WASHINGTON — The United States national team is staying in Brazil a little longer than many expected, which might suit Seattle Sounders forward Chad Barrett just fine.
The 29-year-old journeyman thrived again Saturday with Clint Dempsey away at the World Cup, scoring his third goal in his fourth consecutive league start as the Sounders held on for a 1-0 victory over D.C. United on Saturday evening.
“I feel like I’m doing something productive for the team, that’s pretty much all I was trying to do,” said Barrett, who has four league goals, including two winners. “I wasn’t trying to replace Clint, I was just trying to fill a void.”
Barrett, who appeared only as a substitute before Dempsey’s departure, headed in Gonzalo Pineda’s cross in the 39th minute to help stretch the Sounders’ unbeaten league run to five matches.
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It’s an especially impressive run given that Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin have both been away in Brazil.
With forward Obafemi Martins forced to serve a one-game yellow-card accumulation suspension Saturday, the Sounders (11-3-2, 35 points in MLS) won at RFK Stadium for the first time since 2010.
Barrett looked more dangerous during his 58 minutes than former Sounders and current United striker Eddie Johnson, and twice came close to scoring in the opening 30 minutes before finally getting his goal just before halftime.
“He’s a quality player,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “He’s had little aches and little injuries, and at this stage in his career, maybe 90 minutes is not always in there for him because he started cramping up. … (But) he knows how to play, he combines well with (Marco) Pappa and those guys, and we know he was a good force for us tonight.”
Barrett’s goal came just early enough to allow the worn-down Sounders to focus on defensive responsibilities after halftime.
“I feel like we had to score in the first half today, cause it was going to get tougher,” Barrett said. “D.C. were fresh and they showed it today.”
But despite holding nearly a 2-1 possession advantage, United (7-5-4, 25 points) rarely looked like equalizing in the second half.
Its best chance came in the 66th minute when Osvaldo Alonso slid at the last minute to deflect Luis Silva’s strike over the cross bar.
Then in the 89th minute, Stefan Frei got his face in the way of Johnson’s effort.
“I thought our performance was one of those where we had to bend a little bit but we didn’t break,” Schmid said. “So we’re pleased with the end result, and I think our defending was solid.”
Both Alonso and Pineda got cautions and will sit out the Sounders’ next match, Saturday at Vancouver.
The Sounders are 4-0-1 in MLS play since Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin left to play in the World Cup:
|May 17||Win, 1-0 vs. San Jose|
|May 24||Tie, 2-2 @ Vancouver|
|May 31||Win, 4-0 vs. Real Salt Lake|
|June 7||Win, 3-2 @ Chicago|
|June 28||Win, 1-0 @ D.C. United|