New England Soccer Today

Jack of All Trades

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – While some players continue to search for consistency, veteran defender Darrius Barnes is putting on a clinic – and not just at one position, either.

Last week it was at center back, filling in for a suspended Jose Goncalves. This time around, he took up the right fullback spot in New England’s 2-1 win over San Jose.

The versatile defender didn’t miss a beat switching from the middle of the pitch to the outside, keeping the Earthquakes’ attack in check and picking up an assist on the game-winning goal in the first half.

“We had a decision to make this week and it wasn’t easy, bringing Jose back in and moving Darrius out,” Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. “I thought Darrius had an excellent week of training, he had excellent game last week so it was hard to take him off.

“I thought again tonight he proved why you put him in there. He’s fighting for everything, he has some real good experience behind him now and every challenge he gets into now you feel like he’s going to come out with the ball.”

The center back pair of Barnes and Andrew Farrell last week combined with outside backs Chris Tierney and Jeremy Hall to keep Montreal off the board entirely. With Goncalves back from his one-game suspension he earned after a red card against New York, Heaps elected to keep Barnes in the lineup, moving him to right back and keeping Hall on the bench.

“It’s something I’m comfortable with,” Barnes said of the switch. “I’ve been in the center, I’ve been on the right. I just want to be on the field at all times. To go out there and contribute and help the team succeed on the field, I think it was a great performance by the whole entire squad.”

In terms of statistics, Barnes didn’t have any eye popping numbers besides his assist (two interceptions, two clearances) but that’s more of a testament of his ability to track and mark his man. Barnes helped keep a San Jose side that had scored five goals in just the past two games scoreless in the run of play. The Earthquakes’ lone goal came from the penalty spot.

“I thought we did a pretty decent job defensively,” Barnes said. “We were able to keep them at bay and keep their key players from having dangerous opportunities. As a group we were able to get behind the ball and keep them at bay. I think we did a great job and to get the first three points of the season is critical.”

Barnes picked up his first assist of the season and first since New England’s 2-1 win over Houston last October.

Off a set piece near the corner of the 18 along the left flank, Chris Tierney whipped in a service that Barnes laid out for to get his head on. His header sent the ball bouncing off the turf close to the near post and Kelyn Rowe was able to bury it for his second goal of the game.

“It was something we worked on just getting across the box,” Barnes said. “Set pieces are something we want to get better at. I just took it upon myself to get in the mix and get something on frame. I asked Kelyn if it was going in, and he said ‘no’ so I’ll give it to him.”

The big decision moving forward will fall on Heaps, who will eventually have to make a decision on if and where Barnes fits into the starting lineup when Kevin Alston, who is currently out with a right hamstring strain, returns to full health.

Until then though, expect Barnes to play wherever he can and continue his consistent play and show off his versatility.

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