Brad Evans has another new position, at least for now. The Seattle Sounders jack-of-all-trades has been playing the entire preseason as a center back, including a pair of starts alongside Chad Marshall.
The Sounders say it's not just a simple experiment, either. Both they and Evans are giving indications this could be a permanent move.
"He's well-equipped to succeed there," Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey told reporters on Monday. "He's the captain of our team, he's a leader, that's a role we're going to try and we're going to see how it goes with him and Marshall back there.
"I think that's something that will take some time. It's not something that is going to resolve itself in a couple days or a couple weeks. If you're going to try a positional shift like this, you have to give it time to develop because it's totally unfair to ask a player -- rookie, veteran or otherwise -- to learn a new position and all the nuances in a couple weeks or even a preseason."
Evans will likely need all that time and possibly more to fully recognize that potential. The eight-year MLS veteran has spent the vast majority of his career as a midfielder and although he has played as a defender -- most notably for the United States during World Cup qualifying -- it has mostly been as an outside back.
Evans seems to be embracing the change and is hoping that it will ultimately lead to less of it, despite his relative inexperience
"The opportunity at the end of the year was talked about," Evans said. "So I called Sigi in January and asked 'What's the deal?' because I want to be mentally prepared, I want to play one position and play it well. I think this will give me the best chance moving forward. Only time will tell how it goes, but the good thing is I can play other positions as well. If something happens where they don't like what they see, I'm sure they'll make a swift change.
"It has been difficult, but it's also been a good challenge that I've been looking forward to."
So far, Evans has looked reasonably adept at his new position, receiving passing grades from Sigi Schmid. But there's also a clear hope that he's just scratching the surface of that potential and that making this move now help his development.
"I didn't want to wait until he was older because learning the nuance of the position would be more difficult," Schmid said. "He's got a great work ethic and covers a lot of the field (as a midfielder), so you lose that, but you get his vision, his ability to organize (as a center back). When we're looking at the roster, where do we want to add players, where do we want to spend money, we thought we should try this because it means that's maybe an area of the team we don't have to spend money on and then we can plug another hole on the team if we think that exists."
If the Sounders have found their center back, such a glaring hole doesn't seem to exist, as the position suddenly looks reasonably deep. Veteran Zach Scott is waiting in the wings and youngsters Jimmy Ockford and Damion Lowe are showing more promise. This would also help explain why the Sounders are taking more of a wait-and-see approach with the transfer window, instead of rushing to spend some of the allocation money they earned in DeAndre Yedlin's transfer.
They can instead afford to see if they need a true wide player to complement Lamar Neagle and Marco Pappa, possibly add a full back if Tyrone Mears doesn't live up to expectations, bring in that dominant center mid they've never quite had or even supplementing the center back corps.
Evans' move has the clear potential to make the Sounders a more complete team, one way or another.
"It's definitely a position where we have to get better," Lagerwey said. "We'll see how that goes. You're stating the obvious when you say the defense has to get better than it was last year. And (Evans' move) is part of it."