Brad Evans starting to feel at home with USMNT, "a little surprised" by Clint Dempsey absence
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Brad Evans now plays on the same club team with US national team captain Clint Dempsey, but the Seattle Sounders midfielder still raised an eyebrow at the fact that Deuce did not travel with him to Sarajevo for Wednesday's international friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo (2:30 pm ET, ESPN2 and UniMas, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
"Yeah, a little bit of a surprise for me, but I think everything happened so fast in Seattle with his signing, and it was like this every day for four days, every minute, every minute," Evans said about Dempsey's arrival in Seattle following his transfer from Tottenham Hotspur. "I think he got a little bit sick, and so I think that’s why he’s not here this week, his body needed a little bit of rest, and I think it’s good for him to get the fitness.
"He was going into his summer break after the qualifiers, and then he had a preseason with Tottenham, but obviously we know that things didn’t work out with Tottenham," Evans continued. "So for [Dempsey] right now, I think it’s all about getting fitness, and getting game fit, and then you’ll see him in the next couple games for sure."
As for Evans, the Bosnia friendly is an opportunity to add to his 12 caps and more importantly solidify his role as the starting right back, a position he grabbed a hold of during the most recent round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Although Evans mans the midfield for the Sounders, right back is "the focus for me with this team," according to the 28-year-old.
"I don’t think that I’m comfortable yet in saying that I’m part of the core of the team. I’ve only played four games at right back for this team, so until you get the multiple 20, 30 games under your belt, you [don’t] feel like you’re part of the core team.
"But it is a different feeling now that I’ve been called into four or five first-team camps. You don’t feel like the new guy anymore … I feel more comfortable."
Wednesday will mark the first time that Evans has ventured into European territory with the USA since his days with the US Under-20 team at the 2007 World Cup in the Netherlands.
In fact, the Sarajevo trip is only Evans' third match outside the USA on the senior level with the only overseas experience coming in Panama (Jan. 25, 2012) and in Jamaica for a World Cup qualifier which he helped win with a dramatic stoppage-time winner on June 11.
"I think it is a big test if I happen to start this game and play opposition like Bosnia," he said. "You know, to me, this is almost a similar game to what we played in Cleveland against Belgium, a very good up-and-coming European team."
At the start of the year few would have imagined to see Evans staring at a potential fifth consecutive start at right back for the USMNT. But his international success comes as no shock to him.
"It’s not really a surprise for me, it’s something I’ve always had an aspiration for and felt I could play at that level," Evans said. "It just happened to be the right time, and the right situation in coming in and playing right back."
Brad Evans' USMNT appearances:
- Cap #1: vs. Grenada (July 4, 2009)
- Cap #2: vs. Haiti (July 12, 2009)
- Cap #3: vs. Panama (July 18, 2009)
- Cap #4: vs. El Salvador (Feb. 24, 2010)
- Cap #5: vs. Venezuela (Jan. 21, 2012)
- Cap #6: @ Panama (Jan. 25, 2012)
- Cap #7: vs. Canada (Jan. 29, 2013)
- Cap #8: vs. Belgium (May 29, 2013)
- Cap #9: vs. Germany (June 2, 2013)
- Cap #10: @ Jamaica (June 11, 2013)
- Cap #11: vs. Panama (June 11, 2013)
- Cap #12: vs. Honduras (June 18, 2013)