When Sounders FC hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, midfielder Brad Evans won't be in the lineup. But the 28-year-old plans to be in attendance at CenturyLink Field with the U.S. National Team just days before they take on Panama Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.
Evans, who is one of six remaining Sounders originals, has missed club games before, but this time it will be a much different experience.
“It will be very weird watching that game, yeah. Absolutely. It’s different when you’re just injured and watching from the top, but when you’re playing host to some other guys and almost being more of a fan at that point, it’ll be strange,” Evans said. “But obviously I know that I’m part of the Sounders, nothing has changed there with my club team. I’ll be supporting them, 100 percent.”
Evans made his international debut at CenturyLink Field in the Gold Cup in 2009 and has totaled 10 caps, including a start at rightback in Friday’s 4-3 win over Germany in a friendly at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. He has spent nearly his entire professional career as a midfielder, making occasional starts at forward and rightback for the Sounders.
His play at rightback against Germany drew praise from pundits, coaches and teammates. However, playing that role is still a work in progress for the 28-year-old, though he admits that with the US depth in midfield, it may be his clearest path to a spot on the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, should the U.S. advance in the qualifying tournament.
“It’s obviously great to have confidence and know that you can play in that position, but there’s a lot of work to be done and I have a lot to learn. The things I remember from the game are, missed pass to Jermaine in the first half, maybe not following my guy on a 1-2 in the first half, and then maybe a letdown in defensive pressure from my part in the second half. So I still want to learn the position and look over tape and see what I can do better,” Evans said. “That’s the kind of guy I’ve always been, so I wasn’t going to step away from that.”
While the Sounders may have that position filled – and possibly for years to come – with 19-year-old Homegrown Player DeAndre Yedlin, it won’t be a deterrent for Evans, who has shown a willingness to play wherever head coach Sigi Schmid has asked him to play anytime he has asked him to play it.
Schmid noted that Evans could still play in the midfield for his club while learning the defensive role with the national team.
“It’s something else we’ve talked about,” Schmid said. “He has good instincts as to when to come forward. He crosses a good ball, he gets into the box as a midfielder. It might be a situation where we’ve used him where we’ve needed him at times and we’ll continue to do that, and I don’t think it’s going to affect his national team future.”
The depth of that future could be determined in the coming two weeks, as Evans is with the US in their three matches in the Hexagonal round. And while Evans keeps a singular focus on the next game, that match in Seattle is looming large on June 11 and he is excited at the opportunity to show his teammates what the fans in the Emerald City can do in support of soccer in America.
“It’ll be a spectacle, that’s for sure. I know that we’ll come out in numbers, the fans will be behind us 100 percent, and I think it will be something very, very special, regardless if I play, suit up, whatever it is,” he said. “It’s going to be a special night and I can’t wait to showcase it for the other guys on the team who haven’t played in our stadium or played in front of our crowd.”
Tickets for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier are available by visiting the “Schedule and Tickets” section at www.ussoccer.com.