New England Soccer Today

Barnes Answers the Bell

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It may have been nearly three years since Darrius Barnes saw his name penciled in at center back, but you couldn’t tell it by the way he played in Saturday’s 0-0 draw to the Impact.

Barnes collected a team-high five interceptions, cleared six balls out of harm’s way and completed 82.9 percent of his passes in his first start in the center since Sept. 2012, helping the Revolution get their first point of 2015.

“I love being in the middle,” Barnes said, “and being the aggressor a little bit, and I felt very comfortable being there.”

It’s not hard to figure out why Barnes, who filled in for a suspended Jose Goncalves, was happy to return to reprise his former role. He entered the league as a center back, and during his rookie year, played every minute of every Revolution match at the spot in 2009.

However, as his pro career progressed, he saw more time on the wings as coach Jay Heaps began to use Barnes as a jack-of-all-trades back. While Barnes could have protested – especially after he effectively lost the starting center back’s spot once Jose Goncalves arrived – he kept his head down and continued to contribute wherever he was needed.

“Darrius is the kind of player that helps a coach sleep at night,” Heaps said, “because you can put him anywhere, and you know he’s going to be up for the game.”

There’s no question Barnes was ready to go for Saturday’s contest. With the chance to show that he could still be counted upon to man a spot in the middle of the backline, Barnes was all business on the training ground leading up to the Revolution home opener.

“(We were) just focusing on our shape, and just making sure we were connected on the backline,” Barnes said about working with his fellow defenders during training. “We knew if we didn’t give anything away, we’d have a chance.”

Barnes certainly did his part to give the Revolution a chance. He helped his teammates build out of the back with greater frequency against Montreal after they struggled to do so in Seattle and New York City.

“It’s a position I feel comfortable with,” Barnes said. “It’s a position I played all my life.”

Although Barnes won’t be back in the middle when Goncalves returns next week, Heaps knows he can count on his versatile defender if the occasion calls for it.

“He brings it every day in training,” Heaps said, “and he brought it today in the game. There’s a lot of minutes out there for Darrius, and whenever he gets them, he does well. ”

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