Kyle Duncan (6) celebrates his goal against Portland Wednesday night. (Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)
HARRISON, N.J. — Now you see him, now you don’t.
That seems to have been the story of Kyle Duncan this year.
The defender sometimes fell out of the spotlight in terms of making the Red Bulls Starting XI or 18 this season.
But when he has gotten the opportunity, he, well, grabs the Red Bull by its horns, so to speak.
He has been outstanding in the past two matches, both shutouts, including Sunday night’s 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena.
“I took it as, you know, some things you can control and some things you can’t control,” Duncan said. “So the things you can control, you take advantage of that and do your best. The things you can’t control? Just stay positive.”
Duncan scored a goal in the 2-0 win at Portland Wednesday night. He didn’t find the net against Philly, but his defensive contributions were enough as the team has rebounded from a three-game losing streak to win two in a row.
“He had a great game tonight, and Kyle had a great game in Portland.” head coach Chris Armas said. “Every single player at the club, and it’s academy to USL, we invest a lot of time in, and that doesn’t ever really get noticed on the outside. But on the inside, the staff and the club from the top to the bottom, it’s video, it’s mentoring, it’s teaching, it’s growing, it’s pushing guys out there, not pushing them too fast, and with Kyle, it’s a process with him.
“It was never — forget about Kyle Duncan, ‘fall off the map.’ It’s actually let’s invest more time, let’s work more with him. … Let’s bring him along, and now he’s ready to get an opportunity. How does that go? Well, yeah, often times it’s up to the player. You get that opportunity.”
It certainly didn’t hurt Duncan that he returned from U.S. Under-23 camp with more confidence.
“It was kind of a confidence boost, but it was more like going there to show I can play with the top guys at my age group,” he said. “I kind of left with a little bit of confidence because I played against Japan before I left and we got a 2-0 win, which is pretty great.”