Ecuador, using the Gold Cup as a warm up for their premier in the World Cup, got off to a shaky start against Haiti Sunday evening in Miami.
The Haitian national team got their first victory in the Gold Cup defeating Ecuador 2-0 in a physical match which saw several cautions and two ejections.
Haiti took an early lead in the opening minutes on an own goal that was knocked into the net by Edison Mendez. Golman Pierre dribbled around the Ecuadorian defense and sent a pass to Charles Alerte who had just entered inside the box. Mendez went sliding in an attempt to divert the pass and ended up sending it straight into goal. Ecuadorian goalkeeper Jose Cevallos, looking for a shot from Pierre was helpless from his position and could simply watch the ball hit the back of the net.
At the 15th minute mark, Ecuador seemed sure to tie after an Alex Aguinaga shot required goalkeeper Geteau Ferdinand to come out of the net to make a save. On the rebound, with a seemingly open net, Cleber Chala's shot was blocked by two Haitian defenders who rushed back to form a wall.
Swift and physical play marked the first half as the teams took turns rushing up and down the field, trading strong strikes and solid opportunities.
At the 30 minute mark, Ecuador went a man down as Raul Gerron was caught elbowing Roosevelt Desir. After a conference with his linesman, referee Carlos Batres showed the red card and sent off Gerron.
As the first half drew to a close Haiti extended their lead when Alterte headed a looping header pass from Jean Jaques Pierre past Cevallos.
Haiti lost the man advantage in the 50th minute when Frantz Gilles took a vicious kick and clipped Angel Fernandez knocking his feet out from under him.
Both teams started started taking cheap shots and trading swipes with each other. As they did in the first half, the teams continued trading opportunities with rushes up and down the field.
For every two or three Ecuadorian strikes the Haitians matched it with one, but neither team could obtain a goal. Both teams tightened their defenses, and although the plays included nice runs and passes, neither team could convert.
With the loss, Ecuador must now defeat Canada by three goals or more on Tuesday
to ensure passage to the quarter-finals. Haiti lost their opening match to Canada 2-0 on Friday night but can win the group with a loss by Canada by three goals or more or a loss or tie by Ecuador.