Evans ready to return this weekend

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comApril 16, 2013 

The Sounders FC injury list apparently will get shorter by at least one name this week after midfielder Brad Evans declared himself fully fit to return for the club’s Saturday match at the Colorado Rapids.

“With your calves, it’s a weird process,” Evans said Monday. “It’s like about a week of pain and all of a sudden you turn the corner and start to feel better. … I thought I might be able to go in the New England game, but there are plenty more games left.”

Evans has played in two of Seattle’s five Major League Soccer games this season, and he has contributed one of its two goals.

However, he is the only injured Sounders who seems certain to return this weekend.

Coach Sigi Schmid said it was too early to know the status of forwards Eddie Johnson, Obafemi Martins and David Estrada, and he noted that the latter two were still limited in training Monday. Defender Djimi Traore jogged on the sideline after suffering knocks to his leg and knee in Saturday’s game against New England, however Schmid indicated that was precautionary.

The verdict also was out on central defender Patrick Ianni, who got his first playing time of the season Monday, going 68 minutes in an MLS Reserve League match at Los Angeles.

The Sounders’ 0-3-2 start to the MLS season is widely attributed to the absence of so many key players.

However, Schmid was reluctant to adopt any assumption that the winning will return when the players do.

“You can’t say, OK, once these guys are back then all our problems are solved,” Schmid said. “But on the same token, the reality is we haven’t had a full practice. We haven’t had a chance to work on any sort of these combinations with the whole group. We’ve played nine different lineups in nine different games (including CONCACAF Champions League games). We’ve had to mix the lineups all the time. We haven’t found any consistency in that form. So from that standpoint, missing the forwards certainly hurts.”

Schmid said that the return of a veteran such as Evans should help.

“Brad is another guy who talks on the field, and he gives you energy …” Schmid said. “He’s a guy who tries to get in the box, as evidenced by the goal he scored in Salt Lake. He’s always somebody who I think helps give us some positives. To a certain extent he’s a role player, but he’s a positive role player for us.”

In his fifth season with Seattle, Evans has emerged as one of the club leaders.

He tried to balance the reality that it is early in the season with the growing urgency to turn things around.

“I’m still so confident in this team,” Evans said. “I don’t think anything’s changed. I think you could ask anybody that and everybody is still confident in what we do. … It doesn’t feel (like an 0-3-2 team), but that’s the reality of it. We just have to put our heads down and work and hopefully get on the right side of the result.”

RESERVES DRAW

First-round draft pick Eriq Zavaleta headed in Seattle’s lone goal in a 1-1 draw Monday in an MLS Reserve League match at Los Angeles. The Galaxy equalized in the 29th minute on a penalty kick by Hector Jimenez, which followed Seattle’s Zach Scott penalty in the box.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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