CARSON, Calif. – Chad Barrett will be the first to admit it was going to be a work in progress when he joined the LA Galaxy after a trade with Toronto FC in mid-January.
The veteran forward, now in his seventh season, was coming to a new team burdened with the hopes of helping to fill the void left by Edson Buddle, last year’s leading scorer who decided to continue his career in Germany.
It wasn’t until April 17 in Chicago that he scored his first goal in a Galaxy uniform in a 2-1 victory over the Fire. Since then the 26-year-old has played some of the best soccer of his career, including scoring the game-winner in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Chivas USA in this season’s first leg of the SuperClasico in front of a sold-out crowd of 27,000 at The Home Depot Center.
WATCH: Barrett scores the game winner
“It was great to score the goal tonight,” Barrett said, “but all in all the three points is what’s important.”
Barrett got free in the 26th minute to head home a free kick from David Beckham, but it was another goal-scoring opportunity that he’d like to have back. He got free behind the Chivas defense on a breakaway in the 49th minute after a pass from Juan Pablo Angel, but a challenge by Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who came far out of his goal, forced Barrett to go wide and he hit the side of the net from a sharp angle.
“I did pretty much everything right,” Barrett said of the play.
“There are things I would have changed. I would have gone more to the middle of the goal and given myself two opportunities instead of just one.
“As a forward you’re always taught to overcorrect and I didn’t do that. Keep in mind your momentum and I didn’t do that. Luckily the team defense really shut them down and we got a 1-0 win.”
Barrett now has three goals, second on the team behind Landon Donovan’s league-leading seven, and he also has three assists, three behind David Beckham’s team-high six. Barrett, in fact, was coming off the first multi-assist game in his MLS career when he set up goals by Donovan and Angel in last Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City.
His teammates have been impressed with his all-around play, despite his early struggles.
“He’s a good soccer player,” Donovan said. “We’ve got a number of guys on the field now who understand how to play the game the right way. If he doesn’t have an obvious shot or goal-scoring opportunity he knows how to get people involved.”
Said Angel, “He’s working really hard for the team and I’m delighted for him. At the end of the day all the hard work he’s putting in is getting rewarded.”
Barrett said he knew it would take some time before he fit in to his new surroundings.
“I’m feeling more comfortable,” he said, “but I’m more happy with how I’m starting to jell with the players. I really don’t think I was clicking with everybody on the team at the start … I didn’t know how they like to play, and they didn’t know how I like to play. We’re kind of just getting that understanding.
“I’m more comfortable in front of the home fans. I love playing here. I’m really enjoying my time here.”
Postgame Interview with Chad Barrett