Brad Evans’ latest calf strain came at the worst time. The Sounders FC veteran was set to join the U.S. men’s national team for World Cup qualifying after Saturday’s road game against the Crew, but an early injury in Columbus — perhaps affected by a long weather delay — put a delay on those plans.
Reporters got a chance to catch up with Evans after Thursday’s practice and he continues to rehab. Here is a transcript of that conversation:
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(It has been a lot of positivity all year. How are you handling this setback, especially an untimely one as you miss World Cup qualifiers?) “Exactly like you said: trying to stay positive. Just a little speed-bump in the bigger picture. That’s kind of how I have to look at it.”
(Any more frustrating being that it came after a long weather delay?) “Yeah, the weather delay was difficult, but we also had 17 other guys that made it through it just fine. Maybe it was something prior to that that put me in that condition. I’m not sure. It’s something that I have to take care of and maybe be more conscious of. The last couple injuries have been with my calf, so I have to find out what’s going on there and what I can do better to take care of myself. In the past I’ve been good about nutrition and hydration and all those things, but maybe I’m missing out on something. Maybe it’s travel. It could be so many different things. I try not to get my head wrapped around it too much. I’m hoping it’s just another one-off thing that keeps me out (one week). When I usually have these calf injuries, I only miss one game. Obviously we have the two games this week, which makes it a little bit different, but I’m hoping to be ready by next Friday. The bigger picture is the MLS season and where we’re standing and what I can do is do my best to rehab, get healthy and be better than where I was before.”
(Does it help that you have equity with the national team now and that it’s not, for example, your first call-up of the year?) “Yeah, I try not to think that way, though. If I get wrapped up in too much of that, it’s going to be detrimental. The way that I look at it is, like I said, a little speed-bump. If I go in healthy the next couple games and we do well, I think that’s more merit than past experiences. You want people who are playing the best right now and at the best condition at the moment going into qualifiers. Unfortunately I picked up the injury and hopefully I can get healthy, play well for the Sounders, and that’s just an afterthought now. I just have to focus on getting healthy.”
(There seemed to be a guy near you. Was there any contact on the play?) “No. No contract at all. No. Nothing. Just turned and felt a pop. Yeah, he called the foul, which was pretty funny. And afterwards I told him it wasn’t a foul, it was just my calf. Yeah, but no contact at all.”
(Do you watch the qualifier tomorrow any differently?) “No. Obviously now I watch it as a fan, and that’s to support the guys 100 percent and try to send positive vibes. I think it’s a situation like Jamaica where the team hasn’t found success in qualifiers down in Costa Rica. It’s going to be a difficult game. It’s a different venue than what’s it’s been in the past. Maybe that’ll be an advantage, and I think Costa Rica is a bit upset by what happened in Denver. But I think anytime that happens and you go to a place where they’re throwing eggs at the bus and things like that, it builds camaraderie as well for the U.S. team. I think guys are like, ‘Let’s do this. We’ve got to put in an extra-hard performance, because we know these guys are going to come out on fire.’”
(Will you watch Cameron or Parkhurst or whoever is playing right back more?) “Yeah, obviously I’m going to watch the position I would be playing in that situation. Last night I’m watching what Serva and Ozzie do. For whatever reason, whether or not I’m starting at right mid or have had a run of games at right mid with the Sounders, I generally tend to watch the middle of the park. I think that’s just a natural tendency from playing most of my games there. Yeah, tomorrow night I’ll probably be watching the right-hand side — what I can do better, what I see — but also learning, because those are guys who have played that position most of their career.”
(Did you say before that your parents down to Costa Rica?) “Yeah, my parents are down there right now. They got in late Saturday night, checked their email and I had sent them a quick blurb about some bad news. But they’re staying at a nice resort and having a great time. I think they’re still going to catch the game tomorrow night, so get them hooked up with tickets and hopefully a safe passage into the stadium and it’s not too crazy. But they’re having a good time.
(Did you know beforehand they were going?) “Yeah, I knew beforehand. That kind of put a damper on things obviously, but they’ll be all right. Just a little vacation for them.”