Two of South Florida’s most passionate soccer communities will be represented in the 2013 Copa Latina final.
Defending tournament champion Blue Star Honduras will play the Haiti All-Stars in the championship match Sunday night at Ted Hendricks Stadium.
Blue Star seems primed at a repeat. Through its first four tournament matches, Blue Star has outscored opponents, 17-0.
“Thank God, everything has turned out right for us,” Blue Star coach Jorge Pavon said after his team’s 2-0 semifinal victory over Real Honduras late Friday. “Three finals in a row — this is tremendous motivation because it confirms the unity and hard work our team displays.”
A Blue Star victory on Sunday would maintain a recent dominance of Honduran teams as Copa Latina champion. Honduras Five Stars won three consecutive titles between 2008 and 2010 before Peru NMB defeated Blue Star in the final two years ago.
“We have obstacles like any other team but we know how to move forward,” Pavon said. “Hopefully everything will work out for us Sunday and we can lift another cup.”
The only other Copa Latina final featuring Honduran and Haitian squads was in 2005, when C.D. Cortez defeated the Haiti Young Stars.
Haiti reached the final after its 2-1 overtime victory over Firpo El Salvador on Friday night.
“We’re here to win this thing and Sunday night we’re going to finish it,” Haiti coach Joe Black said. “We’re going to win — I guarantee it.”
Haiti figures prominently in the tournament’s 21-year history. Under head coach Ernst “NoNo” Jean-Baptiste, Seleccion Haiti has won a Copa Latina best five championships.
Now the Haiti All-Stars want to expand the country’s tournament accomplishments with different leadership and identity.
“We’re trying to bring that tradition here, we knew how it used to be,” Black said. “NoNo started this and I want to follow in his footsteps.
“I just can’t wait for Sunday. We didn’t make it this far for nothing. I’m not trying to be cocky or arrogant but we’ve got to finish.”
Pavon is not bothered by Black’s championship prediction.
“From our end, I guarantee that we are going to win,” Pavon said. “He wants his team to win and I want my team to win. Both of us are confident in our teams’ chances.”
Sunday’s championship match will start at 7. The game will be preceded by an exhibition between the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and the Copa Latina All Stars at 5.