The wait is over. Sounders FC captain Brad Evans is finally 100-percent healthy.
Evans had been dealing with a calf issue suffered early in a Week 2 loss against Toronto FC, and he hasn’t played since. The midfielder revealed this week that an MRI taken weeks after suffering the bruise showed that he had developed a hematoma.
Coach Sigi Schmid also noted that Evans suffered a second injury along the way, something the team feels was a result of pushing too hard too early.
But now Evans is ready and traveling to Los Angeles for Saturday’s road game against Chivas USA having missed the past four games. He trained in full all week, and Schmid said his impact is immediately noticeable.
“Playing the 11v11 … a lot of times as a coach you stand in the middle of it because I want to hear,” Schmid said, “and he’s one of the guys that organizing and talking to people and directing people. When Brad’s not in there, that’s the part you miss sometimes. He’s come through all these practices really well, so I think he’s 100-percent healthy. Is he 100-percent fit to go 90 minutes? Maybe not at this stage. But that’s something that will come shortly.”
Schmid declined to comment on if Evans would be a starter or on the bench this weekend. Though, clearly Evans’ situation with the U.S. national team with the World Cup looming isn’t lost on anyone.
“There is a lot going for him, a lot at stake,” Schmid said. “He wants to get back. He wants to get on the field. He wants to get minutes as soon as possible.”
Here is a little bit from our chat with Evans on Thursday:
(How are you feeling?) “Good. Yeah, back out there on Tuesday, full practice, today, trained full — feeling good. It’s just good to be outside again and not watching on the sideline. Just a minor little setback, but feeling ready to go.”
(Has this been a frustrating recovery process?) “Yeah, it was just weird. Frustrated? Yes, but it was just weird how everything happened. It was a knock, and we thought it would get better. Instead of getting an MRI early, we got one two weeks later after it was really starting to give me some pain and found out it was a hematoma. It was just radiating pain and it just takes time to get that out of there, so it was definitely frustrating. One day you feel good and one day you don’t feel good. It was a slow process.”
(Was it difficult to withdraw from USMNT duty?) “For sure, the way I look at it is we have two right backs here, maybe three fighting for a position. In there, it’s seven or eight guys fighting for one position. It’s frustrating, and you hate to give your chance away to somebody else. That’s the reality of it, but the focus now is the Sounders. I have to be healthy No. 1 to even give myself a shot. Healthy, playing consistently for the next month, month and a half, and whatever happens happens.”
(Are you concerned about being match fit?) “No, I think I broke the rowing machine like three times these past four weeks just out of frustration. No. I felt even good today getting around. Match fitness obviously comes with playing games, and that will take time, but I always feel fit. I kept up with fitness the best I could on the bike and rowing machine, so it’s just really not even a thought.”