The Liverpool attacker, who - like Peru at Wembley just five days ago - was overlooked for a starting position, but brought onto the Sun Life field in the 64th minute in order to close the game out against Ecuador.
However, the 19-year-old, a fleet-footed forward instrumental to his club side's late charge in the Premier League, was only allowed to play for 14 minutes as he was red-carded for a challenge on Antonio Valencia who reacted negatively to the tackle attempt. Both players ended up on the receiving end of their marching orders.
Ian Wright told ITV: "He's a bit angry and trying to make amends but the way Valencia reacts… how can he react like that? Honestly; he's got them both sent off. If he doesn't go in like that, neither of them get sent off."
Former Three Lions boss Glenn Hoddle said: "It's a rash challenge and he's gone over the top of the ball, it's rash and he has to learn from that."
Former international player Lee Dixon offered: "I don't think it's a red, I think it's an inexperienced tackle from a winger and I don't think there's intent. He's missed the ball. Glenn is right that in the World Cup it might be a red, but it looks like the reaction [caused the red]."
Sterling has become only the second player in English football history to be sent off in an international friendly, after Trevor Cherry was dismissed against Argentina in June, 1977.