Value in versatility: Seattle Sounders veteran Brad Evans has learned to embrace his roles
TUKWILA, Wash. — Brad Evans once considered his positional versatility to be both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, it kept him on the field even when arguably more skilled players were added to the roster. On the other, he was never able to entirely establish an identity with the Seattle Sounders, playing central midfielder one week, moving outside another and even dabbling as both a right back and as a center back.
Now that Evans has found a regular place on the fringes of the US national team player pool precisely because of his ability to fill multiple roles, he seems to have had a change of perspective.
"I’ll play anywhere, I don’t really care," Evans told MLSsoccer.com. "Wherever I find myself, I find myself."
Although Evans has only played as a center mid this season, that could change as soon as Saturday when the Sounders visit Real Salt Lake (9 pm ET, watch on MLS Live).
Shalrie Joseph — coincidentally the player after whom Evans says he modeled his game — fully participated in Sounders training this week and appears close to making his debut. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid has openly talked about Evans possibly moving to right back in order to get Joseph on the field.
"It could change from game to game," Schmid said. "The thing that's good is that tactically he'll play whatever position you put him in. Whether you put him up front, outside midfield, at right back, at center back, he generally understands how the position should be played.
"He's a guy who can adjust from game-to-game. Some guys will tell you they need four-five games to get comfortable here. That's not necessarily something Brad needs."
Evans' dream of forging a career as a hard-edged central midfielder — equally adept at winning a one-on-one battle, slipping in a game-opening pass or scoring a goal — may never fully materialize.
While possibly still his ultimate goal, the 27-year-old is at least willing to shelve those ambitions for the greater good of the club.
"I want to play, number one," Evans said. "It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Guys will find their way onto the field. It’s something we talked about. If it’s a position I feel comfortable playing and if it comes down to that, that’s where I’ll be."