The Caribbean Football Union's playoff for fifth-place in the 2017 Caribbean Cup offers a worthy consolation prize: a shot at qualifying for the 2017 Gold Cup. The winner of the mini-tournament in Trinidad will not just be best-of-the-rest in the Caribbean, but will also get to play the fifth-best team from the 2017 Copa Centroamericana for a place in the summer's big CONCACAF competition.
The CFU playoff is a three-team affair. Suriname, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago each play each other once: winner gets to to keep dreaming of Gold Cup.
In the opening match of the tournament, Suriname upset the home team. T&T's Soca Warriors were downed 2-1. These CFU games don't allow for ties: if scores are level, there is extra time; if scores are still level after 120 minutes, there is a penalty shootout. Suriname didn't need the shootout against T&T, bagging an extra-time winner after the Soca Warriors had found a late equalizer to force the game past 90 minutes. (The tournament is also allowing four subs: three in regulation and one in extra time).
The win means Suriname can clinch the Gold Cup playoff spot with a win over Haiti on Friday, January 6. Les Grenadiers - expected to feature New York Red Bulls' Derrick Etienne in some capacity (he has had a successful training camp with Haiti over the last couple of weeks) - need to beat Suriname to ensure their game against T&T on January 8 has any significance.