Before the New York Red Bulls kicked off their ill-fated game against D.C. United on September 11, the II team got the opportunity to show fans the latest trophy to make its way to Red Bull Arena. As is the case with all trophies to have found a home in Harrison, it is a Shield.
Catch @NYRBII receive the #USL Regular Season title before #NYvDC today! pic.twitter.com/y2ufwjl5id— USL (@USL) September 11, 2016
There’s @nyrbii ready to accept their @USL Shield #RBNY #NYRBII pic.twitter.com/bpR1sBrvP4— Matt (@Metros96) September 11, 2016
The 2016 USL regular season champions took their trophy on a journey around RBA.
Your 2016 @USL Regular Season Champions!#REDTogether#NYRBII pic.twitter.com/gHTmrRSuBu— NYRB II (@NYRBII) September 11, 2016
Congrats @NYRBII !! pic.twitter.com/xecKT2cDd2— South Ward (@RBA_SouthWard) September 11, 2016
.@USL champs, @NYRBII !!! pic.twitter.com/IQtFgeRbTJ— VikingArmySC (@VikingArmy_SC) September 11, 2016
Standing ovation for the champions from the South Ward. @RBA_SouthWard #REDTogether #NYRBII pic.twitter.com/fpA0n5yyxg— NYRB II (@NYRBII) September 11, 2016
It was an honor well-deserved for the II-team, which mostly works in quiet obscurity in front of the smallest home crowds in its league.
But the reserves have been playing very well this season, and they have the trophy to prove it.
Fittingly, on the day NYRB II formally celebrated a season of dominating USL, the first team gave Derrick Etienne his MLS debut - against D.C. United.
Welcome to the first team pitch @detienne_10 ! #RBNY #NYRBII pic.twitter.com/XlGQdyuvVZ— JohnC.-TheRedEdition (@jacorbett70) September 11, 2016
Trophies are a very pleasing by-product of the II-team's presence in USL, but the primary purpose of the squad is to develop players for RBNY in MLS. Etienne has benefited from the II team more than most. As an Academy player last year - a kid given a few games alongside the pros before he went off to college - he made himself impossible to ignore. And this season he has matured into a leader on the II team and a prospect who clearly must be allowed to show what he can do at the MLS level.
Etienne is the past, present and future of NYRB II: evidence of what the team can do, is doing, and hopes to continue to do. And a few trophies along the way are, of course, welcome too.