Orlando City SC recently required Giles Barnes in a trade that saw Brek Shea sent to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Shea was mostly a back-line player for Orlando who was converted to that position from the midfield. A natural left midfielder playing along the back line was not always necessarily a first-choice option for Orlando and Jason Kreis, but it became a necessary one. Now as Kreis starts to put his team together the way he sees fit, it was necessary to send Shea on his way.
Now, insert Barnes into the lineup.
The Jamaican international has become a reputable forward in the league since first coming on to the scene in MLS in the 2012 season. In his time, he has scored 33 goals over six seasons. One of those seasons, however, only consisted of 10 games played and just over 700 minutes of action last season in Vancouver.
In considering Barnes vs. Shea, the first thing you have to look at is goal scoring. Barnes has been solid in scoring for his teams in the past — in his five years in Houston, Barnes played really well and became a go-to goal scorer. Shea, on the other hand, had not been a go-to player for the Lions. For the most part, Shea was a letdown over the course of his time in Orlando, never seeming to find his way.
The next thing to consider between the two is the ability to create chances. While Shea has, to no fault of his own, bounced back and forth from left back to left midfielder, his ability to create has dwindled. In the case of Barnes, we don’t have uncertainty as to whether he will mostly be used defensively or offensively. Instead, we know for sure he is going to be used on the offensive side of things.
The expectation of Barnes is to play either a forward role or, more than likely, the attacking midfielder role that Shea has departed from. In Houston, Barnes created 81 chances for the Dynamo. While this is by no means a great number, it’s more than what Shea was contributing. Shea averaged 16.5 chances created per season for the Lions.
Barnes was once one of the hottest names in English soccer before injuries caused a major stall in his career. This led him to Houston where he paced the Dynamo in goal scoring two different times.
The expectations for Barnes in an Orlando City uniform are not of what he did in Vancouver, but better yet what he did in his time in Houston. If Orlando City can get the goal scorer that MLS witnessed in Houston, then Orlando for sure wins this trade.
While Shea had the ability to be a good contributor for Orlando, he was failed at times by not being used correctly. With Barnes, the room for failure is minimal. Being put in a position to succeed will be the best way to start off his career in Orlando.
Giles Barnes has the potential to be a major player with Orlando this season. The reason Orlando went to get Barnes is because the Lions are serious about making a playoff push right now. It can be guaranteed that if Barnes finds his form, then Orlando City can be more than just a threat — the Lions just might be contenders.