All week the Seattle Sounders have been preparing to face the Vancouver Whitecaps under the assumption they'd be short at least three starters. Turns out it might only be two ... or as many as four.
Brad Evans was back in Sounders training on Friday, a day after Jurgen Klinsmann made the surprising decision to cut the United States World Cup roster down to 23 almost two full weeks before the June 2 deadline. Although he appeared to be a full participant, Evans might still be given the week off according to Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid.
"They haven’t really had any days off so we’ll see where he’s at physically and make that decision tomorrow," Schmid said, adding that Evans may also need a mental break after missing out on his first World Cup.
Further complicating the Sounders' situation is the potential absence of Lamar Neagle, who has been limited in training all week due to a hamstring injury.
"We didn’t want him to push it," Schmid said." We feel it’s minor and we’re just going to make a decision on if it’s worthwhile risking it this weekend."
Assuming Evans plays, the most natural fit would be for him to slide into the right back position vacated by DeAndre Yedlin, who was among the 23 men to make the World Cup cut. Evans' last MLS appearance was as a left back and the he likely spent the better part of the past 10 days training as a right back. If Evans is out, Jalil Anibaba or possibly Michael Azira would be the players to most likely get the nod.
If Neagle is out, Chad Barrett would appear to be the player most likely to start. With Sean Okoli only resuming training on Friday -- an MRI revealed that his knee was not seriously injured -- Barrett is the only remaining offensive-minded player with significant playing time.