As the final whistle approached during Saturday’s contest between the Columbus Crew and the New York Red Bulls at Lower.com Field, it appeared that the home team’s MLS Cup playoff aspirations were going to come to an end and a sense of doom filled the air while trailing 1-0. Looking for a spark, Black & Gold head coach Celeb Porter went to his bench and called upon midfielder Derrick Etienne Jr., among others, in an effort to get Columbus back into the contest.
Etienne found a way to bring the Crew back from the edge of defeat. Not only did the winger score a late equalizer, he then grabbed the game-winning goal in stoppage time to give the Black & Gold an important three points heading into the final week of the MLS regular season.
Because of his late-game heroics, Etienne was named to the MLS Team of the Week for the penultimate week of the year.
It was a rocky beginning for the Columbus substitute, as he missed his first attempt just five minutes into his appearance with a shot to the right of the post. Six minutes later, Etienne was gifted another great chance inside of the penalty area that he missed, sending his effort sailing over the crossbar.
Two tough misses in such a small window of time would have harmed the psyche of lesser players but the Crew winger, who is in the midst of a career year, responded when it mattered most.
In the 89th minute, a pass found Black & Gold fullback Mohamed Farsi who nudged the ball onto Etienne with his chest. The winger buried the opportunity from the center of the 18-yard box into the back of the net to level the game at 1-1 and bring the home crowd back to life.
Four minutes later, Columbus forward Jacen Russell-Rowe unleashed a shot at the Red Bulls’ goal which was parried away by goalkeeper Carlos Coronel. The ball landed at the foot of Etienne and he put it in the back of the net, delivering the Crew a much-needed victory and adding to his already impressive career-high goal total of eight this season.
Monday’s award nets Etienne Team of the Week honors for the fifth time this season. In addition to his eight goals in 2022, Etienne also has five assists in 32 games played for the Black & Gold. Etienne hasn’t enjoyed this level of production since the 2018 season when he scored five goals and one assist for New York
The Columbus winger and his teammates return to action on Wednesday, battling Charlotte FC on the road, as the two teams look to complete the remaining 74 minutes following the postponement of their match on July 31. Kick off for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.