While it seems like Seattle Sounders captain Brad Evans has been “close” to returning from a minor back issue for weeks now, this week it might actually be true. Evans said that after the 4-2 loss in Portland, he had back spasms that kept him out of training for awhile. “Then I came back, trained hard, probably too soon, felt it again.” He had an MRI, which detected a small strain in his back that was probably re-aggravated by returning to training sooner than he should have.
Evans said that he could have been ready for Wednesday’s match against Chicago, but after weighing the pros and cons, he and the club staff decided it wasn’t necessary. “If it was the last game of the season and we’re really fighting to make the playoffs then yes, but at the risk of missing the rest of the season for the Chicago game, it wasn’t worth it.”
But as of Friday, Evans said that he’s been training in full all this week, and that he expects to be available for selection in Vancouver on Sunday. The only question is, where does he play? With Roman Torres starting to form a solid central defensive partnership with Chad Marshall, Evans will likely have to break into a different position—possibly even midfield, where he hasn’t really played (aside from a handful of minutes late in games) in more than a season.
While many fans would like to see Evans take over at right-back, because Tyrone Mears has been fairly tepid in that role this season. But Evans himself said he expects to play a role in midfield, because there’s “nowhere else to play,” and the Sounders will be without two first-choice attacking players: Nicolas Lodeiro (yellow card accumulation) and Clint Dempsey (out for the season to deal with irregular heartbeat). Whether it’s a starting role in midfield or a spot on the bench on Sunday, Evans said that “I just want to help the team any way I can, only 4 games left to make the playoffs.”
It’s this willingness to help out wherever he can that makes Evans such an essential player for the Sounders—and probably reveals why he’s stuck around for so long. At this point in the club’s season, egos have to be swept aside for the good of the team. “Whatever your role is, you can’t be choose-y at this point, the team’s playing as well as it is, you want to be involved with the process, you want to be involved with turning the season around and making the playoffs.”