Week #25 NASL Players of the Week: Danny Barrera & Jeff Attinella
MIAMI, Fla. (Sept 24, 2012) –
Atlanta Silverbacks midfielder Danny Barrera has been named North American Soccer League Offensive Player of the Week, the league announced Monday.
The 5-foot-9 midfielder finished the 2012 season strongly, tallying a goal and three assists in the Silverbacks’ final two games this past week. Barrera, born in Bogotá, Colombia, led the Silverbacks to a 3-1 win over the first-place San Antonio Scorpions on Wednesday night in Atlanta, assisting on all three goals. He followed up that performance with a goal just a few nights later in the Silverbacks’ 1-1 draw with the Puerto Rico Islanders in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
“We had one of the strongest finishes out of any team in the league this year, and for me to be able to help the team achieve those results feels really good,” Barrera said. “I’m glad I was finally able to create some goals, and very happy to go out on a high note this season.”
The former UC-Santa Barbara standout joined the Silverbacks in 2012 after leading amateur side Cal FC past a pair of professional teams in this year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. He was named Lower Division Player of the Tournament, serving as an instrumental part in Cal FC’s unprecedented run into the fourth round under coach Eric Wynalda. Although still just 22 years old, Barrera has also played professionally for Spartak Zladibor Voda in Serbia.
“Danny has been working hard and playing very well to close out the season,” said Silverbacks Head Coach Brian Haynes. “It’s good to see him being recognized for his play on the field, and I think it’s just a testament to the effort he has put forth since joining the club.”
Barrera tallied a goal and four assists in nine appearances for the Silverbacks this season. He is the sixth Silverbacks player to earn league honors this year, joining goalkeeper Daniel Illyes, midfielder Ciaran O’Brien, and forwards Reinaldo Navia, Matt Horth, and Pedro Mendes.
The former U.S. youth international helped the Silverbacks post one of the league’s best second-half records. The team only dropped one of its last nine contests in 2012, tallying four wins and four draws to go along with one loss to conclude the season.
Tampa Bay Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella has been named the North American Soccer League Defensive Player of the Week for the fifth time this season and the seventh time in his career, the league announced on Monday.
The University of South Florida alumni had two great games last week, helping Tampa Bay secure second place in the standings as well as a spot in the NASL Semifinals. On Wednesday night, Attinella made seven saves in the 1-1 draw against the RailHawks, including a spectacular series of saves in the second half as the Rowdies were able to pick up the point that secured a bye to the semifinals.
On Saturday, the Clearwater native picked up his 11th shutout of the season and 16th clean sheet of his career in Carolina. His three saves in the 0-0 draw helped Tampa Bay end the regular season in second place, as well as extend the Rowdies unbeaten streak to six games.
The five Player of the Week honors are the most by a defensive player in the NASL this season and tied for most overall with San Antonio’s Pablo Campos, who has claimed the offensive award five times.
“I’m really honored to win this award,” said Attinella. “This was obviously a huge week for us and we needed to get positive results to clinch a bye into the semis. I’m glad that I could do my part in helping that happen, but overall I thought it was a great team effort.”
Attinella, who has started all 28 games this season, finished first in the NASL Regular Season with 118 saves and second in the league with a goals against average of 1.07. The honor marks the 12th time a Tampa Bay player has received a weekly NASL offensive or defensive award, the most for any team in the league in 2012.