If there were a factory where you could order an ideal center back to play alongside Chad Marshall, these are the features Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid would seek.
“Looking for a guy who’s comfortable with the ball.” Schmid said. “Looking for a guy who is able to talk and organize. Looking for a guy who can defend one-on-one against good, quick players and do a good job defensively in crucial moments like that. Somebody who can hold our line where it needs to be held.”
Without a factory to construct such a player, the Sounders plucked one from their own roster: the versatile Brad Evans, who made his center back debut for Seattle Sunday in the team’s 3-0 win over New England.
Does he fulfill his coach’s requirements?
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“He’s the guy for right now,” Schmid said. “Like I said, it’s something that six, seven games in, we’ll be able to tell. But I thought he did more things right than he did otherwise, and I thought it was a good opening performance. He knows there are things he has to improve upon. … He won’t be the complete center back until probably the beginning of next season.”
Over his first five seasons in Seattle, Evans was primarily a midfielder. Last season, he increasingly filled in at right back, a position he also manned with the United States national team.
This season, the club asked him about moving again. He agreed, with a single condition.
“I told them if I play there I want to play one position; that’s what I want to do this year,” Evans said Tuesday. “… I was bouncing around last year between defense, offense, multiple positions – just never found that rhythm of years prior. So I told them if I do play this position I … want to try to do the best that I can at it.”
Evans is expected to get his second start there at 7 p.m. Saturday, when the San Jose Earthquakes visit CenturyLink Field.
Rookie midfielder Cristian Roldan made his professional debut Sunday, just seconds before the final whistle.
“I sort of killed Roldan a little bit because I wanted to bring him on at the 89th, 90th minute, but I am superstitious and I don’t like to sub on defending corners,” Schmid said. “And the ball didn’t go out of bounds for a while, so his lack of minutes (was due to that).”
Roldan had his own solution.
“When I was on the sideline waiting to go in, I was yelling at Andy (Rose) to foul,” he said.
Roldan was the 16th overall selection in the draft last January after two seasons at the University of Washington. Even though his debut was brief, he said it was meaningful.
“I never felt that this moment would actually happen,” he said Tuesday. “Two years ago, I didn’t know what college I was going to end up at. I had only a couple of scholarship offers. So to be in this moment two years later, it’s an unbelievable feeling. … When you could walk on the pitch with 39,000 or 40,000 people, it’s always a good feeling. And to have my family there to support, to share that feeling with me, is an awesome feeling.”
Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore was named MLS player of the week Tuesday after scoring two goals in a 3-1 win at Vancouver on Sunday. … Sounders Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Tyrone Mears were named to the MLS team of the week. … Dempsey’s second goal is among five nominees for MLS goal of the week. However, the Stefan Frei save of a Kelyn Rowe shot — which Schmid had described as “world class” — was not among the league’s five nominees for save of the week. … The Sounders are off Wednesday. They will return to training Thursday.