In an alternate reality, Bradley Wright-Phillips did not turn down Grenada's call and Andrew Jean-Baptiste did not get waived by the New York Red Bulls - and Haiti vs. Grenada is a fully-fledged battle of the Bulls for the right to proceed to the next round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Things didn't work out that way, but we here at Once A Metro choose to keep an eye on Haiti's progress in particular. This is for two reasons. First, AJB keeps getting called into the Haitian squad, and the last time anyone at RBNY mentioned his name, it sounded as though he might have a shot at getting back in with the club. Second, the Red Bulls have a young Academy player, Derrick Etienne, who illuminated USL for NYRB II before heading off to college at UVA. Etienne is qualified to play for Haiti, and has featured in U-20 and U-23 camps this year.
If Haiti keeps progressing through CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, at some point it may have a Red Bull or two in its lineup. So we're keeping tabs here at OaM.
AJB is currently without a club, but he was called up to the squad for Haiti's September World Cup qualifiers against Grenada. He made the trip with the team to the Spice Island - his first visit to the country and its region.
Internationally bound. My first trip to the Caribbean.— Andrew Jean-Baptiste (@ajeanbaptiste92) September 2, 2015
And the visit was just about all AJB got out of the trip. He was an unused substitute for the match against Grenada.
Still, Les Grenadiers survived having a penalty incorrectly awarded against them to win, 3-1.
Acaban de regalarle un penal a Granada por esto. Le empatan a Haití, que se había adelantado. pic.twitter.com/uaBiJAGyes— Fútbol Puerto Rico (@FutbolPR_) September 4, 2015
Perhaps having seen the opposition up close and with a two-goal lead for the second leg, head coach Marc Collat may allow some of his fringe players a run when the series moves to Haiti on September 8.
For his part, AJB at least seems to be enjoying his first trip to the Caribbean.
Haiti is now firm favorite to progress to the next round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. Barring an upset on home soil, Les Grenadiers will join Group B in the fourth round of CONCACAF's Russia 2018 qualifying tournament - where sterner tests await.