The Vancouver Whitecaps have added another dynamic attacker to what was already the 3rd most potent offense in the Western Conference, acquiring Jamaican forward Giles Barnes in a trade with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening.
In exchange, the Dynamo receive General Allocation Money and a right of first refusal for Costa Rican defender Keyner Brown. The Dynamo also retain a percentage of any future transfer fees for Barnes, if he is moved outside of MLS.
Barnes, 27, made 131 appearances across all competitions for the Dynamo, scoring 34 goals. This season, he has four goals in 14 league matches. Prior to joining the Dynamo, he played several years in his native England with Derby County, West Bromwich Albion, and Doncaster Rovers.
A mainstay for the Jamaican team since switching his allegiance early in 2015, Barnes has since earned 18 caps for the Reggae Boyz, scoring three goals and helping them reach the final of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
In Vancouver, Barnes will link up with a side that already possesses plenty of firepower, including Cristian Techera, Masato Kudo, Blas Perez, and Kekuta Manneh. None of them, however, possesses the combination of power, pace, and experience that Barnes brings.
"Giles is a dynamic offensive player in the prime of his career," Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said in a statement. "He knows MLS, has experience at the top levels in England, and is a great character in the locker room. We're very excited to add him to our group."
For the Dynamo, the deal clears the way to pick up a player they've been linked with for several weeks now. Brown, 24, is currently under contract with Costa Rican side Herediano, but was on trial with the Dynamo earlier this month. The completion of the deal with Vancouver will allow the Dynamo to negotiate with Brown and close the deal.
Houston have endured a withering season so far. They currently lie in last place in the West, and they let go of head coach Own Coyle on May 25, when they club was 3-7-2. Under interim head coach Wade Barrett, they have made some progress, going 1-2-5; however their playoff chances remain very slim.
Trading Barnes is the second move the Dynamo have made in the past week or so. On July 22, they picked up midfielder Eric Alexander in a deal with the Montreal Impact. Both moves and the potential acquisition of Brown suggest that Jordan and Barrett are not waiting for the offseason to begin the long process of rebuilding the roster.
Furthermore, the deal should open up more opportunities for the Dynamo's young forwards, Erick "Cubo" Torres and Mauro Manotas. Each has made only nine appearances this year, and neither has found the back of the net yet.
“We’d like to thank Giles for all of his contributions both on and off the field during his time in Houston and we wish him well,” Dynamo Vice President and General Manager Matt Jordan said in a statement. “We felt this move was in the best interest of our club moving forward, providing us with valuable roster and budget flexibility while bringing in valuable assets both in the short and long term.”