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June 20, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Brad Evans on his USMNT time: ‘Maybe it opened my eyes that I can play at that level.’

Photo credit: Streeter Lecka, Getty Images

Photo credit: Streeter Lecka, Getty Images

Sounders FC’s Brad Evans spoke with reporters Thursday after returning to Seattle after a month with the U.S. national team. It was a wild month, as the 28-year-old had a great game against Germany in a friendly leading into three-straight starts in World Cup qualifiers (all wins). He notably had the dramatic stoppage-time winner in Jamaica.

Here is a full transcript of the interview — and, yes, maybe the headline is a bit ironic with Evans covering his eyes in celebration of his goal…

*     *     *

(Has the past month changed your perspective on anything with the USMNT?) “No. I think obviously it was a great opportunity, first and foremost. But yeah, I don’t really think it changed my perception or anything. I know what it’s all about, but obviously great to experience firsthand, most importantly. The expectations were always going to be the same. Maybe it opened my eyes that I can play at that level, I think. I’m still learning. That’s probably my fifth time with the national team starting in that position and probably seventh or eighth time playing it, so obviously still room to learn and adjust. But yeah, a great experience.”

(Ever a moment where you questioned it or, on the other extreme, that you were figuring it out now?) “Definitely. Of course. There were definitely moments, especially in the Germany game, where I think I settled in early on with a couple long balls that connected. Then there’s obviously certain times where I lost my head and still hadn’t seen something like that before, whether it’s an outside back overlapping. I just hadn’t been put in that position before so it’s stuff that I hadn’t seen ever. But never where I thought I was over my head in any way. I think we held our own. One goal against in three World Cup qualifiers, I thought the defender played well. Those will be all the positives that I take away from it, but also things that I know I can do better.”

(Did you get any sense of the reported disruption within the team way back around the Costa Rica game?) “Not at all. I thought everybody was on their A-game, professional from the first day of camp to the last day of camp. That’s a long time for a lot of big players to be together. Obviously you’re going to have a clash of some egos or things like that, but at the end of the day, it’s because guys want to win. It’s all competitive spirit. When you’re traveling like that, you don’t have many practices where it’s really, really intense and really playing that 11v11, so when it was, it was extremely intense. It’s guys who feel that they should be playing. Whenever you get put at that highest level and you have 23 guys playing for 11 spots, anyone of those guys is capable of filling in at any time. I think you saw that over the course the past couple games, but it’s a credit to most of the guys. It’s a team-first attitude. Those will be the things that I take away from it for sure.”

(Have you had time in the past 48 hours to reflect on what this past month has meant to you?) “Yeah, a little bit. That interview with Softy yesterday, they cut some audio from the Jamaica game, and didn’t really realize how important that goal was. A big step. Especially the first game of three qualifiers, kind of setting the tone and giving confidence going forward. But most importantly, happy for the team. Happy, obviously, for U.S. Soccer. A tremendous month. I’ll always remember it.”

(Will it be weird coming back to the Sounders where you might not be sure where you’re playing again?) “I don’t know either yet. I think it’s still kind up of in the air. We’ll see how training goes and how guys feel, and we’ll see kind of what happens on Saturday. But wherever I fill in, I fill in, and there are aspects that I can take away. What I learned while playing right back, I can apply those whether it’s center mid, right mid, left mid, whatever it is. You don’t have time to think of it as an adjustment. It’s just do it. That’s it.”

(Has USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann talked to you about the Gold Cup?) “No. He hasn’t talked to me.”

(How would you feel about playing in the Gold Cup?) “It’s tough to be away from home for that long, but at the end of the day, when the bigger picture is the World Cup, and you can get as many games at a high level at a position that they see you at, then that’s something you obviously take into consideration. But it’s tough to leave your club team, too, for that long. You don’t want to leave your club team hanging, but you don’t want to leave your country hanging. You’re kind of caught in between two different minds. But at the end of the day, the goal is the World Cup. Like I said, if you can get games under your belt at that level, you sacrifice and you suck it up.”

(You feel ready for Saturday?) “I’m ready to go, yeah. I’m ready to start — wherever that may be. Obviously (RSL is) a team that has our number the past game or two, not counting the last playoff victory. But yeah I think the last game (there) was tough for us. We didn’t adjust well or stick with the game plan. Even saying that, I thought we had a couple chances. And now we have everyone healthy, so we’ll see what we do this weekend.”

(Will it be different having that RSL crowd against you now?) “Yeah, but it’s fine. It’s all part of it. You expect it. The crowd was tremendous for the game on Tuesday night. I expect another sellout. I’m sure they’ll be screaming at me instead of yelling for me. But that’s all to be expected. It’s what we like. It’s a good atmosphere. It’s a tough place to play. It’s a crowd that gets behind their team. But I think we’re due.”

(Was there a sense of pride in three Sounders starting that USA-Honduras game?) “Yeah, of course. Anytime you think about the Rave Green being in the national spotlight, it’s a good feeling. Happy, obviously, with Eddie getting another start because of his work here in Seattle against Panama. Obviously playing in that game was special and going up against a tremendous player and left winger. A better result for us, which was nice, but at the end of the day, you get guys healthy out of that game and we move forward as a unit now for the Sounders.”

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