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Haiti to play Nicaragua in playoff for 2017 Gold Cup berth

The last entrant to the 2017 Gold Cup will soon be decided.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The 2017 Copa Centroamericana is wrapped up: Honduras is the new, reigning champion of Central America. Host Panama claimed the runner-up spot; El Salvador and Costa Rica took the other places in the top four. Those four teams also qualify for the 2017 Gold Cup, which now knows the identity of 11 of its 12 contenders.

Automatic qualifiers Canada, Mexico and the USA, have Caribbean qualifiers Curacao, Martinique, French Guiana, and Jamaica for company. And the four recently-qualified Central American teams round out the field.

There is just one place left to be determined. It will go to either Haiti - the fifth-placed team in the 2017 Caribbean Cup - or Nicaragua, the fifth-placed team in the just-concluded Copa Centroamericana.

A date has yet to be set for the home-and-away series. Given the importance of a Gold Cup berth to either team, it would be preferable if CONCACAF would schedule the playoff during a FIFA window for international games - so both nations can be represented by full-strength squads. That would imply either March or June dates for the matches, but we will find out for sure as soon as CONCACAF has a moment.

Until then, the New York Red Bulls' emerging Haiti international, Derrick Etienne, will have to focus on preseason preparations with his club.