Brad Evans was unsure of his role on the Sounders after the midseason acquisition of two midfielders. His versatility, however, has kept him on the field.
TUKWILA — After a new-look Sounders FC lineup was settled upon before Saturday’s game at Chivas USA, assistant coach Brian Schmetzer approached Brad Evans. The midfielder would be starting on the left-hand side of the formation for the first time.
“Do you have any questions about playing left mid?” Schmetzer asked.
“No,” Evans deadpanned. “I mean I’ve played right mid. It’s just on the other side.”
In Seattle’s record-breaking 6-2 win, Evans made it look that simple, too. He opened the scoring in the 10th minute, his first league goal from the run of play this season, and also earned his first two-assist MLS game.
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Hard to imagine this was a player who had viewed his future with the team as being a possible reserve, but that’s exactly what crossed Evans’ mind after the midseason acquisitions of two midfielders — Mario Martinez, a talented attacking option out wide, and Christian Tiffert, an acclaimed veteran from Europe who looked primed to assume Evans’ preferred central role.
Aside from Fredy Montero and Osvaldo Alonso, no current Sounder has played more for the franchise than Evans. So what did he think of the summer signing of two midfielders?
“A little bit of second guessing, for sure,” the 27-year-old said. “I read … the quotes from the coach and found myself on the outside looking in, and (then I) kind of pushed myself through practice and kept my head down and kept working. And luckily, for whatever reason, I’ve been playing pretty decent as of late. When you sign two midfielders, it kind of pushes you a little bit more.”
Evans’ versatility, which he refers to as a blessing and a curse, has kept him on the field, even if it has come at various positions.
Evans has played mostly as a central midfielder, but recently he’s seen a lot of time on the right-hand side. He has also played as a right fullback on defense this season in the U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League — and even has U.S. men’s national team experience there. A few years ago, Evans pushed up to forward when the Sounders had a number of injuries.
Evans has played four positions the past two months. In the same time, he has earned all four of his MLS assists.
“He wants the team to succeed,” said coach Sigi Schmid, “and so if you tell him, ‘Hey, I need you to play in goal today for us to win the game,’ he’ll go play in goal. He’ll give you the best effort wherever he goes. He’s a guy who competes and battles and demands a lot of himself, and that contributes an awful lot to the team.”
Schmid further emphasized Evans’ value by calling the midfielder one of Seattle’s most marketable players when it comes to interest from other teams.
“His name always comes up,” the coach said.
And Evans’ versatility ensures he will keep showing up on the lineup sheet, as well.
• Martinez has been called up by the Honduran national team for FIFA World Cup qualifiers Sept. 7 and 11. Martinez is expected to miss only one game for the Sounders (Sept. 8 vs. Chivas USA) while on national-team duty.
• Alonso has been voted U.S. Open Cup Player of the Tournament by TheCup.us and a select panel of voters. He’s the fifth straight Sounder going back to the United Soccer Leagues to earn the award (2011: Montero, 2010: Nate Jaqua, 2009: Kasey Keller, 2008: Chris Eylander).
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @joshuamayers