RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Now that he's back with the Seattle Sounders, Brad Evans knows it will be tough to keep his mind off the opportunity that may lie ahead this summer with the U.S. team at the World Cup.
A potential chance like that is hard to completely ignore, especially when it'll remain a lingering question into May and June.
"It is a big deal and I try and dumb it down, but it is a big deal," Evans said Wednesday following training with the Sounders. "I don't want to focus on that right now. My focus right now is on March 8 and building the relationships with these guys and establishing a style of play and getting guys healthy and getting guys 100 percent here. And that's where my focus will remain until you switch places. I think I've done a good job of that."
Evans and Seattle teammate DeAndre Yedlin rejoined the Sounders late last week and were back in Seattle for their first full training session with the club Wednesday. And while their focus now turns to the start of the MLS season in less than a month, there will remain the lingering thought of their World Cup chances.
Evans would seem to be a lock to at least be included in the U.S. camp prior to leaving for Brazil after making five starts on the right side of the defensive backline during World Cup qualifying last year. Evans also started at that position during an exhibition against South Korea on Feb. 1.
Yedlin, 20, would seem to be more of a long shot to be included in the World Cup camp, but could be a long-range option at the same position as Evans. That's why Yedlin's experience in the January training camp in Brazil was so important. His reward was getting a first international appearance when he came on for Evans against South Korea.
"It was pretty amazing. It was something I have always dreamed of, playing with the national team. To finally get that experience and now it's just pushing for more caps and hopefully a World Cup," he said.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann took his players to Brazil for 12 days in January as part of "dry run" preparations for what they will face this summer. Evans felt the decision to hold camp in San Paulo was smart, giving players a basic understanding of the surroundings they will be exposed to during the World Cup.
"It's always nice to be familiar with a place, especially one that is so far away and is on such a big stage," Evans said. "You get familiar with the surroundings and what to expect — weather, food, whatever it is, little things, the facilities — so when you go you're not star struck."
Evans and Yedlin said they don't have a feel for their chances to be included on the final 23-man roster. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said he has talked with Klinsmann about the pair and Seattle's Clint Dempsey — currently on loan to English club Fulham — but would leave it up to the American coach to speak on their chances.
The U.S. has an exhibition at Ukraine on March 5.
"I won't be confident or sure until the name is on the list," Evans said. "That's how I'm going to approach it and you just hope the next call comes your way."