Brad Evans has not started a game for the Seattle Sounders since the 4-2 loss to the Portland Timbers on Aug. 28, 2016. It will be awhile longer before he does.
Head coach Brian Schmetzer told the Seattle Times the team has made the decision to shut down Evans for at least “five to seven weeks” for what they are calling a calf strain. Evans has been unable to play in any of the Sounders’ five preseason matches. Another calf injury was largely responsible for Evans’ failing to start any of the Sounders’ eight regular-season games or six playoff games.
The presumptive starter at right back, Evans’ preseason got off to an early start when he was called into the United States national team for a pair of friendlies. Evans played 22 minutes in the second of those two games, a 1-0 win over Jamaica on Feb. 3.
But upon rejoining the Sounders after their trip to Tucson, Ariz., Evans was sidelined with what appeared to be a knee injury. It’s assumed that Evans suffered the calf strain while attempting to recover from that injury.
The Times’ story suggests the Sounders are merely erring on the side of caution with Evans, who had barely a month off between the Dec. 10, 2016 MLS Cup final and the start of USMNT training camp on Jan. 10. A “normal” MLS offseason is usually at least twice as long as that.
The Sounders were also apparently sufficiently encouraged by the performance of Gustav Svensson, who played a full 90 minutes in the preseason finale against the Columbus Crew. With Oniel Fisher still recovering from concussion protocol — and, like Evans, not having played a single minute for the Sounders in preseason — Svensson is virtually guaranteed to start the season-opener against the Houston Dynamo.