FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Don’t call Chad Barrett a super-sub.
The veteran striker has certainly grabbed hold of that role in recent weeks, coming off the bench to score late goals in two of his last three substitute appearances. But for Barrett, the hope is that strong substitute performances will eventually lead to a place in the starting lineup.
“Nobody ever sees themselves as a super-sub,” said Barrett. “I don’t want to sit on the bench. I want to be on the field. I don’t work as hard as I do week-in and week-out to try and get my name in the books for wanting to come off the bench.
“I’d love to play a more major role in this team instead of just coming off the bench late. I’d love to be in there from the get-go, scoring goals and cementing my place in the first team.”
Barrett has certainly made the most of limited opportunities in recent weeks. On June 2 against the LA Galaxy – his former club – Barrett entered the game in the 88th minute but still managed to bag one goal and one assist in his few minutes on the field. This past weekend against Chivas USA, he came on in the 83rd minute and scored a critical goal to help the Revs claim a valuable road point.
“If you can score a goal in five minutes, then they start asking, ‘What can he do with 90 minutes or 60 minutes?’” Barrett said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to get (head coach) Jay (Heaps) to ask himself. I’ve had a couple meetings with him. The team was doing well for a period of time and it was very hard to get into the team.”
The door may be opening for Barrett, however, with Juan Agudelo sidelined indefinitely with a right knee sprain. Jerry Bengtson was handed the start as the lone forward last weekend at StubHub Center, but Barrett’s immediate contribution off the bench may have been enough to grab Heaps’ attention ahead of this weekend’s visit by the San Jose Earthquakes.
“Chad certainly has pushed every opportunity,” Heaps said. “He’s done well in each competition and he continues to find his stride. I thought he did an excellent job the other night coming off the bench, having an impact on the game and changing the game. There was something about his intensity that right away resonated with our guys. He kind of had that ‘we’re not going to lose tonight’ mentality.”
Should Barrett be handed the start against the Earthquakes, he’ll be ready. But should he continue in his role as super-sub, he’ll continue to embrace the opportunity as he has in recent weeks.
“I always think I should be starting, but that’s just my mentality,” said Barrett. “But if I’m not in the team, I’m going to do exactly what I’ve been doing when I’ve been coming on as a sub. I’m going to give you 100 percent of what I can and pot some more goals.
“But the goal is more minutes and being a more influential player on this team, becoming more of a leader on this team. I’m getting up there in age. I definitely want to be a more central figure here.”