It took Giles Barnes nearly three months to conjure up his first goal in a Vancouver Whitecaps kit. But when the floodgates finally opened, both player and club reaped the benefits.
Barnes won the final MLS Player of the Week award of 2016, bagging two goals in Sunday's 4-1 Whitecaps thumping of the Portland Timbers, a result that earned Vancouver the Cascadia Cup – their third such triump in four years – and ended their regional rivals' playoff hopes.
Barnes' brace was a study in contrasts.
First, the Jamaican international opened the scoring at BC Place with a one-touch left-footed piledriver into the roof of Jake Gleeson's net from the top of the 18-yard box just 13 minutes into the match.
He then followed it up with an impressive solo effort down the left channel some 19 minutes later, winning a challenge vs. Alvas Powell and surging into the box before steering an angled low curler into the bottom far corner past an unsighted Gleeson just before a crowd of Timbers converged on him.
Vancouver's dominant victory was too little, too late to get them into the 2016 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. But it represented welcome consolation at the end of a tough campaign – and sweet relief for Barnes, who arrived in British Columbia via a trade with the Houston Dynamo on July 30 and had notched only one assist in nine previous league games for the Whitecaps. He finishes his season with 6 goals and 3 assists in all.
The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.