Hadji Barry played a key role for Orlando City B in 2017, nearly helping the USL side reach the postseason for the second consecutive season. While the striker made the bench on several occasions, he was never able to play a similar role for the first team, only taking a small part in three league games.
OCB had four strikers heading into the 2017 season with Albert Dikwa, Ben Polk, Michael Cox, and Barry. The second-year player’s first game for the reserve side came on April 4 and he converted right away, scoring in the 41st minute against Toronto FC II. He scored back-to-back goals on June 3 and June 7 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Rochester Rhinos, respectively, and he took over as the team’s long threat up top.
It was difficult for Barry to find a rhythm because he found himself bouncing up and down between the senior team and the reserves, but when he finally ended up seeing consistent minutes with OCB in August, he caught fire. Between Aug. 5 and 19, Barry scored in four straight games, netting a brace on Aug. 16 against Ottawa Fury FC. After being called up to the senior team for a brief period, he returned to score the winner for OCB on Oct. 1 against the Richmond Kickers and converted a penalty in the team’s 6-5 loss to the New York Red Bulls II on Oct. 7.
While he was the main threat for OCB, scoring seven more goals than the second top scorer, he played sparingly for the first team. In the end, his impact was minimal, only getting 11 total league minutes on the field.
For OCB, Hadji Barry had a great year for the USL side, especially considering he spent much of the season moving up and down between OCB and the MLS team. He played in 18 games for OCB in 2017, starting in all but one, and scored a team-leading 10 goals. He was the only real threat for the young Lions as the next highest scorers on the team only had three goals (Albert Dikwa, Fernando Timbo, Lewis Neal, Pierre Da Silva, and Richie Laryea).
While Barry saw his name on the team sheet 15 times throughout the MLS season, he only saw the field three times for 11 minutes. The only time he played more than one minute was on March 18 against the Philadelphia Union, when he came on for the final nine minutes. He only achieved one shot, coming against the LA Galaxy on April 15, and it was off target.
For OCB, Barry’s best game came on Aug. 16 when he netted a brace against Ottawa Fury FC. Coming near the end of the team’s 12-game unbeaten run, Barry was in the middle of a stretch where he scored in four straight games. While Seb Hines scored the initial goal in the 34th minute, Barry put the game away with goals in the 60th and 71st minutes, lifting the young Lions to a 3-0 win.
The lack of minutes makes it difficult to distinguish one performance over the others, but Barry’s best MLS performance in 2017 would have to be on April 9 against the LA Galaxy, simply because his one shot attempt was his only recorded stat of the season. He did play 69 minutes against Miami FC in the U.S. Open Cup on June 14, before being replaced by Carlos Rivas, but he also only recorded one shot in that game.
Final 2017 Grade
If we were grading for his performance with OCB, Barry would probably receive at least an eight as he scored 10 goals in 18 appearances and was a huge factor in the young Lions’ chances at the postseason. However, as we are grading for the MLS side, Barry’s lack of playing time earns him an incomplete, as there simply is not enough to go on.
Barry has shown that he’s a good striker and can contribute in MLS. Jason Kreis has stated that there will be a shakeup to the roster heading into the 2018 season, so, considering that neither he nor the club will want him toiling away in the USL, that will probably result in either Barry’s departure or playing a backup role to Dom Dwyer and whoever is the other starting striker in 2018.