WASHINGTON, D.C. — How Brad Evans came to be in the US national team’s starting XI against Germany is irrelevant. The fact that he was a late call up is irrelevant.
All that matters is that when the call came, he played well at a relatively unfamiliar position — right back — and helped Jurgen Klinsmann’s American squad to a 4-3 win over Germany on Sunday.
“Jurgen called me a couple of weeks ago and asked, ‘Are you ready to come in?” Evans told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “I don’t know what happened with the late call up, but you don’t ask questions. You just say, ‘Yes, sir. Yes, sir.’ He said, ‘We’ll look at you at right back.’ I said, ‘Yes, sir. Yes sir.’”
Evans, who normally lines up in the midfield for the Seattle Sounders, has played a few US Open Cup and league matches at right back, but only a handful. He admits that he’s “still learning the position.”
It’s a steep learning curve, for sure. The competition at right back includes mainstay Steve Cherundolo, who has struggled with injuries recently, and Geoff Cameron, who plays right back for his club, Stoke City, but has mainly played center back for the US. Plus, there is Augsburg right back Michael Parkhurst and possibly Nurnberg’s Timothy Chandler.
Still, he looks to have a better opportunity to break through at right back than anywhere else on the field, according to the manager.
“Brad showed exactly what we wanted to see,” Klinsmann said after the match. “For Brad to break into our midfield line is very, very difficult, having Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley set in there.
“But I always said he can play on the right or on the left [of the defense]. He has that vision, that technique. He’s strong and good in one against ones. He doesn’t shy away from overlapping up front as well.”
Sunday’s match took Evans’s cap total to 10. His last appearance came in a 0-0 draw with Canada in January, and he has been named to the 35-man preliminary roster for the upcoming Gold Cup. (He's listed as a midfielder, of course.)
But before that, there is the matter of Friday’s World Cup qualifier in Jamaica (9:30 pm ET, beIN Sport, live chat on MLSsoccer.com). Evans, who was partially at fault for not reacting to a possible rebound that led to Germany’s third goal, doesn’t know if he did enough on Sunday to book a seat on the USMNT’s flight to Kingston on Tuesday.
“There are still things I can do better to help the team,” he said. “I’ll look at tape and see where it stands next week.”
Klinsmann didn’t give anything away, either, but at least he acknowledged that Evans’s performance gives him something to consider.
“He took his chance,” Klinsmann said. “It’s as simple as that.”