One of Copa America Centenario's marquee teams visited Camping World Stadium and didn't disappoint the crowd of 28,241. Brazil jumped all over Haiti early behind two Philippe Coutinho goals and never looked back, defeating the Haitians 7-1. Coutinho added a late goal to complete his hat trick, while Renato Augusto (twice), Gabriel Barbosa, and Lucas Lima also scored for the Selecao.
James Marcelin of the Carolina Railhawks scored Haiti's first ever Copa America goal -- and first ever goal against Brazil -- in a losing effort.
Brazil improved to 1-0-1 on four points in Group B. Haiti fell to 0-2-0, with no points after two rounds in the group stage.
It was a bit of a homecoming for two Haitians -- defender Mechack Jerome and midfielder Jean Marc Alexandre --who played USL soccer with Orlando City, but it was an unhappy return to the venue formerly known as the Citrus Bowl. The Haitians opened in a 5-3-2 alignment, hoping to slow down the Brazilian attack and find some offense on the counter, but it hardly phased the Selecao. Brazil got its breakthrough early and took away Haiti's game plan completely.
The Haitians had no Plan B.
Coutinho opened the Brazilian fireworks just 14 minutes into the match. He scurried down the left flank and cut in toward the center before finding a small pocket of space between two Haitian defenders just above the penalty area, before ripping a laser past goalkeeper Johny Placide.
This powerful strike from @Phil_Coutinho gave Brazil a 1-0 lead. His 2nd international goal! #BRAvHAI #MyCopaColors https://t.co/52fjGlUimz— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 8, 2016
It was the Liverpool man again in the 29th minute, with an easy tap-in. Dani Alves sent in a cross from the right for Jonas. Two Haiti defenders collided and went down, leaving Jonas alone with the ball in front of Placide. He calmly slotted to a wide-open Coutinho for the simple goal.
All too easy for @Phil_Coutinho as he gets his second of the day to double Brazil's lead. #BRAvHAI #MyCopaColors https://t.co/m38RJlhHx9— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 9, 2016
Three minutes later, Willian carved through the Haitian defense and found Coutinho, who tried to return the favor to Jonas, but the cross was stopped by a diving Placide. Nevertheless, the Brazilians struck again in the 35th minute after Placide tried a long throw to no one in particular that Alves intercepted. The right back's cross found a wide open Renato Augusto, who calmly headed home to make it 3-0.
Renato Augusto heads in Brazil's 400th #CopaAmerica goal to take a commanding lead over Haiti #BRAvHAI #MyCopaColors https://t.co/nI2Va4oYdI— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 9, 2016
In the 39th minute, Brazil should have scored a fourth. Willian broke down the right side and crossed for an open Jonas, but the pass was too far in front.
Haiti finally put a shot on goalkeeper Alisson in the 41st minute, with Jean Alcenat firing from the top of the box. Alisson dove but the save was comfortable.
That was as close as the Haitians came to troubling Brazil throughout the opening half, and the Selecao took its 3-0 advantage into the locker room. The Brazilians owned 62% of the first-half possession and out-shot Haiti 8-2 in the opening period. Brazil was accurate on 92% of its first half passes.
Willian had a chance just four minutes into the second half to increase the lead, shooting just inches wide from a severe angle in the 49th minute. But 10 minutes later it was 5-0 on Gabriel Barbosa's goal. Gabigol split two defenders on the counter attack after a Haiti turnover and slotted home.
Goal difference is important! Gabriel slots home to make it 4-0, Brazil. #BRAvHAI #MyCopaColors https://t.co/kyAD5WIYbX— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 9, 2016
In the 67th minute, Lucas Lima made it five. The second-half sub from Santos F.C. was left all alone in the box and Alves gave him an excellent cross. All Lima had to do was find the target, which he did. Alves finished with a pair of assists on the night.
Earlier, Lucas Lima made it 5-0 for Brazil. #BRAvHAI #MyCopaColors https://t.co/eHVLWtYt7p— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 9, 2016
Haiti got a deserved consolation goal from James Marcelin in the 70th minute after a nice bit of skill. Second-half sub Duckens Nazon got free down the left side and centered for a driving Max Hillaire. His one-time shot was saved by a diving Alisson but the rebound came straight to Marcelin, who fired into the empty net to make it 5-1 at the time.
What a moment for ! James Marcelin of @RailhawksFC scores Haiti's first ever #CopaAmerica goal. #MyCopaColors https://t.co/GwI523SAkg— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 9, 2016
It was an oasis of joy in a desert of despair for the Haitians on the night. Jean Alcenat tried to pull a second back for Haiti in the 77th, chopping through the Brazil defense, but referee Mark Geiger judged him to have fouled Alves on the way through. Alves was the last man between Alcenat and goal. A minute later, Placide robbed Willian from close range to momentarily keep it at 5-1.
Augusto scored his second in the 86th, cutting straight down the middle of the pitch unimpeded and firing into the lower right corner past Placide to make it 6-1. Coutinho capped the game in the 92nd by getting his hat trick with a sparkling curling effort from just above the top of the box.
Hat trick hero @Phil_Coutinho saved his best for last. #BRAvHAI #MyCopaColors https://t.co/davx4UZere— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 9, 2016
That was the final piece of business in a Brazilian massacre of the Haitians, who were outclassed from the start. Brazil had a 21-8 advantage in shots (15-3 on target), a 64%-36% possession edge, and led in corners (6-1), completing an astounding 93% of its passes (638 total complete passes). To say it was a dominating performance would be an understatement.
Brazil improved to 3-0-0 in the all-time series and moved to the top of Group B on four points with a +6 goal differential. The Selecao still have Peru in the group stage, while Haiti will face Ecuador.
And so Orlando's involvement in the 2016 Copa America comes to an end. The pitch held up very well for all three matches, even Monday's monsoon, and two of the three games were fun, exciting affairs.