Monday, March 25, 2013
Frustrating start for Revs' striker
By Brian O'Connell
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It wasn’t the kind of game Chad Barrett would’ve preferred to make his first start in wearing a Revolution uniform.
Taking over at the target striker’s spot on Saturday in the absence of Jerry Bengtson, the 27-year-old veteran striker had to contend with gusty winds and a Sporting Kansas City side that dropped numbers, both of which conspired to keep the entire Revolution squad from registering a single shot on target.
“Well, you know going into the game, you know it’s going to be like that,” Barrett said following Saturday’s 0-0 draw. “You might get just one chance, you might get none.”
In his 63 minutes on the pitch, Barrett chased down a number of long balls into the attacking third and pretty much did anything he could to test Kansas City center backs Aurelien Collin and Ike Opara. Although he fought and clawed for every chance that came his way, the only successes he could muster were in the form of a pair of second-half fouls.
Nevertheless, Revolution head coach Jay Heaps praised Barrett’s work rate, even though the veteran forward wasn’t in peak condition.
“I thought Chad (Barrett) did a great job,” Heaps said after the game. “It’s a fitness (issue) at this point. Chad obviously joined us late in preseason and then he took an illness and was sick for a little while (and) had a virus. We had to be cautious with him. ... I thought he did a great job for 60 minutes.”
Fitness wasn’t the only issue Barrett was battling on Saturday. Deployed as the lone striker in a possession-oriented 4-2-3-1 formation, the gritty forward, who was accustomed to the two-striker formation from his days with the Los Angeles Galaxy, knew that he’d have to create chances on his own if he was going to grab a goal.
“In the formation we played, it was hard because sometimes I don’t have a lot of help,” Barrett said. “But that was what the game called for, that was the game plan.”
Even though he didn’t get a chance to record a single shot, Barrett claimed some measure of success in one sense.
“Pretty much my job was to create havoc out there, make sure if they did get their head on balls, they didn’t get a clean head on balls," he said. "(I) pretty much (fought) with them.”
It wasn’t the prettiest stuff, to be sure. And with Bengtson scheduled to return from World Cup Qualifying in time for next week’s clash against FC Dallas, Barrett may have to wait his turn until he gets another start.
Nevertheless, Barrett hopes that Saturday’s scoreless draw was an anomaly, and that the team’s attack will improve as the season progresses and the weather improves.
“Going forward, we will see what happens,” Barrett said. “You kind of got an ugly football game (on Saturday), but you know, hopefully, when the weather gets nicer and the wind settles down a little bit, we can play a little bit better soccer.”