At this point in the season, teams around Major League Soccer are frantically adding players to their roster, hopeful that the additions can fit in well with the team in place.
While the Sounders FC is not exempt from that race to secure talent before the international transfer deadline on August 15, the club is also set to add three players that they already know fit in incredibly with the existing roster.
Brad Evans, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and O’Brian White all played 45 minutes in a reserve division game on Tuesday against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC with encouraging results.
All three started the match and acquitted themselves well in the first half of the match. For all, though, it was a differing road back to the field.
White was in the midst of his best run as a professional with two goals and two assists through Seattle’s first seven matches when he learned that a blood clot needed to be removed from his leg. 17 matches and nearly three months later, White played as a forward alongside Mike Fucito and held the ball up well, while also providing a target for balls in the air against Vancouver in the reserve match.
“I think I kept possession of the ball and made a few good moves. As time progresses I want to keep doing more and keep getting back to myself,” said White, who had his best opportunity of the match thwarted when he was called for a handball. “I was moving and I was active. That’s the most important thing, to be active.”
Because the blood clot was such a challenging injury to recover from, White has been cognizant of the medical process to returning to action, not wanting to cause a setback along the way to full recovery.
“You just have to keep monitoring. My leg is doing good, but I still have to check with the doctors and make sure everything is functioning right,” he said. “I’ll just keep taking the steps to make sure everything is good.”
It has been nearly two months since Evans has been able to start a game for the Sounders FC. Injuries have limited the Seattle midfielder to just 46 minutes in two substitute appearances since.
After missing the season’s first two matches to injury, Evans went on a run of seven straight starts, piling up four goals and an assist in the process. However, he has been in and out of the lineup ever since.
On Tuesday, he paired with newly signed Amadou Sanyang in the midfield and was a strong link throughout the first half.
“I thought Brad Evans and Sanyang were a good combination in the first half in midfield. I thought they pretty much controlled the game, so I was happy with that,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said.
Hurtado missed the last three MLS matches with a sprained knee. He was also in and out of the starting 11 early in the season after recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season, but hadn’t had any setbacks during the season.
Now with 45 minutes in a reserve game under his belt, he is inching closer to a return to his regular role of dominating opposing forwards. Schmid opined that Hurtado took about 15 minutes to get involved in the game, then was ‘very good’ for the final 30 minutes he was in the match.
“I felt great. I’m very happy because a month ago I couldn’t play and now I’m doing great,” Hurtado said. “The recuperation has been excellent. I just work hard every day and hopefully on Saturday I can play.”
With those three players restocking the depth of a team that has gone 7-1-3 in their last 11 matches.
All three could return to the first team as soon as Saturday when the Sounders host Chivas USA at 1 pm at CenturyLink Field.