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Brad Evans injury update: Defender making positives steps toward return

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This was the third time this week that Evans had trained and the second time he was fully involved

MLS: Portland Timbers at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Going into this season, Brad Evans seemed to have the inside track on the starting right back job. After all, Tyrone Mears had been effectively traded to Atlanta United and Evans was highly thought of enough that he had been invited to the United States national team training camp.

But after a season in which he battled injuries down the stretch — keeping him from starting any games after Aug. 26, 2016 — Evans picked up another knock in USMNT camp. That kept him out of all of the Sounders’ preseason training and he was eventually declared out for 5-7 weeks with what the team was calling a calf strain. That was on Feb. 27, more than eight weeks ago.

Although Evans still hasn’t played, he has been at least training this week as the Sounders prepare for Saturday’s match against the New England Revolution.

“He’s doing better,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said on Thursday. “He was training a little today at full speed. We're just trying to build up his strength.”

For better or worse, Evans’ starting right back job still appears to be up for grabs. First-year player Jordy Delem started the last game and is likely to start there again against the Revolution, but hasn’t exactly been spectacular. Similarly, Oniel Fisher has the most starts (three), but is also dealing with an injury and hasn’t been much better than Delem when he’s played.