Seattle Sounders captain Brad Evans worked out with the team for the first time this preseason in Arizona on Tuesday, and he’s well aware there’s not much time left before things get very serious, very quickly.
The Sounders have only three weeks remaining before their Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal matchup against Mexican side Club America on Feb. 23 at CenturyLink Field. And that’s only the first of five games inside a month for the Sounders, who won’t catch a break until the final week of March.
“It’s obviously a difficult task and our focus has to remain on the game at home first,” Evans said. “We have to get a result there. The guys realize that . It’s a long one [season]. We’ve got to be ready to go.”
Evans trained lightly with the club on Tuesday, two days after he logged 45 minutes for the U.S. national team in a 3-2 win over Iceland at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Evans was pulled at halftime because of hamstring tightness, and his status is day-to-day as the club prepares for three preseason matches over the next week in Tucson.
Evans was called into camp while it was already in progress in Jan. 13, but still picked up his 26th career cap while serving as one of the elder statesmen in the team’s first camp of the new year.
“Obviously going in late and getting the late call was 0-to-100,” Evans said Tuesday. “You jump straight into training, train for two days and then play a game, that was kind of the rhythm down there.
“But a good result for the team, coming back and winning 3-2. A good start to the year for the U.S. team, and now I’m back here and we’re kicking off in two-and-a-half weeks against Club America.”
The Sounders till take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday before clashing with the Portland Timbers on Saturday. They’ll wrap up their three-game stint in Arizona against Mexican club Celaya on Feb. 9.
All three games will be available via live stream on soundersfc.com.
With a healthy mix of returning vets and new faces, Evans knows that team cohesion is key to guarantee a solid start to the year. That begins with getting tactics solidified and quickly acclimating rookies to Sounders’ system.
Evans is up for the challenge.
“You always have confidence to play at the next level, until you get here,” Evans said. “It’s just that much faster. Getting these guys confident … it’ll only push the starters. At the end of the day, it’s good to see all of the lads and get started.”