Los Angeles Galaxy Ins and Outs, August 31, 2011

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IAugust 31, 2011

Chad Barrett
Chad BarrettVictor Decolongon/Getty Images

Redemption Song for Chad Barrett

The last time Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy forward Chad Barrett saw time on the pitch was in a scoreless draw with the Seattle Sounders, on July 4 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Injuries to his knees prevented Barrett from seeing further time on the pitch.

Until the CONCACAF Champions League tie with Alajuelense.

Barrett scored in the 77th minute to give Los Angeles a 2-0 victory and plenty of momentum heading into next Monday's contest with Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park (kickoff: 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel).

"That's what you want," Barrett told MLSSoccer.com's Luis Bueno. "You want a tap-in for your first goal back. It couldn't have worked out better for me."

Juan Pablo Angel played forward since Barrett was sidelined, but would make way for Robbie Keane after he was traded to Chivas USA. The skills the Irish striker brings to the table have proven invaluable to the Galaxy's chances at success.

"He hasn't even played with us for a week and you can tell how well he connects with us," Barrett said of Keane. "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."

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Adam Cristman
Adam CristmanHarry How/Getty Images

"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."

However, Keane will be playing with the Republic of Ireland national team for a couple of Euro 2012 qualifiers, making Barrett a possibility to start on Monday alongside Adam Cristman.

"Adam has been great since he got back," Barrett said of Cristman. "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."

See you in September...

The Galaxy are very aware that they will be facing a Sporting Kansas City side that is vastly improved since their 4-1 victory at the Home Depot Center on May 14. Since that time, Sporting have sported a 8-3-8 record and currently sit second in the MLS Eastern Conference.

“They have a lot of good players,” Galaxy midfielder Juninho said to reporters following the team's training session. “(Kei) Kamara is a player I need to focus on defensively. They have a good midfield, led by their number eight (Graham Zusi), who’s a good player too. We need to pay attention to him too.”

Recently, Peter Vermes's club have fallen on hard times, giving up a successful comeback rally by FC Dallas in their 3-2 defeat. The Brazilian, on loan from Sao Paulo, is aware of the home side's tenacity at Livestrong.

“Any team that loses at home, like they lost at home, wants to do better,” Juninho said. “I think they’re going to come out strong. I think we’ll need to be really focused. We’re going to do everything possible to win there because those three points are very important to us.”

A victory by the Galaxy over Sporting Kansas City effectively gives the club a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Not only that, it gives Los Angeles the leverage they could have had over their rivals had the match with the Red Bulls been played as scheduled this past Sunday.

Goalkeeper Josh Saunders knows what is expected of a rejuvenated Galaxy outfit.

“The focus now is Kansas City,” Saunders said. “We saw the results over the weekend and we definitely need to get another three points out of it.”

September is expected to be a grueling month for Los Angeles, with four MLS league games and three CONCACAF Champions League matches. That's a match every three to four days, starting September 5. But the Galaxy are a team built to withstand grueling schedules just as this. After all, the best teams in the world succeed with such heavy workloads in such important months.

“Obviously Hurricane Irene was a terrible thing for the East Coast, but for our legs it was actually a great thing,” Barrett said. “It gave us a chance to take some time off and recharge our batteries.”

Also unavailable for the Sporting match are team captain/midfielder Landon Donovan and midfielder Chris Birchall, who are fulfilling international team obligations to the USA and Trinidad and Tobago, respectively.

“It’s going to take a lot of preparation, but coaches have been talking about stepping up, there’s a bunch of players that have been on the edge of breaking into the 18 and the 11 and now they are going to get their chance," Barrett concluded.

JuninhoHarry How/Getty Images

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.