Chad Barrett's 46 career goals make him the Revolution's current most accomplished MLS scorer on the roster. But despite being a veteran of the league, Barrett, 28, has seen almost all of his contributions as a member of the Revolution come from being a substitute. He has two goals this season, both of which he scored after being substituted into the game past the 80-minute mark. His latest late-game score came last Saturday and served as the Revolution's dramatic equalizer at Chivas USA.
Barrett was happy to score, but is nowhere near as enthusiastic about spending more time on the bench than on the field.
He says he's not meant to be bench warming.
"Nobody ever sees themselves as the super-sub," said Barrett after practice on Wednesday. "Nobody ever wants to be that. I don't want to sit on the bench, I want to be on the field."
"You shouldn't be here if you don't want to be on the field," he added.
Yet Barrett has had to make the most of a very competitive situation with his fellow forwards. The situation is different with every striker on the roster.
He's ahead of Matt Horth in the pecking order and seems to have past Dimitry Imbongo too.
Then there's Saer Sene and Diego Fagundez, who have both continued to thrive this season. Sene has rebounded from a torn ACL and has injected much-needed life into New England's attack and has been able to contribute as a forward or wide midfielder. Fagundez continues to be the key offensive spearhead of the group and has proven over and over that he can either finish a scoring chance or create one.
The situation with the Revolution's two other forwards, Juan Agudelo and Jerry Bengston, has allowed Barrett more chances to prove himself. Agudelo has been a key part of the Revolution's attack, but his starting spot is currently open as he rehabilitates a sprained knee injury that he sustained in an Open Cup match against DC United .
"There's a vacancy out there that needs to be filled," acknowledged Barrett. "[Agudelo] was doing a fantastic job before he got hurt. It's a struggle to get on without him but we definitely have the firepower on this team to get on without him. We have many players on this team that can score and I'm one of them and I want to prove it."
He's definitely proving he can score better than Bengston. The Honduran Designated Player has scored just three times in 24 total appearances all-time for the Revolution. So Barrett, who was subbed on for Bengston against Chivas USA on Saturday, made a major statement by scoring the equalizer after being on the field for just five minutes.
"If you can score a goal in five minutes, they start asking what he can do with 90 minutes," explains Barrett. "That's what I've tried to get Jay to ask himself. I've had a couple of meetings with him."
Heaps and Revolution General Mike Burns like that there's this fierce competition within the team for starting spots. For one, it gives the Revolution plenty of depth. It also ups the value of every position on the field.
"We want guys to be push each other," Heaps has said. "We want there to be competition there. There's opportunity there."
Barrett's experience added major depth and competition to the roster when he signed for New England after being selected in the 2012 Re-entry draft. He won two titles with the Los Angeles Galaxy and was also a reliable scorer for both the Chicago Fire and Toronto FC.
Barrett may finally be turning a corner with the Revolution after impressing both off the bench and as a starter in the Open Cup. With Agudelo injured and Bengston gun-shy in front of the net, this weekend's game against the San Jose Earthquakes could be Barrett's opportunity to shine as a starter.
If he does start, it will be his first since a 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City on March 23. Strong winds, near 25 mph, limited the scoring opportunities for both teams that day.
"You kind of got an ugly football game," Barrett said afterwards. "Hopefully when the weather gets nicer and the wind settles down a little bit more, we can play a little bit better soccer.”
The Gillette Stadium field should be sun-soaked on Saturday against San Jose--with minimal winds. Barrett will be hoping for the start and a goal to go with it.
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