Sounders FC captain Brad Evans played centerback for the entire 2015 season up until last week’s match against the LA Galaxy. He then played central midfield for a couple of games, and on Wednesday, Head Coach Sigi Schmid put him in on the wing with 16 minutes remaining.
The substitution paid off, as Evans converted the game-winning penalty kick in stoppage time to lift Seattle to a 2-1 win over CD Olimpia. Sounders FC is now atop Group F with four points from its first two games in the 2015-2016 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.
Coming seven minutes into extra time, Evans’ penalty was the latest regulation goal in club history. Here’s what he and Schmid said in their post-match interviews on Wednesday.
“It means a lot. It means a lot for [the players’] confidence. It means a lot for their own self-ego in this regard, but also for the group as a whole. It shows, ‘Hey, this stretch is behind us. We want to go forward and we want to win games.’ ...We have to be real with where we are right now, and we have to be sure we go and get a result when we play at Salt Lake. So there are certain guys we just didn’t want to push today and put under that pressure.”
“It’s what I expect from Brad…I know Brad, I know how he feels inside, and there’s always going to be that little bit of frustration. But that doesn’t change the effort that he puts into the team. Today we asked him to play wide right; We pushed him up front a little bit as we tried to push for the goal because he is the kind of player who can do that and adapt to that.”
“So we all look on the board [to see] who’s mentioned on PKs, and Gonzo [Pineda] and I think [Cristian] Roldan were up there. …So I gave the ball to Gonzo because his name was up there, and then four of our players run over and say, ‘Brad you take it. Sigi wants you to take it.’ So I listen to the coach, and I take it. It’s not meant out of disrespect to Gonzo by any means, I listened to the coach.”
“I think [next Wednesday] is going to be a fiery game. You know, I’m sure they’ll be out for blood obviously. But now we’ve got four points sitting in the group. We’ve got two games left, and I think if we get one more win we find ourselves in a great position of advancing. We can’t hedge all bets on one more win, but if we go down there, get a good performance and play like we did tonight, we should be OK.”