Ecuador took care of business on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, defeating Haiti 4-0 to secure a spot in the quarterfinals of the Copa America Centenario. The victory locked Ecuador into the second position in Group B, meaning that they will face the United States on Thursday night in Seattle with a spot in the semifinals on the line.
Already eliminated from reaching the knockout rounds, Haiti were simply seeking a less lopsided result than the 7-1 thrashing they received from Brazil in their second group-stage match. However it looked like more of the same was in store for Patrice Neveu’s side when Ecuador took the lead after just 11 minutes.
West Ham United’s Enner Valencia began the scoring for La Tricolor, receiving a Christian Noboa pass before dribbling in on goal and finishing past goalkeeper Johnny Placide. The goal was Valencia’s second of the Copa America Centenario and calmed any nerves that Ecuador may have had.
Further insurance arrived nine minutes later when Valencia turned into the assist-man for Jaime Ayovi, as Ayovi was able to score into an empty net after the Haitian defense was exposed once more.
Chances were presented to each side before halftime to add to the scoring, but Valencia headed just over a vacant goal while Haiti’s Mechack Jerome struck the crossbar with a header from a corner kick. Frickson Erazo of Ecuador also hit the crossbar with a headed effort on 30 minutes, but the score would remain 2-0 in the favor of Ecuador at halftime.
Haiti began the second half with a bit more vigor and were rewarded with a chance on goal in the 51st minute, but Duckens Nazon had his low drive saved by Alexander Dominguez in the best second half moment for Les Grenadiers.
The result of the match was further emphasized by two second half goals from Ecuador, with Noboa and Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia both getting in on the scoring action.
Noboa struck in the 57th minute via a short range shot that came after he chested down a pass from Swansea City’s Jefferson Montero. The two Valencias combined for the game’s final goal in the 78th minute, when Enner raced past the Haitian defense to set up Antonio, who tapped into an empty net for the easiest goal of his 13-year professional career.
The 4-0 result gives Ecuador two shutouts in their three group-stage games, after they blanked Brazil in an opening 0-0 draw. Haiti’s first appearance at a Copa America results in three defeats and a goal differential of -11, although the goalkeeper Placide had a few outstanding saves along the way.
Ecuador will now play the United States at CenturyLink Field on Thursday in the quarterfinals. The match will be a rematch of a friendly played on May 25th in Frisco, Texas, that served as a Copa America Centenario tune-up for both sides.
That friendly was won 1-0 by the United States with Darlington Nagbe scoring his first international goal in second half stoppage time.