Playing out of position, the Sounders star showed he's cut out for the big stage after an impressive performance against Germany.WASHINGTON -- A few days after Jurgen Klinsmann named the roster for his team's upcoming friendlies and Hexagonal matches, an addition was made that didn't exactly generate big headlines.
With his team thin at right back, Klinsmann added the Seattle Sounders' Brad Evans, a 28-year-old with just seven caps to his name. Renowned for his versatility, Evans' addition was viewed as little more than a move to bolster the team's depth.
Sunday, that line of thinking was proven wrong.
Handed a start at right back against Germany, Evans played a mostly-tremendous match, showing a deft passing touch, gritty one-one-one defensive ability, solid positioning, and a general soccer IQ that has made him a favorite of Sounders coach Sigi Schmid.
Klinsmann summed it up in his post-game press conference: "I think Brad Evans showed exactly what we wanted to see."
Evans' performance put him right in the conversation for playing time on the right flank of the U.S. defense, a statement made all the more remarkable by the fact that right back isn't really his position.
For the Sounders, Evans plays all across the midfield, but only rarely at right back. In eight MLS matches this season, Evans has played at right midfield, center midfield and left midfield, but not at right back -- or in defense at all.
"I'm still learning the position first and foremost so by no means do I know the position yet," Evans told reporters after the game. "I try to use what I know in midfield and playing out wide."
The skills Evans has acquired playing midfield may work to his benefit in Klinsmann's system, however, as the German prefers his defenders to be comfortable on the ball and proactive getting forward.
"He has the vision, he has the technique, he's strong and good in one-on-ones," Klinsmann said. "And he doesn't shy away from overlapping as well."
Evans used his offensive abilities to good effect against Germany, but it was his defense which impressed his goalkeeper the most.
"I thought he was good today," Tim Howard said of Evans. "We talked about watching the one-twos, tracking runners, when he got set up one-on-one he forced a guy into going right and going left and then got his body in front. I really thought he was good, it was impressive. I was happy for him and happy for me because he locked it down over there."
Before Sunday, Evans' only appearances with the U.S. had come in the 2009 Gold Cup, which was played with a B-squad, and January camp friendlies, which also utilize players lower on the U.S. depth chart. Along with many observers, Evans himself learned Sunday that he may be cut out for the big stage after all.
"It gives me a little mental boost," Evans said. "It's more mental than anything, getting that confidence moving forward and just knowing that 'alright, you can play with these guys.'"
And Evans may continue playing with those guys, as he appears in line for playing time - if not starts - in the team's upcoming Hexagonal matches against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras.
"We trained the last couple of days and I saw that he was ready for it," Klinsmann said. "This gives us now a good option. The ability is there and he took his chance, simple as that."