On Monday, Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid reluctantly referred to midfielder Brad Evans as a role player.
He, in no way, was diminishing the importance of Evans to the success of the Sounders FC. He was just pointing out that there are players on the field whose effect on the outcome of a game go far beyond statistics.
Yes, Evans has scored for Seattle this year and has tallied 14 goals in 90 matches for the Sounders since coming to CenturyLink Field in the 2008 MLS Expansion Draft. And, of course, he has played every position on the field except leftback and goalkeeper in those 90 matches.
When things get hectic on the field, when the team needs a pick-me-up or a shot in the arm, Evans is the guy who is pulling the team together.
“Brad is another guy who talks on the field and he gives you energy. He has a good sense sometimes of what needs to get done. He’s a guy who tries to get in the box and always helps give us some positives,” Schmid said. “To a certain extent, he’s a role player, but he’s a positive role player for us.”
He has played just two of Seattle’s five MLS matches this season because of injury, but is now healthy and ready to get back on the field to help the Sounders spring out of a five-game winless skid.
“I’m ready to go. 100-percent. I thought maybe we’d push it for this past weekend, but I think we’re just playing it safe and smart,” Evans said after training on Monday. “I felt like I probably could have gone, but I think it’s good to get a full week of training under the belt leading into Saturday.”
He finds himself coming back to a crowded midfield, though, with Osvaldo Alonso, Shalrie Joseph, Mauro Rosales, Mario Martinez and Steve Zakuani in the mix and Alex Caskey, Andy Rose and Lamar Neagle all making a strong case for playing time.
With the stakes rising and three straight road games on the schedule for the Sounders, picking the right combinations will be a key element of those three games as the Sounders get healthier heading into a very busy stretch on the calendar.
“It’s difficult to play on the road and pick up points, but we’ve got to be focused and keep our goals still within reach,” Evans said. “Put our heads down and work, get a good week of practice and hopefully find ourselves on the right side of a result here.”
The Sounders play next at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. They follow that with a pair of road games May 4 against the Philadelphia Union and May 8 against Sporting Kansas City.
Meet Brad at the Downtown Pro Shop from 6-7 p.m. PT today, April 16! More details here.