in Brazil, where they narrowly missed out on a place in the knockout stages, Ecuador have only won once and needed a late Enner Valencia goal to earn a 1-1 draw with United States on Saturday.
The striker earned a move to the Premier League with West Ham after his three goals in Brazil, and is expected to pose the greatest threat to the El Salvador defence as he looks to add to the nine goals he has scored in his 10 appearances for his country.
El Salvador come into the game having lost their last two internationals, the most recent being a 3-0 defeat to Colombia at the weekend.
They had, however, won three of the four games prior to their two recent setbacks, a run that saw them finish fourth in the Cope Centreamericana.
Coach Albert Roca has been pleased with his side’s progress in recent months, but knows they will be up against it on Tuesday.
“It is impossible that in the next game everything will be perfect,” he said. “We are what we are and the people have to understand that.
“As a coach I have to have the bigger picture, and not to be swayed by a negative result, not one, nor two, nor three.
“I’m happy, despite the results. The results are important to me, but more important in the future than now. This is a process that must take some patience, because if not, we would be making mistakes.”