On Saturday, the Columbus Crew had a dilemma. Starting right fullback Steven Moreira missed the match due to a thigh injury and the player behind him depth chart, Marlon Hairston, was named to the starting 11 but never made it to the kickoff, as a late scartch due to hamstring tightness. Winger Derrick Etienne Jr. took the defensive position after not playing it since March 20, 2021. Etienne assisted on both Black & Gold goals in a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution, playing strong defensively.
Due to his play over the weekend, was named to the bench of the MLS Team of the Week on Monday. MLS awarded Etienne with the weekly award for the third time in his career, and the second time this season. Etienne’s first MLS Team of the Week award came in the first week following the 2020 MLS is Back Tournament, technically the sixth week of the COVID-19-shortened season.
There were concerns about moving Etienne to the fullback role with such a short turnaround time before the match, but he proved any concerns invalid. Etienne moved to a role that required considerably higher movement on the field, going from an offensive winger role to stretching defense and offense as a fullback.
In the 27th minute, Etienne earned his first assist. Defender Pedro Santos found Etienne running down the right sideline and sent in a perfect pass that split the Revolution defense as he entered to the right corner of the 18-yard-box. Etienne crossed the ball to forward Miguel Berry, who scored with a back-heel shot.
Defensively, Etienne blocked two passes, intercepted five passes and added a clearance and tackle to his stat sheet. Also, Etienne attempted to clear a ball in the 82nd minute, but none of his Black & Gold teammates made it back fast enough on defense. The Revolution regained possession and midfielder Sebastian Lletget passed into the penalty area, from near the left sideline to forward Adam Buksa for the goal.
Etienne made up for the Crew’s defensive lapse in the 89th minute. Down a goal, the Black & Gold received the ball at midfield. Etienne received a pass wide down the right sideline and crossed in a ball similar to his pass on the first goal. This time it was substitute Erik Hurtado who converted the shot for the match-tying goal.
So far in 2022, Etienne is having his best season since coming to Columbus in 2020. In 11 matches with the Crew this year, Etienne has three goals and four assists. The seven goals created is the winger’s best statistical season since joining MLS in 2016 with the New York Red Bulls.
The first Team of the Week honor this year for Etienne came after scoring a goal and assisting on another in the Black & Gold’s 2-1 victory against Toronto FC in mid-March. Team-wise, Etienne is one of four Crew players to receive Team of the Week honors in 2022. He joins midfielders Darlington Nagbe, Lucas Zelarayán and defender Pedro Santos.