Giles Barnes

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

MLS comings & goings: Kitchen, Castillo, Henley arrive for 2018

Leave a comment

The next two weeks, leading up to players reporting for the start of preseason, are sure to be chock-full of signings made by all 23 MLS teams. A handful of key deals have been announced in the last 24 hours alone…

[ MORE: FC Dallas block USMNT call-ups in favor of CCL prep ]

For the last three seasons, the LA Galaxy attempted to play without a functioning midfield. It turned out… well, quite poorly, particularly in 2017 when Curt Onalfo’s Sigi Schmid’s side finished dead last in MLS, for the first time ever. Enter: Perry Kitchen (from D.C. United, for $300,000 in combined allocation money), five-year MLS veteran and fringe-U.S. national team defensive midfielder seeking a new club after two years in Europe (Hearts and Randers). Kitchen, who’s (somehow) still only 25, has more than 150 MLS appearances to his name (plus another 50-plus from his time in Europe). The Kitchen-Jonathan dos Santos/Joao Pedro double-pivot is a fantastic foundational unit. 7/10 — not flashy or sexy, but highly functional and priority no. 1

After finishing 20th in 2017, the Colorado Rapids’ massive rebuild has begun. Enter: USMNT and Monterrey left back Edgar Castillo, and Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Jack Price. Castillo is 31 and brings a wealth of experience at the club and international levels. Price, 25, joined the Wolves academy at the age of 8, and never left (save for a pair of loan spells) and made nearly 100 appearances between League One and the Championship. 5.5/10 — plugs a pair of holes with replacement-level (maybe slightly above) starters

For the first half of 2017, Real Salt Lake were arguably the worst team in MLS; for the second half of the season, Mike Petke’s side was inarguably one of the best (and youngest), ultimately missing the playoffs by a single point. So far this winter, RSL have made Brooks Lennon’s loan permanent, signed 26-year-old Spanish forward Alfredo Ortuño, and on Tuesday completed their capture of 23-year-old right back Adam Henley — an American-born Welsh international. As he’s only ever appeared in friendlies for Wales (and never played for U.S. youth national teams), Henley would be eligible for a one-time switch, should his development and play warrant such a move. 6/10 — a starting right back with upside, without giving anything away in a trade

Giles Barnes, 29, has bounced around MLS in recent seasons — from Vancouver, to Houston, to Orlando, all since 2016. Now, the English-born Jamaican international is headed south of the border, to Leon, where he’s been given a Cristiano Ronaldo-like VIP welcome.

Other lesser-known (but perhaps just as impactful) signings in MLS

Columbus Crew SC — 21-year-old Venezuelan midfielder Eduardo Sosa, from Venezuelan side Zamora (FULL RELEASE)

Minnesota United — 24-year-old Cameroonian attacker (2 caps, 1 goal) Frantz Pangop, from Cameroonian side Union Douala (FULL RELEASE)

Orlando City loses Kaka for six weeks

Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images
1 Comment

Orlando City’s acquisition of Giles Barnes looks particularly prescient right about now.

Kaka is set to miss six weeks after picking up a hamstring injury in Sunday’s season-opening 1-0 win over New York City FC.

[ MLS: Five takeaways from Week 1 ]

While Barnes isn’t a like-for-like replacement for the former Ballon d’Or winner, he was the focal point of an MLS attack for several years in Houston before a midseason trade to Vancouver last season.

From The Orlando Sentinel:

“He’s a great player and he’s a loss, certainly, but Giles [Barnes] came in and did extremely well,” Lions centerback Jonathan Spector said. “That’s one of the great things about this team, we have so much strength and depth. When someone like Kaká goes down and someone like Giles Barnes comes in. . . . I think we are in a really good position.”

Kaka has 19 goals and 15 assists in 55 MLS appearances, and will certainly be missed, but the England-born Barnes has 19 caps for Jamaica, and brings 33 MLS goals to the lineup.

Orlando City faces a short respite of schedule with New England, Columbus, and Philadelphia before the Red Bulls, Galaxy, and New York City (again).

Whitecaps acquire U.S. defender Brek Shea in deal with Orlando City

Alex Menendez/Getty Images
1 Comment

With almost a week to go until the Major League Soccer season kicks off, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Orlando City may have pulled off one of the biggest trades of offseason.

[ MORE: MLS negotiating to bring Chicharito to U.S. in 2018 ]

The clubs announced on Saturday that the Whitecaps have acquired U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder/defender Brek Shea in exchange for forward Giles Barnes, who is headed to Orlando City.

“We are excited to welcome Brek to our club and city,” said Whitecaps FC manager Carl Robinson. “Brek is a tall, physical, skilled player and will bring a different dimension to our attack. Brek will join the group in coming days and we anticipate he will be available for selection as early as this Thursday’s Champions League match against New York.”

Shea, 26, began his career in MLS with FC Dallas before heading to England for a brief stint with Stoke City. The U.S. defender made his way back to MLS ahead of Orlando City’s inaugural season in 2015 and started 39 matches in that span.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Meanwhile, Barnes has scored 33 goals since joining MLS in 2012. The 28-year-old forward played with the Houston Dynamo before spending last season with the Whitecaps.

MLS Snapshot: Houston Dynamo 1-0 Real Salt Lake (video)

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake are losers of three of their last four games following a 1-0 loss away to the bottom-of-the-Western-Conference Houston Dynamo. Having themselves sat second place in the West three short weeks ago, Jeff Cassar’s RSL has slumped to sixth in the West after failing to put a single shot on target over the course of 90 minutes on Sunday. Houston held the attacking trio of Yura Movsysian, Joao Plata and Juan Manuel “Burrito” Martinez (8 goals, 6 assists combined coming into Sunday) to a combined total of two shots on the afternoon. Giles Barnes bagged his fourth goal of the season, the game’s only one, taking advantage of a pair of failed clearances midway through the second half and beating goalkeeper Jeff Attinella inside the far post. With another victory next week, and a bit of help elsewhere, Houston can climb out of the Western cellar.

[ MORE: Catch up on Saturday night’s MLS action ]

Three moments that mattered

40′ — Torres heads a clear-cut chance over the bar — DaMarcus Beasley served up a delightful cross for Erick “Cubo” Torres, who’s still looking for his first Dynamo goal nearly 10 months later, and the Mexican striker bounced his finish over the bar.

65′ — Movsysian gets in one-on-one but chips over — Movsysian’s best chance all afternoon came moments before Houston scored to make it 1-0. In behind the defense, the big Armenian hurried his finish with Joe Willis rushing off his line and lifted the ball over the crossbar.

66′ — Barnes gets behind, finishes past Attinella — RSL failed to deal with a long, bouncing ball inside their defensive half. Barnes reacted quickest, and it was 1-0 just like that.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Giles Barnes

Goalscorers: Barnes (66′)

MLS Snapshot: Houston Dynamo 2-0 Sporting KC (video)

AP Photo/Bob Levey
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): Sporting Kansas City are now winless in six games after a 2-0 defeat away to the Houston Dynamo on Satuday. More troubling than the run of results is Sporting KC’s continued inability to create dangerous goal-scoring chances. Peter Vermes’ side enjoyed a whopping 67 percent of the game’s possession, but managed to put just three of 17 total shots on target. They never, ever looked like scoring or threatening Tyler Deric in goal. Brad Davis probably hoped his return to Houston, after spending 10 seasons wearing Dynamo orange, would have gone better. Alas, Houston (8 points) are still bottom of the Western Conference, but managed to crawl a point ahead of bottom-of-the-East side Chicago Fire in the race to avoid the Wooden Spoon (yes, that’s a real thing now). As for Sporting, they’ll remain sixth in the West for another week, but every side below the red cut-off line is creeping up on them.

[ MORE: Previewing the weekend in MLS ]

Three Two moments that mattered

29′ — Barnes smashes off the volley for 1-0 — A pair of failed clearances led to Barnes having a go with his left foot from the edge of the penalty area. That’s rarely a good thing for you.

45+1′ — Wenger roofs it from an unlikely angle — The inquest into how in the world Tim Melia didn’t make this save is underway in Kansas City. Wenger struck it well, but hit it right at Melia’s eyes.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Giles Barnes

Goalscorers: Barnes (30′), Wenger (45+1′)