VANCOUVER, B.C. – You could say that the Seattle Sounders’ 2-1 Cascadia Cup victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place on Sunday was a mixed bag for Brad Evans.
After missing the club’s last four matches with back tightness, Seattle’s 31-year-old captain made his return to the field as a second-half substitute in dramatic fashion, scoring the game-deciding goal on an 84th-minute penalty kick.
But Evans will now be suspended for Seattle’s next game. The versatile veteran picked up a late red card for whipping his head at Whitecaps defender David Edgar after the two were jostling for position on a corner kick, a sequence that Evans expanded on in his postgame comments to reporters.
“Corner kick comes in, Edgar’s pulling me back,” Evans said. “It’s definitely a PK. So I get up, he says it’s not [a PK] and he leans in and puts his head on mine. Look at the replay. I mouth, ‘You can’t do that. [Expletive] off.’ I never made contact with him.
“Then he turns around and asks for a red card and, sure enough, [referee Ricardo] Salazar brings the card out of his pocket and says ‘OK, here’s a red.’ No contact made. He makes contact with my face first. So not really much to say there.”
Evans wasn’t the only one Salazar handed an early exit. The Sounders played much of the second half a man up after Vancouver’s Pedro Morales was ejected in the 53rd minute for a high elbow on Seattle midfielder Cristian Roldan, in what turned into an all-around wild affair at BC Place.
“There were a lot of deviations [from the original plan],” Sounders interim head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “But a win’s a win. The guys are in a good mood, good spirits and credit to them. They found a way to win after taking the first goal.”
Theatrics aside, Sunday’s victory continued Seattle’s remarkable late-season turnaround. They've skyrocketed from the Western Conference basement into playoff position with 44 points on the season, with a home matchup vs. the last-place Houston Dynamo next on the docket.
“We just need to keep that momentum going,” said forward Herculez Gomez. “I think everybody here knows what we’re fighting for. Nobody believed we were the worst team when we were in that slump, nobody thinks we’re the best team now. We’re even-keeled. We just want to do our job.”