Among those watching the United States national team’s World Cup qualifying match against Costa Rica on Friday will be Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans.
Evans would have been in uniform at Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica, except for a calf injury suffered last week in the Sounders’ 1-0 win at Columbus.
“Obviously, now I watch it as a fan and support the guys 100 percent and try to send positive vibes,” Evans said Thursday after continuing his recovery with the Sounders.
“I think guys are like, ‘OK, let’s do this. We have to put in an extra-hard performance because we know that (Costa Rica is) going to come out on fire.’ ”
Sounders Evans, Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson had been called in to national-team duty for this match and another Tuesday against Mexico.
Now, Evans has been replaced on the Team USA roster by defender Michael Parkhurst, while Dempsey, Johnson and the rest of the U.S. team try to extend a record 12-game winning streak – but this time in a nation where they have never won a qualifier.
If the U.S. extends that streak in its 7 p.m. match (beIN Sport and ESPN Deportes Radio), it would qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil if Mexico and Honduras tie and Panama loses or draws with Jamaica.
The United States leads this qualifying competition with 13 points, while Costa Rica is right behind with 11. The top three finishers in the six-nation CONCACAF group qualify for Brazil, while the fourth-place finisher could advance though a two-game playoff with New Zealand.
After meeting Mexico next week at Columbus, Ohio, the U.S. team will pause before concluding this 10-match qualification process with mid-October matches against Jamaica and Panama.
Evans hopes to be healthy and invited back onto the national team then.
“You want people who are playing the best right now and in the best condition at the certain moment going into qualifiers,” he said. “Unfortunately I picked up the injury, but hopefully I can get healthy, play well for the Sounders.”
Evans will not be ready to join the Sounders when they return to MLS play Saturday against the Chicago Fire at CenturyLink Field. He hopes to be available Sept. 13, when Western Conference-leading Real Salt Lake visits the second-place Sounders.
“When I usually have these calf injuries I miss one game,” he said. “Now we have the two games this week, which makes it a little bit different, but I’m hoping to be ready by next Friday. But the bigger picture is the MLS season and where we’re standing; and all I can do is do my best to rehab, get healthy and do my best to be better than I was before.”
Forward Obafemi Martins (ankle) worked out briefly Thursday, and Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said Martins’ availability Saturday will be a game-time decision. Sounders defender Leo Gonzalez will be eligible Saturday after serving his one-game suspension in Seattle’s 1-0 win over Chivas USA on Wednesday. Gonzalez became ineligible for that one after picking up a straight red card in the 1-0 win at Columbus. “To take the red card so quickly for the team is no good,” Gonzalez said Thursday. “I just say thank you for my teammates’ good effort in the game – a good win – and say sorry for that play.” Reserve goalkeeper Andrew Weber’s loan to the Sounders has ended, and he has returned to Phoenix FC of the USL-Pro league.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org/soccer