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Red-hot Barbara named NASL Player of the Month; FC Edmonton’s Porter second

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Etienne Barbara scored seven times in May.
News is made when something out of the ordinary happens. The classic case of man bites dog.

So, the fact that Carolina RailHawks striker Etienne Barbara was named the NASL’s player of the month for May isn’t news — but it is interesting.

Barbara, who scored seven goals and added five assists in, ahem, just five May games was a unanimous selection among the 15 NASL reporters who cast ballots.

Barbara already has 12 goals this season — which is 10 games old. He has already smashed the Carolina franchise’s all-time mark for goals in a single season. And we are barely in June.

Barbara was also the player of the month for April.

“I’m very happy to have received this award for a second month,” Barbara said in a release from NASL. “As I always say, I cannot perform without my teammates and what coach does for us. I share this with them as well. I’m very happy for it, and I’m going to keep working hard and try to achieve more.”

How The 11 voted: Well, it was unanimous, wasn’t it? So logic will tell you that this media organization’s vote went to Barbara.

In fact, I joked with league officials this week that the monthly honour could be renamed the “Etienne Barbara” award.

Really, the Maltese striker is the best story in all of North American pro soccer right now, MLS, USL or NASL. He’s made no secret of the fact that he wants to have a shot at playing in MLS, and he’s transformed this campaign into a fine advertisement for his skills.

The real race was for second. And that went to FC Edmonton’s Kyle Porter, who scored four times this month and has been a dominant force down the right side of his team’s attack. Porter got The 11’s second-place vote.

Barbara and the RailHawks visit Edmonton on Friday in what should be maybe the most compelling match of the NASL schedule so far this season. How will Barbara and co. adjust to the Foote Field turf?

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