VANCOUVER, B.C. — Brad Evans was able to haul himself into the US national team picture mainly on the strength of his versatility.
Maybe it was only fitting, then, that his ability to play multiple positions would be put to good use in his first match back after being one of the USMNT's seven final roster cuts ahead of the World Cup.
Following a groin injury to Djimi Traore, Evans entered the match as a center back before finishing at right back, logging 34 minutes in a wild 2-2 tie with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
“It was fun,” said Evans, a natural midfielder whose last three appearances with the Sounders have included time in three different spots across the defense. “Obviously playing a week, pretty much consistently the whole time there, that helped out today.”
Although Evans has mostly played right back with the national team, he said all but about 30 minutes of the playing time he received during his eight days at the pre-World Cup training was at center back.
That kind of versatility may have turned out to be a double-edged sword as Evans’ final impression on Jurgen Klinsmann barely included the position at which he had excelled during World Cup qualifying.
“Maybe I saw the writing on the wall initially when I got in,” Evans said. “Omar [Gonzalez] was injured. My versatility enabled me to play that position, but maybe it bit me in the butt in the end.
“I would have liked to prove myself in that position and prove continuously that I can play that position. For whatever reason I wasn’t looked at in that position and they thought I couldn’t perform there.”
The timing of the decision also caught Evans by surprise, as Klinsmann made his final cuts almost two weeks before the June 2 roster deadline.
“I had no idea,” Evans said. “Those training sessions are split in two. A couple guys from the first group got let go earlier. We were walking into the locker room, pulled aside and that’s it. Chop, chop and you’re out of there.
“I got up, said goodbye to the players and that was it.”
While clearly disappointed at coming so tantalizingly close to appearing in his first-ever World Cup, Evans stayed mostly positive about his experience.
Evans started five games during the final stage of qualifying, with the United States going 5-0-0 in those games on their way to finishing atop the group.
Evans also assured his place in USMNT lore when he composed a playful tweet in which he said Portuguese winger and reigning FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, who is expeced to match up against the USA's right back in Brazil next month, “got off easy.”
“It was all in good fun,” Evans said about the tweet. “I was sitting in the airport on a long delay. For no reason, it popped into my head.
“It’s not a sob story. Nobody passed away. It’s part of the game. My career’s not over. I’m not leaving the game. I signed a new three-year contract. I’ve got nothing else but to be proud of what I accomplished and what we’re continuing to do in Seattle.”