Etienne named to Haitian reserve squad, will be in camp
As mentioned earlier this week, Derrick Etienne did not make the final 23 man roster for Haiti's Copa America Centenario squad, but he will be in camp with the team through May 29th and their friendly with the South American powerhouse, Colombia. Etienne, 19, was chosen as one of the five reserve players for Les Grenadiers, thus reported to camp through the end of May, and if any injury arises it's likely the young midfielder will get the call. Also likely is Etienne senior international debut for Haiti as he'll be available for selection in the game against Colombia on Sunday.
Plewa earns Team of the Week honors
The second year NYRBII veteran Konrad Plewa earned a place in the USL Team of the Week for his solid defensive performance against FC Montreal. The all-time NYRBII minutes leader provided an assist on the lone goal of the game in addition to solid defensive work from rightback to earn the best XI nod.
NYRBII sits at second in the East, third in league, fourth in Power Rankings
Through Junior Flemmings lone goal giving NYRBII the win against FC Montreal, II has now moved into second place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. They sit three points behind conference and USL leaders Louisville City with one game in hand and two points behind Western Conference leaders Vancouver (though Vancouver has only played eight games to New York's nine). A win last weekend and 18 points total puts the team tied for third in the league with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks (eight games played) and the Charleston Battery (ten games played). In turn, New York Red Bulls II moved up from seventh to fourth in the USL Power Rankings this week as, "The Red Bulls II have responded very well to their only loss of the season, and closed the gap on Louisville at the top of the Eastern Conference thanks to Junior Flemmings' late winner on the road at Montreal."
The U18's lost to Philadelphia 2-1 this past weekend. They sit second in their division behind Philly's academy team at 15-4-4, seven points back from the Union with two games in hand. Brian Saramago and Mason Deeds continue to star as the team's leading players while Noah Powder looks to have moved on to a more defined position with NYRBII.
Meanwhile, the U16's ran rampant over Philadelphia, winning 4-2 with goals coming from Omir Fernandez, Ben Mines, and two from Giuseppe Margiottiello. The U16's are first in their division, rocking a 16-1-6 record through 23 games. Mines, Fernandez, and Zach Ryan lead the team while defender Chris Gloster attends the national team residency program in Bradenton.
An opinion or two- Who's heading up?
Tyler Adams and Derrick Etienne remain the only players to transition from New York Red Bulls II to the first team. So far, Adams has played 45 minutes for the first team while Etienne has only featured for NYRBII this year. That's fine, they are both very young players with tons of room to develop and time to do so.
Direct USL affiliates have two main functions, to allow for long-term potential players, like Etienne and Adams, to develop and to provide a higher level of middle of the roster talent to the first team. This can be seen with David Romney, Ariel Lassiter, and Daniel Steres for the LA Galaxy as well as Mo Babouli for Toronto FC. In a league deeply lacking in depth, it is invaluable to have that advantage.
However, that begs the question, where are these guys for New York? The project/potential players are pretty clear, Cheikh M'baye, Noah Powder, Junior Flemmings, et cetera. Where are the players providing quality depth so as to not have an extreme centerback crisis? Who's next in line so as to prevent Dax McCarty from running his legs, and his effectiveness, into the ground by midseason?
Quite a few NYRBII players have the quality at the USL level but clearly need to improve before they are MLS ready. Yet, there are a few who could contribute to this year's CONCACAF Champions League campaign and be ready to step right up to the first team at the beginning of next year. So who's heading up?
Devon 'Speedy' Williams- The Jamaican defensive midfielder out of Robert Morris has been one of NYRBII's best players since he first stepped on the field midway through the season last year. Positionally sound, mentally adept, and a great passer to boot, Williams could provide much needed rotation for Dax or Felipe in the future.
Konrad Plewa- A former academy player, Plewa was one of NYRBII's first signings, joining the team after four solid years at Seton Hall. Despite having featured at centerback, defensive midfield, on the wing, and now at rightback for NYRBII over the last season and a half, Plewa has remained one of II's most consistent performers. Though he doesn't have the highest ceiling on NYRBII, Plewa's ability to adapt across multiple positions, as well as his size and skill, could make Plewa a fantastic depth option for the first team.
Dan Metzger- Dan Metzger, the man that came home. After falling in the draft and not making the cut at DC United as the midfielder battled through injuries, Metzger turned up at NYRBII and provided solidity to a shaky team last year. His play earned him a regular place in the US' U23 Olympic team before an ACL tear sidelined him from the US and NYRBII for the rest of the year. Now finally back to full health, Metzger continues to improve at a rate that could see him line-up next to his one-time academy teammate, Sean Davis, in the first team