SEATTLE — When the Seattle Sounders were putting together their roster ahead of the 2014 season, they did so with one eye toward the World Cup.
At the very least, they knew they’d be without the services of Clint Dempsey for a minimum of four matches. Finding someone who could replicate his exact talent-set was an impossible task, but adding some capable forwards who could help replace his production was an absolute must.
Three matches into Dempsey’s international absence, the Sounders seem to have done a pretty good job. Following Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of Real Salt Lake, the Sounders are now 2-0-1 and have scored seven goals since Dempsey joined the US national team ahead of the World Cup.
On the year, the Sounders are 3-1-1 with 10 goals scored in games without Dempsey.
“Anybody that has stepped in has done a great job,” said forward Chad Barrett. “We had a good strong lineup [Saturday], on paper I thought it was better than [RSL’s]. I thought we should be able to impose our will on them, and I thought we did.”
Although the acquisition of Barrett through the Re-Entry Draft was not considered one of the Sounders’ more significant offseason moves, he has proven a valuable piece to the puzzle with Dempsey away.
After scoring in his second consecutive game on Saturday -- the first time he’s managed that since 2011 -- Barrett now has three goals and one assist in just under 250 minutes of play. That’s good for 1.46 goals and assists per 90 minutes, which is the second best figure among MLS players with at least one goal and one assist this season.
About a month ago, Barrett admitted he was growing frustrated with his limited role, having played just 42 minutes in the Sounders’ first nine matches. But he also said he was trying to keep it to himself as long as the Sounders were winning.
Barrett bided his time, and waited for his opportunity to come. Now, he’s doing his part to get the Sounders in as good a position as possible when they have a full complement of players again.
“Chad is always a player that I have had a good relationship with, since I coached him on the [United States] Under-20s,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We always joked that one day I would find a way to get him onto a team that I am coaching, and it happened this year. He's an interesting fellow, I guess that’s a good way to put it, but he has banged away three goals for us this year and gotten one assist. He's scored some important goals for us and he has that ability and capability. I am very pleased.
“He's a big addition for us, along with Kenny [Cooper], because we there was going to be a time in the season we’d need those guys to come through.”