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June 9, 2013 at 10:47 AM

A stop and chat with Brad Evans after his USMNT heroics in Jamaica

evans mug 2013Sounders FC’s Brad Evans was at CenturyLink Field for Saturday’s home game against the Vancouver Whitecaps. He, of course, was a spectator while serving with the U.S. men’s national team ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier here against Panama. He also was coming off a dramatic stoppage-time winner Friday in Jamaica.

Evans spoke with a hoard of reporters in the press box at halftime, and here is a transcript of the interview:

*     *     *

(What have the past 24 hours been like for you?) “Long. Just a good experience, a great experience. Obviously getting three points is the most important thing. Long travel day today and staying for the game will make it even that much longer, but it’s great to be out here to support the guys. A lot of emotions, scoring a goal, then flying 10-plus hours, then coming to watch your own team trail at halftime is difficult, too.”

(What have these last couple days with the USMNT meant for you?) “It’s just an opportunity. I think I’ve been telling myself that each game brings a new opportunity and it’s up to me if I stake my claim, I guess. I think I’ve done a decent job the first two games and obviously I can do better on a number of occasions, but that will come in time playing the position, learning the position. Even now I’m watching DeAndre [Yedlin] and how he is playing the position today in certain situations that I might find myself in a game, so still obviously a student and still learning. I will always remember this, for sure.”

(What have been some areas you think you can improve on?) “There are a number of things—missed passes, little bit of timing, tracking runners — for me, it’s endless. Those are things that I remember from games is the way that I can improve, not necessarily the good things.”

(Would you call this the biggest week of your career?) “I still think winning MLS Cup is the biggest thing that I will always remember. But like I’ve always said, you remember certain points in your career, whether it’s winning MLS Cup, Open Cups, first game with the national team, obviously scoring your first goal, you will always remember it. It’s a big week, that’s for sure.”

(And you didn’t know what time in the game it was in Jamaica?) “There was no clock in the stadium, I had no idea. Every time you asked a ref he just ran right past you, so I had zero inclination what time it was — absolutely none.”

(On playing with the USMNT first team…) “It’s a different level. It really is. You don’t notice it looking on the outside. You think, ‘Oh it’s easy to play. It’s easy and this or that or the other. It’s Jamaica. Why aren’t they getting results there?’ But then you get in the belly of the beast and you get in these situations and you don’t realize how difficult it is. We’ve experienced it with the Champions League a little bit as going down there and playing teams that people have never heard of, playing against players that people have never heard of and [wondering] why aren’t they getting results. It takes experience and a little bit of luck to go your way to get a result. Playing with these guys, the wealth of experience and talent, it’s really special, but it’s not much farther off than what we’re seeing in MLS. I think everyone will be the first to tell you it’s still a different level, but you settle in quickly. When you’re playing with good players it makes you that much better.”

(How surprised are you to be standing here as the No. 1 right back?) “I’m surprised to be the No. 1, for sure, but ready. Like I said it’s an opportunity, but I’ve been thrust into different positions before in a snap of a finger—the day of the game, changing positions, within a game playing center back for 45 minutes or whatever it is. It’s just having a positive attitude and being a student of the game and recognizing that’s my role and embracing it. I think in years past I thought I wanted to be a central midfielder and that’s what I thought I was going to be in this league, but things change and lineups change and coaches change. Being ready for the inevitable and the little switches that might happen — and there might be a better player in midfielder, so you have to find a way to get on the field — that’s has always been on the back of my mind.”

(Have you thought about what Tuesday is going to be like?) “Obviously I’ve thought about it. Being home, I think it will be extremely special and not many players get to experience something like this. It will always be something I remember. My first cap was here with the Gold Cup, and I will always remember that one. And this one, playing in the World Cup Qualifier, hopefully I’ll be playing in that one, as well. You try not to get too anxious a couple days before, you think about last night for a couple days maybe, then get your own game and things out of your mind and try to relax and take it easy for a couple days. Come game time, it will be time to play.”

(After getting a couple starts, does the World Cup in Brazil start to creep into your mind?) “No, not at all. There’s so much time from now until Brazil. Obviously everyone wants to play in a World Cup, but there are still a number of players who were supposed to be here that weren’t here for injury or because they played an extremely long season. In my mind, there are a number of guys that are ahead of me, so keep plugging away and whatever happens, happens.”

(How do you explain ticket sales for Tuesday compared to Saturday?) “I think of it as anywhere in the world your club team is going to get more than the national team in some situations. But we are so lucky to have our club. If we were getting 15,000 every game and now we are getting 34,000 for a national game, we would be singing in a different tune, but the fact we get 55,000 tonight and ‘only’ getting 35,000 at a game on Tuesday night, I think we’re doing okay.”

(What has the feedback you’ve been getting from coaches?) “Just positive. Everything has been really positive, but looking back on tape there are things to work on, so I’m taking all the knowledge I can from those guys and still learning. Right now I am playing that position, and if I keep doing it the way they want to, hopefully I will find myself still in the starting lineup.”

(Have you been hearing from your USMNT teammates about Seattle soccer atmosphere?) “Yeah, and I think today was a difficult day. A couple days ago guys were really excited to come to the game, but 10-plus hours of travel and no real dinner on the schedule. Some guys opted to eat out, and they missed the numbers. But they will find out on Tuesday night. There are a number of guys here that are catching it. Some guys had no idea, like Joe (Corona) and Terrence (Boyd), guys playing in other countries are still asking to this day how many numbers you guys get for games and saying, ‘Oh crap, that’s pretty incredible.’ So they understand and it’s pretty cool to experience it and be able to showcase our fans.”

| More in Stop and chats


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