Atlanta United trades Derrick Etienne to Toronto

Atlanta United midfielder Derrick Etienne (18) goes over Orlando City defender Kyle Smith, bottom, as they battle for possession of the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, May 27, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Atlanta United midfielder Derrick Etienne (18) goes over Orlando City defender Kyle Smith, bottom, as they battle for possession of the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, May 27, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Ending one of the more puzzling stays in the club’s history, Atlanta United traded Derrick Etienne to Toronto, the team announced Wednesday.

Atlanta United will receive $200,000 in General Allocation Money and as much as $175,000 more if certain accomplishments are achieved. The trade deadline closed Tuesday.

Atlanta United will be responsible for paying half of Etienne’s salary ($676,250 in October 2023) this season. Doing so will eliminate the club having to pay “dead money” next season.

Etienne signed with the club as a free agent before the 2023 season after coming off career-highs in goals (9) and assists (6) with Columbus in 2022. Atlanta United Vice President Carlos Bocanegra said that Etienne did everything the club was looking for: runs in behind, good finisher, good passer and good person in the locker room.

Etienne wasn’t able to replicate that success with Atlanta United, never scoring and posting only two assists in 23 appearances. He fell far down the depth chart to the point that manager Gonzalo Pineda tried him as an attacking midfielder during the preseason and played him as a striker in a game this season.

Etienne wasn’t helpful this season or the previous season because of injuries that resulted in him missing most of both training camps. Atlanta United was aware that Etienne had an injury when they signed him, Bocanegra said.

This season may have been especially frustrating because one of the players he was competing for time with, Edwin Mosquera, also missed most of the preseason because of an ankle injury he sustained while playing for his national team.

“It was a little bit unfortunate for him,” Bocanegra said. “And then, for whatever reason, it didn’t quite work out on the field and gel with the group. Derek’s a great, great kid. He had a good attitude, even when he wasn’t playing, even into this year. I mean, it was just, he was a real pro about it.”

The two sides spoke before preseason about possibly training Etienne if they could find a spot for him where he may able to play more.

“I‘m excited for Derrick,” Bocanegra said. “We wish it worked out differently here, but for him to go on and, he’s got a little bit of a fresh start, a new lease on life. Hopefully he gets some game time.”

After trading Etienne, the club moved Daniel Rios from a supplemental slot into a senior slot.

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Atlanta United’s 2024 schedule

Feb. 24 Columbus 1, Atlanta United 0

March 9 Atlanta United 4, New England 1

March 17 Atlanta United 2, Orlando 0

March 23 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 0

March 31 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 0

April 6 Atlanta United 1, NYCFC 1

April 14 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

April 20 Cincinnati 2, Atlanta United 1

April 27 at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.

May 4 vs. Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.

May 11 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

May 15 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

May 18 at Nashville, 1:30 p.m.

May 25 vs. LAFC, 7:30 p.m.

May 29 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

June 2 vs Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FOX

June 15 vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m.

June 19 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 22 at St. Louis, 8:30 p.m.

June 29 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

July 3 at New England, 7:30 p.m.

July 6 at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m.

July 13 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 17 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m.

July 20 vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

July 26 vs. D.C. United in Leagues Cup, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 4 vs. Santos Laguna in Leagues Cup, 4 p.m.

Aug. 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 31 at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 14 vs. Nashville, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 vs. Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 vs. Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Orlando, 6 p.m.