More than 49,000 fans attended the match, but the stands were a sea of Ecuadorian faithful wearing yellow jerseys and waving Ecuador flags. It seemed like a home game for the ENT, and the team gave their supporters a lot to cheer about by defeating Haiti 4-0 to advance to the Copa quarterfinals.
Ecuador cruised to the tournament’s knockout round with goals from Christian Noboa, Enner Valencia, Jaime Ayoví, and Antonio Valencia. El Tri also played well on the defensive half, stopping Haiti from having any continuous threat on goal. The Haitians’ only real opportunity came late in the first half when Jerome Mechack headed one off of the crossbar.
But Ecuador’s dominance went beyond the pitch and into the stands, too.
While the Ecuadorians were loud, they were also extremely respectful. They applauded Haiti’s national anthem and opposing players as they came off the field. Ecuador’s fans displayed class all match long and were the epitome of great sports fans.
Haitian fans also showed respect and dignity, but they didn’t dominate the stadium like Ecuador’s fans. Still, they did their best to be heard. Haiti supporters were vocal, cheering for their squad and waving flags and banners. They just couldn’t overtake the loudness of the Ecuadorian faithful. If Haiti got close to a scoring chance, the decibel level in the stadium rose dramatically — because Ecuador’s fans worried about an opposing goal.
That match will likely be one of the more intense battles of the quarterfinals. The Americans have home field advantage, but Ecuador has proven to have the most consistently loud and crazed fans in the tournament. It will be interesting to see the two fan bases clash.
And you wonder whether the same respect and class will be shown in a grudge match. The two teams faced off roughly three weeks ago, with Darlington Nagbe netting a heart-breaking 90th minute goal (his first for the USMNT) to help the States take home a 1-0 win.
Be sure to tune in on one of the FOX channels to see if the American Outlaws propel their team to victory, or if the El Tri faithful can dominate the stands on American soil once again.
Either way, it’s sure to be a good one!
Photos: JJ Post (all images taken with an iPhone SE)