Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid and forward Chad Barrett have a relationship going way back. Before joining Seattle last season, Barrett had wanted to play again for Sigi for a long time. His signing wasn’t met with much fanfare what exactly the great coach saw in the scrappy veteran was up for debate.
the beginning of 2014, Barrett was used as a super star sub. A Tasmanian devil, he injected energy and direct play in the waning moment of matches and his minutes always paid dividends. Over the first 12 games of the season, he came on late in 7 games playing a total of 100 minutes Barrett logged one goal, 2 assists and 4 shots, all on goal in those 100 minutes. These numbers are, of course, affected by the tyranny of small sample size. But a player logging something like 1 G 1 A, and 4 SOG per 100 is elite.
Soon after this run Barrett became a lineup fixture, starting 6 straight and appearing ( starting or subbing on for significant minutes) in 17 straight games. The World Cup and roster congestion contributed to these starts, but Barrett was earning them (as opposed to say, Kenny Cooper, but that is a different post). Though Barrett wasn’t the biggest name added before 2014, he seemed to be, with Pappa, one of the best.
He earned his roster spot and playing time as late game instant offense. Then this season happened. Barrett has already played more minutes in the first 5 games this year than he did in the first 12 last year. He subbed on against L.A. and San Jose and started against Dallas. In those 109 minutes, Barrett has registered 0 goals, 0 assists and only 2 shots, neither on goal. Again, small sample sizes, but his play isn’t passing the eyeball test.
Sigi only uses Barrett in offense-needed situations. In the two games where we didn’t need more goals (protecting the lead against Houston, or already routing New England) Barrett rides the pine. But against SJ, Dal, and L.A. when we needed a goal, Sigi called on #19. Barrett has one job, and he isn’t producing.
I propose that instead of relying on veteran to provide late game energy and attack, we instead serve youth. What’s the point of playing him over someone like Mansaray? If you’re chasing a goal and just looking to re-energize the attack, why not put on a pure striker, a young kid with energy to burn. Mansaray is more than a decade younger than Barrett (a decade!) and, as a HGP, doesn’t cost a thing. Barrett’s veteran depth on the roster is fine for now (though I have a scheme for that that involving signing a real winger and relegating Neagle to just the third striker spot, making Barrett redundant).I want to see Mansaray coming on with 20 minutes left. I want to see him have the chance to earn minutes like Barrett did last year.