One thing is pretty much certain on Sunday night in Group B: Haiti’s (0-0-2) 2016 Copa America journey will be done after they meet Ecuador (0-2-0) at MetLife Stadium (6:30, Fox Sports 1) in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Haiti lost 1-0 to Peru in its opener last Saturday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, but it wasn’t a bad showing. Their fate was sealed though with Wednesday’s humbling 7-1 loss to Brazil (1-1-0) at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The Haitians will still have something to play for (beyond national pride) as Ecuador needs a win in order to advance to the quarterfinals.
Ecuador has proven to be one of the hardest teams to figure out in this competition since they opened with an impressive 0-0 tie with Brazil last Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. They followed that up with a puzzling 2-2 draw with Peru on Wednesday. Not every point is the same since a tie with Brazil is a fine result any day of the week, but a draw with Peru is disappointing to a country like Ecuador.
Further complicating matters is the fact that Brazil meets Peru later that night (8:30, Fox Sports 1) at Gillette Stadium. So even if Ecuador takes care of their own business and beats Haiti as they are expected to, they would still need some help from Brazil (a Peru upset would be fatal to Ecuador). Things could always be much bleaker for Ecuador since they trailed 2-0 to Peru just 13 minutes into their match. Striker Enner Valencia cut it to 2-1 in the 39th minute (with their first goal of the tournament) and striker Miller Bolanos tied it up three minutes into the second half. Ecuadorian defender Gabriel Achilier received his second yellow card in the 93rd minute but it was too late to make much of a difference against Peru.
When these groups were announced, most predicted Brazil to win Group B – with Ecuador coming in second-place. Ecuador comes from the powerful CONMEBOL federation (South America), was in the 2014 World Cup and is currently ranked No. 13 in the latest FIFA rankings. On the other side, Haiti is happy to gain this experience against such quality teams. The progress that they showed in the narrow loss to Peru was overshadowed by the beating inflicted by Brazil. They have a chance to hold their heads up high if they can tie or pull off a shocking win over Ecuador.