Did Whitecaps inherit Montreal’s headache, or the NASL MVP? By Steven Sandor Posted on January 18, 2012 1 0 547 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Etienne Barbara Can Martin Rennie sell the charm of playing with the Vancouver RailHawks, er, Whitecaps? Will it be enough of a calling card for Etienne Barbara? After the MLS Supplemental Draft was completed, the Montreal Impact traded its Discovery claim on reigning NASL MVP Etienne Barbara to the Whitecaps. In exchange, the Impact gets Gienier Garcia, the Cruz Azul youth team product who the ‘Caps took with the second overall pick in the Supplemental Draft. Rennie, who coached Barbara with the RailHawks last season, already has former Carolina players Matt Watson and Brad Knighton in Vancouver. But can he get the jewel in the crown? “Etienne is a fast, powerful player that can create goals,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Rennie. “He understands soccer in North America and has had a good career in Europe. If we are able to sign him, he will bring versatility to our line-up as a wide midfielder or a striker.” The problem may be the offer. Barbara flatly rejected the contract offer made to him by the Impact, which was believed to be a basic entry-level deal. Now, remember that MLS has central control of contracts, and this is where it gets interesting. How much of an improved offer can the Whitecaps make Barbara? MLS will likely not be too pleased if the Whitecaps wanted to make an offer that was significantly higher than Montreal. Yes, Barbara ran away with a scoring title last year, but that was at the NASL level. And, if a precedent is set that a player like Barbara can make decent dough right out of NASL, then the next great NASL prospects and their agents have a hill to die on. So, Vancouver’s pull has got to be Rennie and the RailHawks alumni. Maybe a nice orange third jersey for the Whitecaps. As welli, Rennie was able to squeeze a lot of out of a player who is known around North American soccer circles to be a difficult personality in the dressing room. But if money wins out over loyalty, then Vancouver may have inherited Montreal’s problem, not grabbed itself the NASL’s top player.