Brad Evans offers an enigma. He may be more valuable to the US National Team than he is to his club. Certainly, the young midfielder has value to the club, particularly once he settled back to a box-to-box midfield role inside Sigi's Arrow, but for long stretches his role was unknown. While with the US MNT Evans has settled into a Right Back role, but that isn't where his strength lies, nor his chances of being the one or two selected from the January camp to travel to South Africa this Summer.
His strong tactical knowledge is complimented by at least MLS average passing, shooting and defensive skills at the MLS level this means that he is a capable starter that can fill in at many positions and roles. It means that his ability to act like a coach on the field, knowing his own coaches tactics and philosophy so well. For the National Team though, he is a man without a specialty on a team of specialists. How does a generalist make the roster?
Because of its holes. He allows Bradley to mix and match things and knows that there will be someone available to cover any role in any formation. It is why Brad Evans has played Right Back so far, but it is why he's likely to make the roster. Because if only 23 make the roster, they can't all be specialists and the generalist has to be someone who has strong tactical knowledge and not just the typically strong physical attributes of American soccer players.
Offense: Evans' strongest offensive skill lies in his ability to execute the short pass well. His tactical awareness gets him into great spaces of opportunity, and he used that to score some solid goals. He lacks the ability to beat an opponent with the dribble, but sees other ways to move the ball forward.
Defense: Without the ball Brad does a great job in the more forward defensive band in a four band system. His tactical vision helps him occupy space to shut down channels, and he can read up-coming long passes well. Not the strongest on ball defender this puts him at a slight weakness as a Right Back against a highly technical player.
Set-Plays: Evans will not be the primary target nor defender on a corner, but his awareness helps capitalize on the offense and prevents the opposition from getting the unfortunate rebound. He has the opportunity to get an assist from a corner when he's the target so that he can than hit an open man when the defense reacts.
Defining Moment: How can you forget a classic goal celebration of 5-Hole? It takes a certain confidence for a player to not shoot around the keeper but instead to go right through them. And in celebration he just holds up a single hand with all five fingers out.
Plus/Minus - 12 | 10
Plus/Minus Per 90 - 0.47 | 0.45
Productivity in League Play - 0.31
Productivity in All Competitions- 0.31
Ratings from Prost Amerika - 6.29 (10th)
Second +/- listed uses Climbing the Ladder's data. Of note a Plus/Minus system should capture exactly the type of player that Brad Evans is.
Short Term Peak - Evans might be the constant Rotational player in that he won't start in the same role every match. He can and has played the CM, CAM, RM, RDM, CDM, RB and RWB for the Sounders and even has some time at Forward. He would be an excellent stabilizing force in non-League competitions when most of the players have less experience.
Thoughts on Brad Evans chances with the National Team or his future role with the Sounders?
Updated with Sigi's Arrow
A version of 4-2-4 or 2-3-3-2