Etienne Barbara is accustomed to receiving awards in the North American Soccer League and his two goals that helped Minnesota United FC to the top of the 2013 Spring Season standings have earned him another honor.
Having scored twice in a 2-2 home draw in a top of the table clash against the Carolina RailHawks at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on Saturday, Barbara is the Week 5 NASL Player of Week.
In 2011, the Maltese forward won both the NASL Golden Ball award as the league MVP and the NASL Golden Boot award as the top scorer with 20 goals as a member of the RailHawks. Following a season with the Vancouver Whitecaps of MLS, he joined United FC in January this year.
“I’m personally very happy for scoring two goals, and my game is getting better and better with every game now,” said Barbara. “I give a lot of credit to the rest of the team. We played well and I thought we created enough chances to win the game.
“I thought we were slightly better than Carolina with the opportunities we made. It was disappointing for us all not to get three points, but I believe this shows the team is very strong and very competitive this year. If we adjust certain things, this can be a very, very good year for this team.”
Barbara opened his account against his former club with the game’s equalizer after 57 minutes. A flicked header from strike partner Pablo Campos sent him clear on a breakaway, and he calmly finished with a chipped shot over onrushing keeper Akira Fitzgerald. Seven minutes later Barbara powered home a penalty to edge Minnesota in front.
“It was great to see him score two goals,” said United coach Manny Lagos. “He had some really good energy and gave us a really good chance to win the game, so the award is well deserved.”
Barbara has made 32 appearances for Malta and scored three goals, including one during qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He has played professionally in Malta and Germany.
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