Chad Barrett asked for another chance. And when that chance rolled around on Saturday, he took advantage of it.
With forward Obafemi Martins out with a leg injury, coach Sigi Schmid penciled Barrett into the starting lineup for the first time since March. Barrett rewarded his coach — as he had promised — by scoring both goals in leading Seattle Sounders FC to a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place.
“We had a meeting a couple of weeks back,” Barrett said. “Playing time was kind of scarce for me. I told (Schmid), ‘I don’t know if you’ve lost your faith in me or what. Give it back to me, and I’ll reward you.’ ”
Barrett’s previous start had been in a scoreless draw at Dallas, where he failed on good chances, and Schmid pointedly noted that finishing any of them would have changed the result.
On Saturday, Barrett’s six-month goal drought ended in the fifth minute, when he ran down a pass from Clint Dempsey behind the Vancouver defense and knocked the ball wide of onrushing goalkeeper David Ousted.
It marked the 10th straight game that Dempsey has recorded either a goal or an assist.
Barrett doubled the lead in the 38th minute, this time taking a pass from Marco Pappa, whose fifth assist of the still-young season matches his career high.
“The first was a counter attack; some good passing by Dempsey,” Barrett said. “Ousted came out. I just wanted to make sure I got it past him. I knew if I got it past him on this field that it would roll in because it’s so quick. On the second one, Pappa said (before the game) he was going to find me. …. A great ball over, and it just fell really nicely for me. It fell on my left foot. … I had the far post picked out, and I wanted to make sure I got it on target and hit it well.”
Suddenly up two goals in a place they hadn’t won since 2011, the Sounders settled into a game of passing and possession, neutralizing the Whitecaps’ offense by playing keep-away. Seattle ended with 56 percent of the possession, including 60 percent in the second half.
The defense did the rest. Schmid gave special praise to center backs Brad Evans and Chad Marshall. And goalkeeper Stefan Frei made five saves on the way to his fifth shutout over Seattle’s 10 games.
“I think it was probably our best performance overall,” Frei said. “We were very efficient and in control, offensively and defensively. Our possession was spot on, and the way we took care of our chances was clinical. It was a pleasure to watch from the back — at no point was there panic in any of us. That’s against a really, really good team.”
In the 85th minute, rookie Darwin Jones subbed on for his MLS debut.
“I know it was a big moment for me,” Jones said. “I was excited to go out there and work hard.”
The win moved Seattle to 6-3-1 on the season and within two points of the Western Conference lead. Vancouver fell to 6-4-2, one point from the top.
The Sounders also moved ahead in the Cascadia Cup race: Seattle 2-0-0 (6 points), Vancouver 1-1-1 (4), Portland 0-2-1 (1).
With three straight road games now behind them, the Sounders begin a three-game homestand starting Saturday against Sporting Kansas City.
“We won two of the three, and we won the ones in conference — those are the six-point games,” Schmid said. “… I’m pleased, but I know we have a tough stretch at home.”