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Anatomy of a Goal: Giles Barnes Equalizer

This week we look at Orlando’s tying goal.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Anatomy of a Goal, where each week we dissect one goal (or near goal) from the previous week’s Columbus Crew SC match.

For match 26 on the 2017 MLS Season, we take a look at Giles Barnes’s 67th minute goal that put Orlando City SC level with Crew SC at 1-1, as part of the draw on Saturday.

Here’s a look at the finish from the Orlando attacker.

After entering halftime up 1-0, the Black & Gold played on the back foot for much of the second half. New Designated Player signing Pedro Santos entered the match, but had little effect up to this point. The Lions’ goal seemed like it had been coming the entire half.

Orlando City’s equalizer began with center-back Tommy Redding picking up the ball just across the midfield line in his defensive half. Redding sees a wide open Cyle Larin (just to the right of the image) and plays an entry pass to the feet of the striker.

With the ball on the wing, Larin has space in front of him and can either play a pass to his strike partner Carlos Rivas, dribble the ball at Crew SC center-back Lalas Abubakar, or pass down the line to right back Scott Sutter.

The Columbus defense has a five-man backline, featuring both wing backs, with two defensive midfielders right in front of the center back trio.

Larin decides to carry the ball forward and is met by the Black & Gold’s newest addition, Santos. Under pressure, Larin once again has the same three options.

This time, Larin decides to slide the ball over to his right-back, Sutter, who is immediately defended by Waylon Francis. With the ball at his feet and no path forward, Sutter can pass the ball back into Larin, drop the ball back to Rivas, or dribble the ball backward to create more space.

Sutter finds Larin in the penalty box, who has his back to the goal and is defended by Abubakar.

With his back to the goal and Abubakar providing pressure, Larin has three options as Sutter cuts toward the goal. If Sutter is able to beat Francis, he can play a slotted pass to his right back, Larin can drop the ball back to Rivas or attempt to beat Abubakar off the dribble.

Sutter’s run goes nowhere, so Larin drops the ball back to Rivas.

Larin’s pass lacks pace, allowing Mohammed Abu to pressure the Orlando striker.

Rivas and Abu fight for the ball, and just as it looks like Abu might be about to set off on a Columbus counter attack . . .

. . . Rivas deflects the ball to teammate Cristian Higuita.

At the top of the triangle is the eventual goalscorer, Barnes. Wil Trapp is just to the left of Barnes, and should be marking the Lions’ attacker.

In the above video, Higuita uses an excellent turn to get around Abu, and send himself toward the goal and into a position to eventually slot the ball into Barnes.

Having left Abu behind, Higuita and Rivas both head toward the Black & Gold’s goal. Barnes is still near Trapp, though Trapp will totally abandon the midfielder.

With a touch from Rivas, Higuita continues his run forward. Abubakar leaves Larin to Francis and heads toward Higuita. Barnes begins his run in the channel between the Crew SC center backs. Trapp does not follow Barnes.

Here, Higuita can see that Barnes has beaten Trapp. If Higuita is able to beat Abubakar with a pass then Barnes should be in on goal.

In the middle of the 18-yard-box, Jonathan Mensah defends Dom Dwyer and holds Barnes onside.

Higuita plays a pass right between the legs of Abubakar as Barnes’s has easily beaten Trapp. Trapp still hasn’t attempted to recover from leaving Barnes open.

Here, is a quick video of Higuita’s pass right between the legs of Abubakar. The Columbus center back leaves himself open for a nutmeg and Higuita makes the perfect pass right into the path of Barnes.

Just as Higuita’s pass heads toward Barnes, you can see that the Orlando attacker was held onside by Jonathan.

From the side angle, Barnes was likely one to two yards onside as Higuita nutmegged Abubakar.

With only the goalkeeper between him and the goal, Barnes can continue dribbling forward, fire a quick shot or slot a pass into the path of Dwyer.

Barnes decides to keep dribbling and, once inside the six-yard-box, hits his shot from an incredibly difficult angle. Zack Steffen has cut off the near post, so Barnes must look to between the keeper’s legs.

The above video shots multiple angles of Barnes’ difficult shot. Steffen positions himself well, only leaving a difficult angle to the back post open for Barnes.

Barnes’s shot just beats Steffen and Josh Williams . . .

. . . and caroms of the post for the equalizer from a difficult angle.


  1. The Columbus defense does an admirable job of defending Larin in this sequence. Even when Abubakar leaves Larin to mark Higuita, Francis slides over to cover the Lions’ striker.
  2. Abubakar’s nutmeg is embarassing and shows how raw the young center back still is. A nutmeg can happen to any player, but Abubakar totally opens himself up to Higuita rather than trying to force the midfielder away from the goal.
  3. Trapp totally shuts off on this play. Barnes is obviously his responsibility, but the Black & Gold’s captain leaves Kaka’s replacement alone to run right into the box.
  4. Barnes scored an excellent goal from a really difficult angle. Once he was able to take that shot there was very little Steffen could do other than defend the near post and force a difficult shot (which he did).