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Evans says Sounders replaced better players with “better people”

Feb 19, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT

Brad Evans, Pat Noonan

After a disastrous end to the Seattle Sounders 2013 season, the club made a number of moves aimed at changing the culture around Sigi Schmid’s club. Seattle said goodbye to mercurial US star Eddie Johnson amongst others.

And Brad Evans the offseason moves are paying off.

“I think, in years past, we probably had better players. But I think we filled those shoes with better people. And it’s something that had to happen.”

Whether or not this refers to Johnson specifically — remember the “Pay me” goal celebration? — Evans is saying all the right things as expected ahead of a crucial season for Schmid’s era in the Northwest.

Kenny Cooper, Stefan Frei, Chad Marshall and Marco Pappa are all in the fold for Seattle this year as general manager Adrian Hanauer looked to fix a climate that caused him to say this after the team fell short of last season’s goals: ““I’d be lying if I said this was the best locker room we’ve had in the five years I’ve been here.”

Evans said he was called into the manager’s office along with Osvaldo Alonso and Clint Dempsey after the Sounders bounced out of the MLS playoffs and that a tone was immediately set for 2014. They were the leadership group and it was time to lead.

Could be off-base here, but you look at the players who left Seattle and wonder whose attitude Evans could be referring to besides Johnson’s act. Mauro Rosales was a fan favorite who wanted to retire in Seattle. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was twice-benched this year but was also praised by Schmid at times for playing the best ball of his career.

Whether or not Evans was referring to EJ or not, it’s just another one of those stories that has me questioning whether Johnson is the lock so many believe for the USMNT roster this summer in Brazil. Yes, he scored a bunch of goals last year for country but with Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd and other young forwards presumably about to get big international experience, is Jurgen Klinsmann “all in” on allowing Johnson’s attitude to potentially play with his room? Does his potential as a super sub supercede the possibility of chaos?

  1. midtec2005 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    I honestly don’t think EJ is a lock, he probably was a year ago, but not now. With Clint, Jozy, and Johannson at forward, he’s at least the 4th string. Depending on the situation, I may even choose Wondo over him.

    So that leaves him to play on the wing, where he has on occasion. Once again, who is he going to replace? Right off the top of my head I can think of three guys ahead of him. Donovan, Zusi, and Fabian Johnson. Probably Bedoya too.

    So I don’t think EJ is a lock. He needs to have a good start to this MLS season.

    • mdac1012 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      Yeah, I agree, that final spot is going to be based a lot on form at the time Kilnssman makes his final roster selections. All things being equel, EJ gets the nod over Wondo, either way, I don’t know how much meaningful time either one would see in the WC.

      EJ has played on the wing occasionally but it’s clearly not his strongest position. If EJ makes the team it will be as a sub late in games when the US is trailing and needs extra strikers.

  2. hildezero - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Don’t forget former Seattle defender Patrick Ianni. He could’ve been one of those cats.

    • mikeevergreen - Feb 19, 2014 at 6:52 PM

      What you’re saying is Frank Yallop did Seattle a big favor.

  3. talgrath - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    Hurtado is a good defender, most of the time, but sometimes he gets silly fouls and cards; he often seems to have a bit of a temper. As much as I love Mauro Rosales, he was out “injured” often, I can’t help but wonder if that was actually injury or if he was just not willing to play through minor pain. Ianni, I think, is a class act and I doubt he was included in the list; Zakuani is also a classy guy and I’m fairly certain that trade was all business. Regardless of whether or not Johnson was a problem in the locker room at the club level, at the national level he just seems to be playing his heart out, so I think he’ll still be in the national team squad.

  4. overtherepermanently - Feb 19, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    All things being equal, I’d take Herc over EJ. Just a better guy to have around.

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