Brad Evans has been forced to watch plenty of matches from the press box while recovering from injury. He’s watched plenty of games on TV as a fan.
How he’ll be experiencing Saturday’s match between the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps, though, will be something else. Evans, who is currently with the United States national team preparing for Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Jamaica, will be watching his Sounders teammates from a seat at CenturyLink Field in a manner not so different from the other 50,000 or so people in attendance.
“It will be very weird watching that game,” Evans told reporters during a Tuesday teleconference. “It’s different when you’re just injured and watching from the top, but when you’re playing host to some other guys and almost being more of a fan at that point, it’ll be strange. But obviously I know that I’m part of the Sounders, nothing has changed there with my club team. I’ll be supporting them, 100 percent.”
New experiences are something Evans has recently learned to embrace.
Although the 28-year-old once hoped to carve out a career as a central midfielder, he’s now growing comfortable in his role as more of a utility player. He’s played mostly as a wide midfielder with the Sounders this season, which helped facilitate what appears to be a growing role with the national team.
His recent performance in the United States’ 4-3 win over Germany now has many talking about him as a possible starting right back.
“Maybe I was meant to play this position all along,” Evans said. “Maybe it’s just that desire to be on the field. But I also think playing in the midfield helps out playing right back, and obviously playing on the wing this year helps out, as well.”
Evans admits to being aware of some of the praise he’s received in the press for his play against Germany, but he’s also conscious that it was an imperfect performance and that he is still trying to pick up the nuances of playing defense.
“The things I remember from the game are a missed pass to Jermaine [Jones] in the first half, maybe not following my guy on a 1-2 in the first half and then maybe a letdown in defensive pressure from my part in the second half,” he said. “So I still want to learn the position and look over tape and see what I can do better. That’s the kind of guy I’ve always been, so I wasn’t going to step away from that.”
Considering Evans was one of the final players called into this series of games, that kind of attitude is especially understandable. Evans knows his spot on the team is still far from guaranteed.
While he doesn’t know whether he’ll even get a chance to play in the Seattle qualifier, he is confident that it will be a memorable experience for those that do.
“It’ll be a spectacle, that’s for sure,” Evans said. “I know that we’ll come out in numbers. The fans will be behind us 100 percent and I think it will be something very, very special, regardless if I play, suit up, whatever it is. I can’t wait to showcase it for the other guys on the team who haven’t played in our stadium or played in front of our crowd.”