Red Bulls forward Derrick Etienne Jr. (7) celebrates his goal against LA Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham (1) during the second half. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
HARRISON, N.J. — It’s not every day a play gets an opportunity to score the winning goal twice within a four-day span and for two separate teams as well.
On Wednesday night, Derrick Etienne, Jr. connected for the first goal in Red Bull II’s 5-0 home win over Birmingham Legion at Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J.
On Saturday afternoon, the Haitian international struck again, this time in the 67th minute to snap a 2-2 draw and boost the Red Bulls to a 3-2 win over the LA Galaxy at Red Bull Arena.
“I think it’s every kid’s dream to be in the backyard, and your dad or your brother and someone’s crossing the ball in … and you win the game,” Etienne Jr. said. “It’s just trying to be ready for those moments. If it happens, it happens. If not you learn from it. So it’s just trying to be there and be ready for the team and be whatever the team needs me to be.”
Three minutes after coming on for Amro Tarek in the 64th minute, Etienne performed his heroics. Daniel Royer hooked with Omir Fernandez, who found Etienne, Jr. open in the middle of the box. Etienne, Jr. slotted home the eventual game winner in the 67th minute.
“It felt good to contribute to the team,” Etienne Jr. said. “Two wins in two games, that’s the best thing you can do. And then two goals on two games is another thing. But like I said most important thing is the win. The Galaxy is a very good team, they showed that and we did our best to try to quiet them.”
Perhaps no one appreciated what Etienne, Jr. accomplished than head coach Chris Armas.
“It’s really important for the team,” he said. “And for Derrick, it’s another big step for him. He keeps growing and what folks don’t get to see is he puts in a lot of work every day. He embraces the opportunities of the USL team and Red Bull II.
“So for Derrick, to see him take those games serious — then it’s not such a surprise. They are getting these real reps. And then just to see Derrick get rewarded with the work he’s put in and a big goal, and we know he loves those moments, and he’s built for those moments.
“But before he went in, we talked quickly about real plays, things that are going to hold up in real games. This is the message and the icing on the cake is that goal for him.”