Barnes Debut

Giles Barnes Steps Up In Orlando City Debut

In the 11th minute of Orlando City’s first match of the season, Team Captain Kaká goes down with an injury. Giles Barnes, a striker that has only been with the team for less than a week, has only a few seconds to warm-up before heading onto the pitch to replace a legend.
Barnes had every reason to be hesitant, to make mistakes. Instead, he assisted on the first goal in Orlando City’s new stadium on his first touch within five minutes of coming onto the pitch.
“He did well,” Head Coach Jason Kreis said after the match. “I think that he’s still learning with exactly what is expected of him when he plays in that midfield role. I think naturally he’s a bit more of a second striker and to put him in that wide position there is a real defensive role for him. And so we’ll have to continue to work with him on that. But obviously, coming into the game like that the way he did, almost zero warmup, he had to throw himself in there. It was a difficult one to join and obviously very, very pleased with his assist on the goal.”
In that moment, Barnes knew that he needed to step up. But he said that Kreis made it very easy on him, giving him all the guidance he needed to be successful.
“I thought it went pretty well,” Barnes said. “It’s easy when you’ve got instructions. Jason is very meticulous, very strategic in everything that he does. He makes everything very simple. He explained to me what my role was if I had to come on in any of the front four positions, so I knew exactly what I needed to do.”
What does your coach tell you, when you come on as an emergency replacement ten minutes into Orlando City’s first match of the season? “Focus, remember where the set plays are, and enjoy it, enjoy the atmosphere.”
And within five minutes, Barnes has an assist on the first goal of Orlando City’s season, the first goal in the new stadium. He only had one word to describe the feeling: “Incredible.”
For Barnes, the future remains uncertain. His role will depend in part on the health of Kaká, which remains uncertain. But Barnes is prepared, as he was prepared tonight, to step up when his team needs him. He proved himself in his first match; a true Lion, through and through.


UPDATE: April 17, 2020 - Based on the most recent government guidance, Major League Soccer has extended the postponement of its matches until at least June 8. Major League Soccer remains focused on playing the entire 2020 season, and is evaluating all options, including pushing back the end of the season and playing MLS Cup in December or later. Throughout this process, MLS will continue to prioritize the safety of our fans, players, employees and partners and to coordinate with federal and local public health authorities as well as other sporting organizations.