New York Red Bulls midfielder Derrick Etienne made his debut appearance for the Haitian national team in the third round of Caribbean Cup qualifying. The 19-year-old entered the match as a substitute, replacing Duckens Nazon.
Playing at home at Stade Sylvio Cator in Port-au-Prince, Haiti jumped out to a quick two-goal lead. However, French Guiana responded with five consecutive goals to clinch a spot in the 2017 Caribbean Cup.
With the loss, Haiti cannot win its qualification group and reach the final round of the Caribbean Cup. Their road to the 2017 Gold Cup has also become much more difficult. They need a multi-goal win against Saint Kitts & Nevis on Sunday to qualify for the "fifth place playoff," which would place them in a three-team group with Trinidad & Tobago and Antigua & Barbuda. The winner of that group will play the fifth place finisher at the 2017 Copa Centroamericana for a spot in the Gold Cup.
It's been a year of debuts for Etienne, who is now cap-tied to Haiti and made his first MLS appearance for the Red Bulls in September. He is a dual-national and was eligible to play for the United States, but he has been a long-time fixture for Les Grenadiers at the youth level.
Regardless of whether Haiti is able to qualify for the 2017 Gold Cup, their national team program has a bright future. Not only did their U-17 and U-20 teams recently finish as the top teams in the Caribbean, but they have a potential future MLS star committed to their squad with Etienne.