Chad Barrett has made a habit of creating memorable moments with Sounders FC. In his first appearance, he scored a game-winner in stoppage time in the regular season opener against Sporting Kansas City for his first goal in Seattle.
On Saturday, Barrett celebrated his first start for Sounders FC by netting his second goal of the season, snapping a header off a Kenny Cooper cross in the 36th minute to give Seattle a 1-0 lead over the Whitecaps in a match that finished in a 2-2 draw. It even came as Barrett was playing in an unconventional role for the forward, starting at right midfield in place of Lamar Neagle, who was out with a hamstring injury.
"He's been good about making sharp runs and so forth. I knew he could play wide because he's played wide before," Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. "He's been good with the ball, he's been sharp. He's been training well and playing well."
In his seven previous matches, all off the bench, Barrett had played 100 minutes for Sounders FC. However, with Neagle out injured, Brad Evans making a late return from international duty and Clint Dempsey away with the U.S. National Team, a deep Seattle midfield was thinned out and Barrett was called in to play on the right side.
While customarily a forward, he had played wide at different points throughout his previous nine seasons in MLS, so Schmid was confident to use him in that role in an important game on Saturday.
Since joining Seattle, Barrett has taken a team-first approach and was willing to do whatever was asked of him to help contribute to the team's successful run to the top of the Supporters' Shield standings with an 8-3-2 record.
"We've got new guys slipping in and you've got to make sure you don't disrupt the team," Barrett said. "That's important and we fought really hard today and it felt like we could have gotten more out of it."
A veteran of 219 MLS matches, the opening goal was Barrett's 46th in a career that has seen stops in Chicago, Toronto, LA and New England before he landed in Seattle this year. They have all come at various stages of a match and on Saturday, it was after Seattle had endured an onslaught from Vancouver over the first 15 minutes of the match, but held the Whitecaps off to keep the match scoreless.
The goal gave Seattle a lift after withstanding the Vancouver attack and set the table for opportunities to draw level later in the match as Seattle fell behind 2-1 in the second half before Gonzalo Pineda's late penalty equalized.
"Sometimes you just have to be a firefighter and douse the fire," Barrett said of the timing of his goal.
The next fire facing Seattle is a big one – hosting unbeaten Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field in a duel of the top two teams in MLS on Saturday.