Day two of the 2016 Copa America featured three games, one in Group A and two in Group B. The first was a dull 0-0 draw between Costa Rica and Paraguay, the second was a narrow 1-0 victory for Peru against Haiti, and the third was another 0-0 draw, this time between Brazil and Ecuador.
Here's a recap of what happened:
Costa Rica draw with Paraguay
In front of a mere 14,000 fans in blazing hot Orlando, Costa Rica and Paraguay both walked away with a point after a fairly uneventful draw. The United States' loss to Colombia on Friday opened the door for one of these two teams to take control of first or second place Group A, but neither managed to do so after a 0-0 result.
The heat—it was over 100º at Camping World Stadium—likely played a large part in this. Neither team seemed to be willing to get on the attack, and as a result, the goalkeepers were rarely tested. The two sides combined for five shots on target, and only one of them had a genuine chance of finding the net. They seemed content to sit back and pass the ball around, so it didn't turn out to be all that exciting of a game.
They seemed more interested in fouling each other than actually trying to score. Argentine referee Patricio Loustau handed out five yellow cards and one red card, and there were plenty of heated instances between the teams. At one point, Paraguayan defender Miguel Samudio took offense to something Costa Rica center back Kendall Waston did and instigated a scuffle between the two teams that took a few minutes to break up. Waston earned the red card late in second half stoppage time for a challenge he made at midfield, meaning he will be suspended for Costa Rica's crucial match against the United States on Tuesday.
This draw was the best-case scenario for the US, and not only because of Waston's red card. It will allow them to have an opportunity to earn second place in the group with three points against Los Ticos and some help from Colombia.
Costa Rica next play the Americans in Chicago on Tuesday at 8pm ET. Paraguay face Colombia directly after Costa Rica's match, at 10pm ET in Pasadena.
Peru squeak by Haiti
A matchup featuring the two underdogs of Group B, Peru vs. Haiti was expected to be sort of the undercard event in the star-studded schedule of day two. But it turned out to be the most exciting of any of Sunday's matches.
The teams played hard and well in the more reasonable Seattle weather, scoring the only goal of the day and entertaining the fans who decided to tune into Fox Sports 2. Peru would end up the winners by a score of 1-0, putting them at the top of the group and giving them an early edge in the quest for a spot in the quarterfinal. The draw between Brazil and Ecuador later that night cemented their spot at the top.
Despite good, organized defense by a scrappy Haiti side that challenged at the Gold Cup last year, Peru were able to break through in the 61st-minute thanks to a beautiful Paolo Guerrero goal. With the quality of the goal, the Haitians can't be faulted for giving this one up:
Guerrero—currently playing for Flamengo in the Brazilian Serie A—became the leading goal-scorer in Peruvian soccer history, with 27 goals in 70 caps. He was the leading scorer in each of the last two Copa Americas.
Haiti had their chances to equalize following this goal, but were unable to do so. They are now in a hole that will be tough to get out of, especially with a match against Brazil coming up (Wednesday in Orlando; 7:30pm ET). Peru face Ecuador (Wednesday in Glendale; 10:00pm ET) next for a chance to take over first or second place in the group.
Brazil, Ecuador play to a draw
In a match between the two favorites in Group B, Brazil and Ecuador played to a 0-0 stalemate. Both teams had their fair share of chances—meaning the game was considerably more eventful than Costa Rica-Paraguay—but the second scoreless draw of the day had fans wishing for more goals. Ecuador would have had one in the 66th-minute if not for an atrocious call by the referee:
Brazil goalkeeper Alisson let a cross squeak through him to presumably give Ecuador the lead, but the assistant referee blindly decided that the ball had gone out of play—which it most certainly did not—and thus the goal was disallowed. It was an unfortunate moment for Ecuador, while it bailed out Alisson and kept Brazil in it.
Neither side managed to come up with much after this. However, it was a quality game despite the dismal scoreline—in fact, it was probably the best-played game of the tournament so far—and it showcased the teams' talent. Brazil often looked dangerous in possession even without many of their star players, while Ecuador stayed in it throughout and played like the better team for long stretches.
It was a very good result for Los Amarillos in particularly, even with the wrongfully disallowed goal. Taking a point from Brazil is always good, and Ecuador have a chance to place a stranglehold on a quarterfinal spot with three points against Peru on Wednesday. Brazil have a chance to take over first as well if they can beat Haiti and get some help from Ecuador.