Seattle Sounder FC doesn’t have Clint Dempsey these days, but coach Sigi Schmid is happy he has Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper to fill in.
Over the first two games that Dempsey was away with the United States national team, Schmid moved Cooper into Dempsey’s starting role and brought Barrett off the bench.
On Saturday, Schmid reversed the order and each contributed to the scoring as the Sounders routed Real Salt Lake, 4-0, at CenturyLink Field.
“I thought Barrett did well, and I thought Cooper did well,” Schmid said. “Barrett got a goal, and he was running early. I talked to him to put more pressure on the ball so they couldn’t build as easily, and he did a great job at that. Then he came out, and I thought Kenny played very well also. When you get those kinds of shifts, it’s a good thing.”
Barrett played the first 66 minutes and contributed his third goal of the season before being subbed out for Cooper, who produced his third assist.
Both players are in their first season in Seattle. Cooper has appeared in 13 games and started seven since being acquired in a trade with FC Dallas on Dec. 13. Barrett has nine appearances and two starts since being selected from New England through the MLS re-entry process on Jan. 9.
That transaction completed an idea that had been brewing for a long time.
“Chad is always a player that I have had a good relationship with since I coached him on the Under-20s (national team),” Schmid said.
“We always joked that one day I would find a way to get him onto a team that I am coaching, and it happened this year. He’s a big addition for us, along with Kenny, because we knew we needed those guys.”
Barrett’s goal came in the second half and capped a Seattle counter that went from Obafemi Martins to Lamar Neagle, who rolled a pass across the top of the penalty area to Barrett, who one-touched it into the net.
“It was a great pass by Lamar,” Barrett said. “I just wanted to make sure to get the shot off before the defender got back. He almost got to it.”
That put Seattle ahead, 3-0. Earlier goals had come from Gonzalo Pineda on a penalty kick and Marco Pappa on a free kick from about 24 yards. The final score was set in the 90th minute when Cooper carried down the right side of the penalty area, before hitting a curling pass across the goal that Martins finished from close range.
“As a striker, the only thing I can think is to keep working until you get a goal,” Martins said. “I kept working at it — make some chances — so I’m happy.”
While all that was playing out, Dempsey and defender DeAndre Yedlin were in New Jersey, where on Sunday they played in the USA’s 2-1 win against Turkey. Dempsey went 90 minutes and scored the winning goal, while Yedlin played the final 26 minutes.
International duty also took a toll on the Real Salt Lake roster. However, Barrett indicated the Sounders were better equipped to overcome their absences.
“I think we’ve been showing that all year,” he said. “Through injuries, through suspensions, everybody that has stepped in has done a good job.
“We had a good strong lineup — on paper I thought ours was much better than them. I thought we should have imposed our will on them, and I thought we did.”
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 email@example.com/soccer