Toronto FC head coach Chris Cummins decided to give Chad Barrett "a kick on the backside" by not starting the dangerous forward last night against the Montreal Impact.
Barrett has had his chances in MLS play this season, but has only scored twice, so Cummins felt that a lesson in humility might be in order for last night's Nutrilite Canadian championship match.
It was certainly a lesson learned.
Barrett came on in the 16th minute for the injured Marvel Wynne and immediately made his mark.
The U.S. national team standout was a huge factor in Toronto's 1-0 victory, not only scoring the game's only goal, but setting up his teammates on numerous occasions with clever passing and creative playmaking.
In the end, the Beaverton, Ore., native probably should have had at least two more goals, missing on a number of chances, including a breakaway late in the game, when Montreal goalkeeper Matthew Jordan slid at the perfect time to break up a deke.
"I'm obviously p...ed off with myself. I made the game so much more exciting than it needed to be," said Barrett. "I've got to finish those, I know that. But we did get the three points."
The score may not have been one-sided, but the play certainly was as the Reds dominated Montreal in front of 19,872 at BMO Field.
"We're a little bit disappointed not to win the game by more than one," said Cummins. "We had 16 shots (to three for Montreal) and hit the post a couple of times, but we've got to be more clinical."
Barrett's goal in the 35th minute was a thing of beauty. He accepted a pass from midfielder Jim Brennan about 25 yards out, settled the ball, turned and hammered a shot high and left of Jordan.
The victory gives Toronto six points after two Canadian championship matches. A result in Vancouver on June 2 will likely put TFC into the CONCACAF Champions League later this summer.
Save for some brief moments in the second half, and a goal by Rocco Placentino that was disallowed in the first, the Impact offered little in the way of resistance.
The bad news for Toronto was the loss of Wynne, who suffered a sore hamstring, and the fact that Scarborough native Dwyane De Rosario, who hit the post in the first half along with Sam Cronin, tweaked his back in the second half and was removed in the 74th minute.
Forward Danny Dichio did not dress for Toronto as he is not fully recovered from a bout of food poisoning which swept through the TFC locker room last weekend.
Montreal's frustrations began to boil late in the match and midfielder David Testo was ejected after taking down Cronin.
Impact coach John Limniatis took issue with the off-side call on Placentino's, suggesting that, while the game of soccer is certainly progressing in Canada, the officiating is not keeping up.
TFC, 3-2-4 in MLS, play host to the Chicago Fire at BMO Field on Saturday.