Brad Evans returned to the Sounders, jumped right back into game action and played the only way he knows.
He insisted he was never quite sure he made the roster of the U.S. entry into the men’s World Cup even though there were plenty of indications the Mountain Pointe graduate would be in Brazil playing 90 minutes a match for his country.
And yet here he is, like the rest of America’s soccer fans, cheering on the U.S. team, which successfully made it out of the “Group of Death” after Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Germany.
“I had a long delay in the airport on my way back to Seattle, a long time to think, and I got a lot of support from people high up and my peers around me,” Evans told Seattle reporters on May 24 shortly after being cut. “For me, obviously it’s a tough decision to swallow. I put a lot of effort into that team. I bled for that team, and that’s what I do for any team that I’m on.
“So it’s a hard pill to swallow. At the end of the day, it’s a decision that can’t be revoked. Now it’s time to move to the Sounders. With the support that I’ve gotten from the fans and my team, right now there is no other team I’d want to be with.”
He subbed into the Sounders game on May 24, the day after be got back from Stanford, and played in a full 90 minutes in the games that followed before the MLS took a break for the World Cup.
“Initially, your feelings are, ‘Put this in the past and I want to run around for 90 minutes and get after it,’ ” the midfielder said. “Maybe sometimes that’s not the smartest thing, so I took the smart approach. I told him [Sounders coach Sigi Schmid] I felt good. I was mentally ready to go. I was into the game. I felt good out there. It was almost as though I just went away for conditioning camp for a week and then came back. We spoke about it and this morning, and there was never a worry about it.”
The timing of being dropped from the U.S. roster came abruptly in between practices while the team was getting close to departure for Brazil.
“I had no idea,” he said. “Those training sessions are split in two and a couple guys from the first group got let go earlier, so we were walking into the locker room, got pulled aside and that was it. Chop chop, you’re out of there.”
Evans, who has 22 goals and 22 assists in his eight-year MLS career, said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was pretty direct and there wasn’t exactly an exit interview process.
“He just said, ‘I have to make a roster decision today and you’re not a part of it,’ ” Evans remembered. “So that’s where we left it. I got up and said goodbye to the players and that was it.”
He did get a parting shot, however, on Twitter that was funny and gained international buzz.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Evans fired off “You got off easy this time @Cristiano” in reference to getting a chance to match up with one of the world’s most popular soccer players in Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for Portugal and had the crossing pass in the goal that tied the match against the U.S. in the final seconds on Sunday.
“It was all in good fun,” he said of the tweet. “I was sitting in the airport, like I said, a long delay, and for whatever reason, it popped into my head. It’s not a sob story. Nobody passed away. It’s part of the game. It is what it is. My career is not over. I’m not leaving the game. I’ve signed a new three-year contract. I’ve got nothing else but to be proud of what I’ve accomplished and what we continue to do here in Seattle.”
The MLS cranks back up this weekend and Evans, who has one assist in 10 matches this year, only has focus on the Sounders.
“Everything that happened was kind of last minute with it, so it was a fun ride and it’s over now. But now, like I said, I continue on with the Sounders,” he said. “We got a lot of work to do, but my focus now is Sounders. But like you said, I wasn’t going to be comfortable until I was there. And then once I was on the plane, I wasn’t going to be comfortable until I was in the starting eleven. And then I wasn’t going to be comfortable until I started the next game. You know what I mean?
“The way that Sigi’s always said it is you’re remembered by your last performance, and that’s kind of the approach that I took.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.