Englishman Giles Barnes joined the Houston Dynamo during the summer transfer window in 2012. Although he started just one game for the Orange (four appearances), his skillset on the ball was evident.
Known primarily as a playmaking midfielder, the former Derby County man has found the back of the net eight times in 2013, tying him for the team lead with Will Bruin. With three header goals he is also tied for third in MLS just behind Red Bull’s Tim Cahill (7) and Seattle’s Eddie Johnson (4).
The 25-year-old is in double figures for the year since he also found the net with excellent strikes against FC Tucson in the U.S. Open Cup and against Stoke City in the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup.
His scoring prowess and a lengthy injury to forward Omar Cummings led to a move from midfield to the forward line for head coach Dominic Kinnear’s group. Barnes hasn’t disappointed, playing in 29 games (28 starts) for over 2,200 minutes this season.
Barnes is successful because he is a smart player who knows the game and as a result, he is extremely versatile, having even played as a defensive midfielder with his previous club the Doncaster Rovers.
However, he is best in an offensive role as he has a penchant for the spectacular and likes to run from deep with the ball at his feet.
According to Opta, Barnes has taken 60 shots in MLS this year, eleventh-most in the league, and the Dynamo are 5-0-1 this year when the former English Premier League man hits the net.
Limiting his shooting opportunities will be a key ingredient for the Impact in getting a result in Houston this Friday night.
The Impact takes on the Houston Dynamo this Friday at BBVA Compass Stadium at 8:30pm .