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Haiti, Honduras to meet in key Gold Cup clash
Haiti's Jeff Louis (blue jersey) in CONCACAF Gold Cup action against the USA on July 10, 2015, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo: Mexsport)

KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- When Haiti head coach Marc Collat looks at the way his team has played through two games in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, he almost sees a mirror image in Honduras.

Both teams have been stout defensively and both have produced solid scoring chances with limited success in the attacking third.

“It is true there are many similarities between the two playing styles of the team – many opportunities to score, but maybe sometimes lack of capitalization on that,” Collat said Sunday. “I’m definitely hoping this game the situation will change and Haiti will at least be up by one over Honduras.”

Most importantly, both teams are level with one point after two matches, making a win in Monday’s final Group A match at Sporting Park vital for both teams.

While the United States has clinched first place in the group after two victories, Panama (two points), Honduras and Haiti are all alive for two possible berths into the quarterfinals.

“Tomorrow (Monday is a defining match in this tournament for Honduras, just as it is for Haiti,” Honduras head coach Jorge Luis Pinto said. “It’s an important match. We’re taking it as a final match. It’s a very important one for us, obviously. It’s one we need to win, just as Haiti will be. We want to approach this as we have all the games in this tournament, get the best result possible and make sure we move on to the next round.”

This is the third all-time meeting in the competition between Honduras and Haiti with the Central Americans winning the previous encounters -- 2003: 1-0 in Seattle, Washington; 2013: 2-0 in Harrison, New Jersey.

While history isn’t on Les Grenadiers side, Collat is encouraged by his team’s performances in the first two matches – a 1-1 draw with Panama and a hard-fought 1-0 defeat to the United States.

“Let’s not forget Haiti was definitely the small team in this group,” Collat said. “We’ve already proven ourselves by being able to play at the same level. We’re already pretty happy with the performance. Of course, advancing to the quarterfinals would be quite a feat.”

There is more pressure on Pinto to get Honduras into the knockout stage after the Catrachos reached the Gold Cup semifinals in each of the last three editions.

What will Pinto think if Honduras, which lost to the United States (2-1) and rallied to tie Panama (1-1) is unable to advance?

“I can’t answer that question yet. I have to wait until tomorrow, but I only have one thought and that’s winning the game,” the 62-year-old Colombian finished. “I’ll be able to answer that question tomorrow Monday if we lose, but I’m not looking at that right now. I’m only looking at winning the game.”

 
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