CARSON, Calif. — Though the Galaxy may have experienced a busy summer, one LA player who did not was Chad Barrett.
The Galaxy striker played against Seattle on July 4 at The Home Depot Center but injuries sidelined him for the rest of the month and nearly all of August.
But it only took Barrett about six minutes to show that he can be a valuable boost to the squad down the stretch when he made his first appearance last Thursday and scored a goal in the Galaxy's 2-0 win over Alajuelense in a CONCACAF Champions League group match.
WATCH: Barrett scores vs Alajuelense
Barrett came off the bench and finished off a relatively simple opportunity to help secure the Galaxy's victory.
"That's what you want," Barrett said. "You want a tap-in for your first goal back. It couldn't have worked out better for me."
Knee problems have been to blame for keeping Barrett out of action. He was not quite ready to go against Motagua in the club’s CCL opener on Aug. 16 and was unable to play in any of the Galaxy's six league matches since that July 4 match against Seattle.
Barrett said the cautious approach was the right move.
"I think I took the right steps this time so I wouldn't get re-injured,” he said. “The knee feels completely normal again. It felt good to get out there and run with the guys. It's kind of weird sitting on the bench."
Before he was injured, the Galaxy's top talent at forward was Juan Pablo Ángel, but the landscape at striker has changed somewhat since then. Ángel departed and Robbie Keane took over as the team's scoring ace. Keane hit the back of the net in his debut and helped create space for Barrett to score his goal last Thursday.
"He hasn't even played with us for a week and you can tell how well he connects with us," Barrett said of the Irish DP. "That's just because he's that type of gifted player. He brings the knowledge up front that Juan Pablo brought, but he's a little bit younger. He's got his legs and he does a lot of running. He's an unselfish player, an unselfish runner and it's a real pleasure."
In Adam Cristman and Keane, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has a starting tandem that Barrett said is the best pairing to go with at this moment. While he has started 15 of the 20 games he’s played in, Barrett said he would be content with working his way back while watching the Cristman–Keane pairing do its work.
"Adam has been great since he got back," Barrett said. "He's a goal-scoring machine right now so there's no reason to take him off and you have Robbie Keane up top. I'm going to bide my time, keep coming off the bench until [Arena] feels I'm ready to start again."