Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.
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Minnesota United FC announced Thursday a trade sending forward Etienne Barbara to Tampa Bay for forward Mike Ambersley.
Barbara, a former MVP of the North American Soccer League, signed with United in January along with reigning league MVP Pablo Campos. Envisioned to give the team a jolt in both ticket sales and goal scoring, the duo combined for just six goals. They scored 35 for Carolina back in 2011.
Barbara, who missed time with injuries, scored twice as United tied for fifth in the seven-team league during the spring season.
Ambersley also scored twice in the spring after helping the Rowdies to the 2012 NASL championship with a league-best eight assists in the regular season. In 2011, Ambersley was named to the league’s Best XI all-star team.
A knee injury kept Ambersley out of the Rowdies lineup for part of the spring season but said in an article posted in late June on the team’s website that his health has returned.
“I think I can add a bit more consistency attacking-wise”, Ambersley said in the article. “I just try to bring the ability to hold the ball up and get my other teammates involved in dangerous areas. My main focus is to score goals and hopefully create them too.”
The Barbara trade is United’s second in two weeks. Midfielder Bryan Arguez was sent to Carolina in exchange for RailHawks midfielder Floyd Franks.
Minnesota begins the season’s second leg at 7 p.m. Saturday at the National Sports Center in Blaine against spring season champion Atlanta.