There was visible frustration Friday when Evans confirmed he make another position change — most likely back to the midfield — in the wake of the Sounders’ signing of Román Torres.
Brad Evans always has been a player that wears his emotions on his sleeve, prominently displayed alongside the captain’s armband.
Fiery competitor is an overused sports cliché but carries a hint of truth when it comes to Evans, a man with no off switch and very little filter.
There was earnestness in the way he committed to his preseason position switch from midfield to central defense. Evans gave himself freely to the experiment, ignoring his bruised pride even after Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquakes exposed his rawness in March.
And there was visible frustration Friday when Evans confirmed he made another position change — most likely back to the midfield — in the wake of the Sounders’ signing of Román Torres.
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The plug officially has been pulled on the Brad Evans Experiment.
“I feel like I had a good first two-thirds of the year,” Evans said after practice at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. “I built into that position and felt like, save for a few mistakes, I thought that I was playing well. The situation is what it is right now.”
The exact situation isn’t clear at the moment, with a hyperactive summer transfer window and crowded injury report throwing the Sounders’ depth chart into flux.
Evans was deputized for Osvaldo Alonso as a defensive midfield during the Sounders’ 3-1 loss at Los Angeles this past weekend. And though Evans voiced his displeasure at the role afterward — “(I was) out of sorts on most occasions,” he said, “uncomfortable” — that’s likely where he’ll remain until the Cuban recovers from a hamstring injury.
After that, the picture muddies. Though the club has said that each of its new signings will have to earn starting spots, all indications point to a pairing of Torres and reigning MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall in central defense.
Evans has played well at outside back in the past, but he’s right-footed and Tyrone Mears has been solid on that flank.
“We’ve got to try to get our best team on the field,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said Friday. “ … There might be a little bit of variety there, and we’ll try to find the position (for Evans) next year again.”
That’s a puzzle Evans’ previous switch was supposed to solve. It was supposed to add years to his career and keep around an original club pillar for seasons to come. The buzzwords throughout the spring were patience, chemistry and the value of continuity.
“I’d like to be comfortable in one position,” Evans, 30, said Friday. “Every day coming in, having one goal in mind that playing that position, not having to think on a Thursday what position I’ll be playing on Saturday.”
Evans said it took him nearly a third of the season, between 10 and 15 games, to adjust to his role as a full-time central defender.
But though the embarrassing slip-ups became less frequent, and though on paper Seattle’s defense has been one of the sturdiest in MLS, things never felt truly settled on the back line.
Publicly, and even this week, Schmid and general manager Garth Lagerwey have been complimentary of Evans’ adjustment. The party line said this was more about Torres, about the too-good-to-be-missed opportunity to add another established international player.
Yet its symbolism wasn’t lost on Seattle’s captain. Evans and Schmid talked it out while the Torres move was being considered, but the feeling is still raw.
“Brad’s a good captain,” Schmid said. “He’ll help out the team and understand. He and I have spoken. Do I think he’s over-the-moon over it? No. I’m not that silly. But I know he’s a good captain. He knows I have his back and he has mine. I know he’ll do what the team needs to help us get to the playoffs and win MLS Cup.”