Sounders central defender Brad Evans was back training with the team today at Starfire after returning from CONCACAF Gold Cup duty with the U.S. national team.
Sounders and USA teammate Clint Dempsey isn’t expected to return until Thursday, going directly from Gold Cup duty to Commerce City, Colorado, where he will play in the MLS All-Star Game against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.
Here’s some of what Evans had to say today after training:
On being back with Sounders: Good to get back home, back into it, into the swing of things and back into a regular routine – which is nice.
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On the Gold Cup experience: Team-wise disappointed – I think that was the mood. But understanding we can’t win everything all the time. A little bit of a reality check in that sense. Team sense looking to get back on the horse. I think everybody is hungry now. A little bit of a setback. But guys go back to their club teams now, a little bit of a regroup, and focus on September and October. Personally it went well. I was pretty happy with the way everything went personally. Obviously you want to play as much as you can. Circumstances are coaches decisions, it is what it is, so when you get on the field you do the best you can and you hopefully leave a good impression.
On comfort as national team defender: I think I played the position as I always have. Their instructions for me was to make sure that when Fabian (Johnson) attacks that we’ve got three in the back. So a little bit more defensive on my side from what I was told. That was kind of the tactic: Fabian is very good at getting forward -- he plays left mid for his club team -- so for me it was sitting back helping out the defense. From that standpoint I think maybe that helped out defensively a little bit one on one. For the most part I played the position like I would any other time.
On if any hint about his role going forward in World Cup cycle: No. Nothing. For me it’s always been put my head down and work. If I’m playing good I get called in. If I’m not then somebody else will do in.
On following the Sounders: Of course. It’s easy for me to sit back and everybody to sit back and critique. The most important thing is I don’t want to say anything, I just want to get back into it. I think that’s the most important thing is all of us are hungry to get back into it, get on a winning streak. I don’t think any of us have had a month like this in years past. Attitude is great in practice. Everybody’s working. Nobody is throwing in the towel by any means. I think coming into the locker room today, put some smiles on the faces and get back to work.
On importance of Whitecaps match: Open stadium. Standings. Every game from here on out from where we’re sitting is extremely important. None of these games can be taken lightly. We meet them four times (over the next few weeks) and that’s kind of unheard of – with the Champions League games. It’s going to be a difficult task. By the end of it it’s going to be even more difficult. You play somebody that much, you know the ins and outs. So extremely important to get three points at home this weekend. That should be on everybody’s mind.
Watching from away: The most difficult part is timing. Three hours time difference. There you have meetings, playing games, you’ve got postgame stuff, meals and everything. So I caught maybe 45 minutes of actions. We’ll watch tape this week, but I got to talk with guys, I got to talk with Sigi. Three losses in a row, goal in the last five minutes of a game, it’s a tough pill to swallow. But at the same time with guys away it says we’re working hard for 90 minutes. A little bit of luck goes the other way and we find ourselves sitting atop of the standings. It’s a big month for us, and I think everybody is ready to forget last month.
On Clint Dempsey’s Gold Cup performance: Phenomenal. Professional from minute one. I saw a side of Clint that was very, very focused. Coming off the bench when he was needed. Performing off the bench with little warm up – the thought process I think going into it was a couple of games maybe resting him, but the reality was he had to bring him off the bench to get a result, and he did that. He was an absolute warrior. He left everything on the field, and I know he was very excited to get back to work here with us.