While the Seattle Sounders aren't seen by many as a team that had many key additions in the off-season (MLS Power Rankings only lists Erik Frieberg and O'Brian White, and Seattle at a mere 6th) it could be said that the health of players like Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Brad Evans are additions. Hurtado is a former All-Star and Finalist for the Defender of the Year.
Evans has 4 senior CAPs (only two players on the January match v Chile had more CAPs) and has been on teams that have won all three Major Trophies available in a given season. He offers a touch of offense, a touch of defense, and strong positional awareness. Sometimes referred to as a coach on the field he returns after missing the last half of the season with a bruise that turned into tendinitis. While Nate Sturgis filled in admirably, Evans offers so much more.
His 10 goals and 7 assists (0.42 PP90) during his 5 MLS regular and playoff seasons aren't mighty, but a goal here and there makes the difference in home field advantage and sitting at home at the end of the season. This isn't his first time with a significant injury, and last year he got to learn from a few new center mids, and admits that he's got competition to be a starter this year.
Brad Evans: Finally, its been a tough six months just sitting around and watching.
DC: There's been a lot of different guys out there. Nate Sturgis is gone, Alvaro Fernandez, Alonso, Eric Friberg joining, what have you learned from just watching midfield play?
Evans: That's something that I spoke about with Sigi too. When I first came into the league I was injured also, and got a chance in my first year to basically watch. In my first year I played only like four or five games, but I got to watch the dynamic and try to get a different view. Last year I got to take things from different players, things that aren't in my game. Like Nate Sturgis patience on the ball; Alvaro's technical ability. If I can just watch and take little bits and pieces of that and use them in certain situations that might make me a better player.
DC: You had a partnership with Alonso for a year and a half, how do you see now interacting with a strong set of central midfielders?
Evans: It will only benefit us for sure. It will be a battle day in and day out. You can't afford to get injured any more. You can't afford to take a day off. The preseason will be something of a competition. Even in these little games, the different pairings of guys, whatever the coaches feel is the right pairing we'll kind of go from there.
From my standpoint, I'm in a position where I can't assume I have the starting spot again. Hopefully I'll be in there with Alonso, but I just have to keep my head up.
DC: You aren't carrying the "I was a starter" ...
Evans: Not at all. You know with these guys [the front office], they don't bring in international guys for no reason. They don't bring them in to be backups, if you will. They bring them in because they want them to start. They want their to be a competition. That's the way I view it for sure.
If I view it any other way its not beneficial to me, and its not beneficial to the team.
DC: You had the opportunity two years ago to participate in the Gold Cup. That's going to happen again this year with a lot of new faces. Its going to be a young squad, what do you see as opportunities for the US National Team with those young guys, as you would be a seasoned veteran?
Evans: I know. I looked at the January camp and I might have the third or fourth most national team CAPs I think. You know at this point its far off on the radar. I have to get back to playing 90 minutes. That's my main focus right now. Getting through the pre-season healthy and fit is my number one goal.