NYRB II midfielder Derrick Etienne / New York Red Bulls II
The New York Red Bulls II’s depth has been evident since the club’s debut last season. Standing out among the pack takes some great doing, but one person who was a clear standout Sunday was midfielder Derrick Etienne.
Etienne scored a goal, assisted another, fueled the sequence toward a third goal and had the cross that led to an opening own goal by Bethlehem Steel FC during a 4-0 win at Red Bull Arena.
“I’m very pleased with my performance – always want to go out there and help the team out,” Etienne said. “I was just glad I was able to go out there and make a difference with a goal and an assist.”
Etienne has felt his progression through the early course of the season and thought this was his best performance thus far in 2016.
“I thought the first game I showed glimpses of some quality, but I felt that it wasn’t enough,” Etienne said referring to the team’s 2-2 home-opening draw against Toronto FC II. “Second game [against Louisville City FC], I thought that I worked very hard. It was a difficult game to play in the wind, so it wasn’t a lot of soccer. You just had to go out there and battle.
“Then this game, I thought I brought it all together with work rate, and then my ability on the ball, and I was glad I could make an impact.”
Etienne posted three goals and three assists in 14 games a year ago with the Red Bulls II. This season he already has two assists and a goal in three matches.
Collectively, New York has also improved dramatically from its first USL season. It took seven matches for the club to earn its second win. Etienne and the Red Bulls II are off to an impressive 2-0-1 start to the season, tied atop the Eastern Conference with the Richmond Kickers and Charleston Battery.
Next up, NYRB II prepares for the defending champion Rochester Rhinos on Sunday at Red Bull Arena. Etienne credits the overall quality within the club in helping his game and his teammates’ play.
“The guys are great,” Etienne said. “I think we’re all very good players. We all have quality, so when you’re playing with guys that have quality, it makes it easier on you. … You feel more comfortable.”