Point-Counterpoint: Thoughts on Etienne’s Loan

Last week, The New York Red Bulls loaned Derrick Etienne to FC Cincinnati before the transfer window closed, with an option to buy.

Etienne joined the Red Bulls as a Homegrown player in 2016. After making a name for himself on loan at the New York Red Bulls II, the Haitian Messi began to see limited minutes in MLS. Despite high expectations for the player, it appears he is on his way out of the club following the loan move.

Is this move good for Etienne?

Katherine Vasile: It’s not a good move for Etienne because he built so much here with Red Bulls academy, NYRBII, and then finally the first team. He played a major factor in the locker room and on the field seeing as he singularly scored the goal that won Red Bulls the supporter shield in 2018.

Additionally, it isn’t a good move for him as a person, and a player, because he is being removed from the limelight of New York, to a city where they constantly underperform in all of their teams. New York begs of its players to rise to the occasion of playing in the “greatest city in the world. It elevates players to levels that would not be seen in smaller cities. The outcome of players leaving to smaller cities usually results in a drop of their play and fade in their career. Etienne was traded to a small city; even though he is a young player, it gives the risk of disenchanting his play and evidently his career.

Wilson Quiceno: It’s seems you’re coming from the homegrown emotional-attachment to him, and I can’t fault you for it. This club speaks on it and backs it up. We, the fans, are supposed to be attached to players EXACTLY like him. Especially in this case where he’s dubbed ‘Haitian Messi’. Unfortunately, the homegrown tag can only take the player so far, not only for this club or the league.

I went through through this emotional attachment early on, especially with Juan Agudelo. But the longer you stick around with RBNY, you become numb to these circumstances. Especially when these players don’t perform and bring what we ultimately want.

Yes, Etienne played at every level, but it seemed he hit his ceiling with NYRBII. He never got the break out most of us expected from him on the first team. His one major clutch goal, is the one you bring up to win the SS. But did you forget he missed at PK in the first half? Lastly, your argument is exactly WHY he needed to move and why it’s best for both parties. Being in bigger city like NY, fans expect results NOW. However I think he’s been given a good amount of opportunities to prove he deserves to be a starter but is too inconsistent.

I want him to improve and get better, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen here. It’s best he leaves his comfort zone, tries his luck elsewhere, and hopefully proves RBNY wrong. Maybe it was the coaches or maybe even the system that just wasn’t best for him to reach his full potential. Because without a doubt the talent is there.

However there have been questions of his work rate and professionalism in the locker room. Getting away from home could help him grow up a bit and see things in different perspective.

KV: I won’t disagree with you on possibly having a different perspective if he leaves. And you’re right, the emotional attachment is hard. Especially when we tend to say how much we love our homegrown players. Management says that, but does something completely different when it comes to them. Had he be given more full game time, I think he would have been a top player for us.

Is this move good for the Red Bulls?

WQ: Onto question 2, from the Red Bulls point of view, it’s nothing new. As shown with Miazga and Adams, we’re not afraid of letting players go, for whatever reason, because 1) we are a selling club; can’t keep the star homegrown forever. 2) If it’s not bringing in the cup and trophies, then keep it moving and sell while you can to bring in new players.

KV: I will agree with you completely. This is history repeating itself. One thing we perhaps should stop doing then is saying how much we pride ourselves in our homegrown, if we are so quick to let them go without giving them the proper growth in the first place.

If you were in charge of the team does this move happen?

KV: As for question 3, No. Etienne should have had more playing time and rather full starting time and then been subbed off. If priding ourselves of homegrown is what we do, then we should be focusing on our homegrown alongside new “talent” we bring in. Perhaps we are trying to move in a new direction, and I’m alright with that, but the homegrown talent hashtag needs to take a back seat for a while then. Let’s develop the team as a whole in a better solid unit.

WQ: Well no. We SHOULD continue to pride ourselves in our development, academy, path to the first team, because whether they perform well here or not, the players we produce can be good enough to become pro elsewhere. Plus, at the rate we’re promoting players from the academy to second team to first team, we’re way ahead of everyone in the league. Young players will want to come here. But again, MLS is becoming a selling league. Miguel Almiron was sold after his second year. Can’t keep good players forever. Money talks.

KV: Being ahead of everyone when it comes to academy, I’ll give you that. Especially after watching NYRBII win 5-1 this weekend! Haha!

Is this the end of Etienne’s time at RB?

WQ: Think about it, at the age of 20 in 2017, Etienne’s first full season with the club, he started 8 games, played in 18, and had 2 assists. Okay, we get it, young kid still getting adjusted to the pros. Come 2018, at 21, he’s expected to compete for a full time spot and bang in some goals. He did, with 5 goals, yet only 1 assist in 30 games, 9 of which he started. And this season, early on it just looked like he wasn’t motivated and looked like the same player from the past year. It looked like he hit his ceiling, which was disappointing.

Is this the end? Sigh, unfortunately, I think so. His social media seems to be pointing elsewhere now, which again, could be best for him to try his skills elsewhere. How do you think FC Dallas fans felt when their prized possession, Kellyn Acosta, was traded within the league to a conference rival? He was supposed to be sold to Europe and be the next Weston McKennie. He’s had an extremely quiet year. Bit of a drop from him. Another Agudelo case, sadly. This could be an overall US player development issue. That’s a topic for another day haha!

KV: The number one thing that you point out is his social media. When someone shuns the system, I doubt they have any intention in bringing him back. Who knows? Maybe he will develop more and prove RBNY wrong, but as for him coming back, that’s a no. He also was put in so many positions that in which he wasn’t able to succeed fully due to the lack of play for time. And sure it’s an overall US player development issue, rather an MLS issue as a whole it seems lately. We can FOR SURE dig into that another day!

Whether or not Etienne is making his way back here after the loan, is still in question. What isn’t in question is his time, and efforts, with the squad. All we can do now is wish him good luck for the future and thank him for his time with us.

Photo by Bill Twomey Photography

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