CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s Chad Barrett called Sunday’s 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., the perfect way to end the club’s season-long, 10-day road trip.
“We really had to dig down deep,” he said. “We were missing a couple of starters. Everybody did a great job.”
The victory went a long way to calming Barrett’s nerves, too.
The 26-year-old, acquired during the offseason to help offset the loss of top scorer Edson Buddle, hadn’t scored for the Galaxy this season until 42 minutes into Sunday’s game against the Fire. That’s when he took a pass from Miguel Lopez deep in the penalty area and cleanly beat Fire goalkeeper Jon Conway from nine yards out to give the Galaxy a 1-0 halftime lead.
Barrett started his MLS career with Chicago and played three-and-a-half years there before being traded to Toronto FC midway through the 2008 season. The native of San Diego had 34 career goals and 19 assists in 147 regular season games before being acquired by the Galaxy, and he grudgingly admitted that he had been pressing.
So, maybe that’s why when he scored against the Fire, he ran over to a corner of the Toyota Park field and lifted his arms in triumph while facing a crowd that wasn’t exactly treating him like a favorite relative.
“That was just kind of trying to hush the crowd a little bit for calling me a Fire reject,” Barrett said. “They were chanting it for like three minutes before I scored my goal.
“It just felt good to score.”
It also marked Barrett’s first goal since he scored for Toronto FC in a 3-2 loss at Seattle on Oct. 2, 2010. Head coach Bruce Arena and Barrett’s Galaxy teammates could sense frustration being lifted from Barrett’s shoulders.
“When forwards don’t score, they are frustrated,” Arena said. “I think he was a little frustrated, and that’s good. He’s been getting better … he’s getting in a good rhythm.”
Said Mike Magee, who scored his first goal of the season in a 1-1 draw against D.C. United on April 9, “He had a great road trip. He definitely needed to get a goal, to get that off his back. And especially against his former club, I think, is huge for him. The longer you go without scoring, the harder it is.
“It was good to see him get it finally. It will lead to many more.”
Barrett, who hit the crossbar in the Galaxy’s previous game, a 0-0 draw in Toronto on April 13, said Sunday’s goal helped his confidence, not that he’s ever lacked any in the first place.
“Anything that goes in the back of the net,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s off a knee or a 30-yard bomb. It would have been nice to score that goal against Toronto. It didn’t want to go in, but the one in Chicago did.
“I plan on scoring against Portland” – Saturday night’s opponent at The Home Depot Center – “if I get the chance and keep going from there. I’m a firm believer if you work hard you’ll get tons of chances.
“You always want to get that first goal. Now that it’s in I can just go on and score more.”