In the midst of a rough team season, Giles Barnes has shown to be a positive. The Houston Dynamo forward came into the season as an incumbent starter at forward. While it's not been a perfect season by any means, he is showing his worth.
Saturday's 2-2 draw with Toronto FC showed it as the Englishman delivered the team's second goal with a pretty strike from 25 yards out. It is a reward for a player that knew what he needed to do and did it.
"I think you keep doing the right things and it pays off and Giles has been doing that," goalkeeper Tally Hall told MLSsoccer.com after Saturday's match. "He is an important player for us for an important reason. He's a very good soccer and very dangerous and he showed that tonight."
The season has not been all good for Barnes. He's gone through prolonged scoreless streaks, some of which have come from that lack of service and being deployed in midfield out of necessity. However, the work Hall spoke of has showed more on the field than on the stat sheet.
Barnes is second on the team in goals with five; a respectable number for a striker and on pace to match his nine goal output in 2013. But where his work has paid off is in his ability to put in full shifts that include defending, running at players and yes, scoring goals from time to time.
It has caught others' attention the past three weeks specifically as his play as helped a once silent attack spring to life.
"You need someone to give Giles the ball and we didn't have that for a couple of weeks," said center back David Horst. "Now we have Brad [Davis] and Boniek [García] back and they're getting Giles the ball in good spots and he's getting into great spots and you see what he can do when he gets in those spots."
While his teammates have commended his recent form, Barnes believes its par for the course. When asked about it by MLSsoccer.com, he said he feels he's had a good season overall, especially when he's been able to play alongside Will Bruin at forward.
Instead of talking about his individual form, he routed his responses into the team specifically saying the team as a whole has done better in the attack and that the unit needs to be better on defense after giving up another lead and having to settle for a draw.
"We're a team. We attack as a team, we defend as a team. It's a collective," Barnes said. "I'm just glad for the opportunity to be playing. [Head coach Dominic Kinnear] knows what he gets out of me and knows how to get it out of me. That's a credit to him as well and I hope to keep performing."
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.