Barrett continues to misfire for TFC
Unlike in baseball or hockey or basketball, statistics don't mean much in soccer.
A team can enjoy 70 per cent of the possession and outshoot its opponent and still lose a game, so statistics don't always tell the true story.
But here’s a stat that's pretty hard to ignore: Toronto FC defender Adrian Serioux has the same number of goals this MLS season (two) as starting forward Chad Barrett.
That would be bad enough, except it gets worse when you consider that Serioux has proven far more efficient with two goals from two shots on net. Barrett needed 12 shots to score his two goals.
It's not for a lack of effort that Barrett isn't scoring, because the Oregon native is working his socks off and carving out plenty of chances for himself.
But he's not capitalizing on those chances, and but for his dreadful lack of finishing, Barrett could easily be leading the league in scoring and Toronto FC could have more than three wins after the first nine games of the campaign.
By no stretch of the imagination was Toronto's 2-0 loss to the Chicago Fire at home Saturday Barrett's fault, because there was plenty of blame to go around. A lacklustre performance by goalkeeper Stefan Frei, some sloppy defending and errant passing in midfield were all contributing factors.
Still, you do have to wonder if Toronto could have earned a draw –or even have won the game –had Barrett been able to convert any number of the scoring chances that fell his way.
Two glaring misses came shortly after the Fire took a 1-0 lead in the second half. In the 66th minute, rookie Sam Cronin delivered a great cross into the box to a wide open Barrett who nodded it wide. Five minutes later, Barrett again was in the right place at the right time when Amado Guevara's free kick ricocheted off the crossbar, but he headed it over the bar.
At least Barrett made Jon Busch work on his next effort on goal, forcing the Chicago goalkeeper to fist away a powerful volley from inside the penalty area with 14 minutes left in regulation.
To his credit, Barrett concedes he has been wasteful and knows he has to do better.
"Of course, I could have had more goals this season," Barrett told CBCSports.ca. "The thing about it is, I'm always going to get chances and I'm always going to create chances through my hard work. ... I welcome the challenge and the pressure, I'm supposed to score and I need to score."
Despite Barrett's anaemic strike rate, Toronto coach Chris Cummins isn't losing patience with the diminutive forward.
"Chad's had a few good chances today and the goalkeeper made a good save off him," Cummins told reporters after Saturday's game. "He's going to keep working and I'm sure he's going to get a few more goals."
So, the plan is to stick with the under-performing Barrett for the time being? It would seem so.
"What do we do? Get rid of him?" was how Cummins sardonically responded to this correspondent's suggestion that he might consider starting someone else up front for next Saturday's home game against the New England Revolution.
It's commendable that the Toronto coach would rise to Barrett's defence, but it's also getting more than a little old. How many times this season have we heard Cummins, or his predecessor John Carver, applaud Barrett's work ethic as a way to deflect legitimate questions about his scoring ability?
At some point, Barrett has to produce. If he can't, then Cummins has to relegate him to the bench and give someone else a chance.