A quad of Sounders players starter their preseasons early. They had duty with national teams. The USA, Sweden and Honduras used Eddie Johnson, Brad Evans, Adam Johansson and Mario Martinez to help their goals and causes in the current qualifying cycle These players got the honor of wearing the shirt of their nation, but they also help their own journeys to be better soccer players.
Brad Evans regularly credits last year's call-up as part of why the year was so good for him. It may also be good for the team.
"Last year was beneficial was moving forward in the whole season. It was some good offseason work. It propelled me to a good season, but anything can happen. That's not the guideline, that's not the magic recipe or else we'd all be starting preseason earlier. I think it helps. I think it helps when you are shoved into a national team situation where you're traing with the top players. The pace is quick, there's not as many mistakes. There's a lot expected of you. At the same time whatever we accomplish there and whatever I took away from that I can take here. With the younger guys I can share and I think in the end it is a great jump start to the season."
A team that was very close was right there, but in 2013 has four players that got a little bit of extra practice at a different pace than the MLS level. Not all of those are healthy - Martinez is probable and Johansson is doubtful, but for Evans and Johnson the time is now to prove that there is not a club vs country conflict.