When Sigi Schmid slots Brad Evans in at right back it is rare and with specific purpose. It only happened three times in 2012 and has yet to happen in 2013. Those three times include a match in the CCL against Caledonia (that isn't really a test) and the Battle of Kezar. Schmid said after the San Jose match that he was trying to get the most height on the field he could.
Jurgen Klinsmann placing Evans at right back was a test. The German coach of the Ued States wanted to see if Evans could widen his utility to his nation - he did. This eye test of B-Rad's quality was nearly universal.
Klinsmann made a change along the right with utility man Brad Evans taking his turn along the outside of the back line. The Seattle Sounder, a real thinking man’s player, had a solid first half defensively. Then again, he and left back DaMarcus Beasley needed something more assertive going forward. Yes, it’s nit-picky, but outside backs at this level have to press into the attack.
MLSsoccer.com considered Evans the third best player on the pitch and a huge upgrade over the other MLS defenders. They were playing their natural positions, but so was Evans. They gave him an eight of ten.
AmericanSoccerNow's community ratings for B-Rad are a bit lower. He is only the fifth best at time of posting. It should be noted that in general the American Soccer community (not just theirs) is down on Evans. For many years that was also true in Seattle.
The New York Times player ratings also love Brad. They have him at fourth in ranking and again the highest of the MLS guys.
Jurgen Klinsmann liked what he saw too.
Klinsmann summed it up in his post-game press conference: "I think Brad Evans showed exactly what we wanted to see."
Maybe more impressive is that Evans was not satisfied.
"I'm still learning the position first and foremost so by no means do I know the position yet," Evans told reporters after the game. "I try to use what I know in midfield and playing out wide."
Brad may not be the #1 right back for his club or country. But he is not a replacement level player. He's taking this utility man label and turning it into an award.