When Orlando City selected UCF product Hadji Barry with the 13th pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, there were some mixed reviews about the choice, as the team traded up from the second round and gave away some Targeted Allocation Money in order to secure the striker staying in Orlando. While the jury is still out on whether it will work out or not, I couldn't help but draw comparisons back to the old USL days and striker Dennis Chin.
The more research I did on Barry and the more film I watched, the more I drew comparisons to the speedy striker that played for Orlando City from 2011-2014.
Both Barry and Chin are incredibly fast in their own right. Fans from the old days can remember Chinny burning defenses in his breakout year in 2012, setting the USL goal-scoring record at that time with 11 goals. Barry is very much the same in that respect, having the fastest 30-meter dash time at the MLS Combine with an incredible 3.88 seconds.
While both are fast, Barry has more control of the ball at his feet than Chin did and is able to break defenses down with bits of skill in the final third. Chin would always try to do the same, but was looser with the ball at his feet, often trying to do too much and giving away possession. Both players also have a very similar build, with very slim bodies and very long legs, enabling them to really stretch out their strides and get past defenders. Also, you can't forget about their love of busting out some dance moves on the field after scoring.
They also both have some of the same negatives in their game.
Chin was primarily a right-footed player, while Barry is a lefty. While Barry is more adept at using both feet, they both tend to try and use their predominant foot as much as possible. Both players also lack the finishing touch on goals. In my opinion, Chin was a better finisher of the two, but his goal production became inconsistent in 2013 and 2014, and Barry -- despite putting in 11 goals this past year for UCF -- still needs work if he is going to try and play as that lone striker. If he is deployed as a winger, his crossing ability also needs to be improved. Chin was mostly played as the up-top striker, but when he needed to put services into the box from the wing, they were at times inconsistent.
All in all, Chin was a hometown favorite with the fans and I can see the same thing happening with Barry. It may take a year to get the MLS style of play under his belt, but I feel that he can play at a high level in a system that will allow him to run circles around opposing defenses. Adrian Heath loved the pace that Chinny brought to the table and he definitely saw that in Barry as well.
So strap in and get your Hadji Barry chants ready, because it's going to be a fun, speedy ride.