For months Giles Barnes has talked about not losing confidence. On Saturday night his resolve finally paid off.
Barnes scored his fourth goal of the season May 8 in a 4-0 rout of D.C. United. Since then, the British striker has endured a three-and-a-half-month drought without a goal in MLS play. Despite that skid, Barnes maintained a team-first attitude in his responses to questions about his effectiveness and talked about keeping his head down and working hard.
Bagging a first-half brace for his first multi-goal game in MLS, Barnes led Houston to a 3-1 win over the Seattle Sounders as his production finally caught up to his confidence.
“It’s always nice to get on the score sheet, but first and foremost your confidence comes from playing well with the team and working hard with the team,” Barnes said. “If you work hard you’ll get your rewards and hopefully that’s what I’m doing. I’m working hard and hopefully the rewards will come.”
His contributions were a big part of a fast start that put Houston out front and forced Seattle to chase the game. For the first 30 minutes the Dynamo were quick to the ball and by extension, the chances flowed for Houston, with Barnes and fellow forward Will Bruin in the thick of things.
“The first 30 minutes were probably the best 30 minutes we’ve played this year,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “I think we were excellent on both sides of the ball. Giles scored a good goal and followed up with a great goal. I thought we could’ve been 3-0 up and possibly more.”
In the 17th minute, for the first time since early May, Barnes didn’t miss. A key run from Bruin, who scored for the second time in three games in the 74th minute, pulled Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning off his line and Barnes made sure his chance would count.
“That’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to score goals,” Bruin said. “I think me and Giles are getting back on that same page that we were at the beginning of the year. That’s going to be dangerous come these last few games.”
In true Barnes fashion, he added a bit of flash with his second goal of the night. Just five minutes after his first goal in months, Barnes teed up a 30-yard blast that reminded the fans of the exploits of long-range specialist Adam Moffat and showed just the type of danger he can bring.
“One goal’s decent, right? He might want to score five or six though,” Moffat joked about Barnes’ bomb after the game. “The second one was top-class. It’s great confidence from the forwards scoring goals. When they score goals, good things happen.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.