Sounders starters Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans were called in to join the U.S. national team for its final two World Cup qualifying matches. The call likely means the pair will miss the Sounders’ home match Wednesday against Vancouver and road match next Sunday at Portland.
Here is some of Johnson’s reaction:
“Whenever you get a chance to wear the U.S. jersey it’s an honor and a privilege and it’s something you don’t want to take for granted,” he said. “Myself and Brad Evans, it’s tough to leave our team here because at the startof the season we set goals as a team, and winning the Supporters Shield I’d be lying if I said that any franchise doesn’t set as one of their goals, and we’re in a race for it, and it’s a tough time to leave. But like I said previous times before when I’ve had to leave, if we’re going to leave we have to go get the job done on the national team. We’ve got two more World Cup qualifying games, and we want to win the group. That’s why Klinsmann called in a strong group, and I’ve very confident my teammates here back in Seattle that they can get the job done in the two games that we miss. We’ve got Clint coming back from injury, Oba’s there, Steve Zakuani is still pushing for his fitness and stuff. So we’ve got a strong team.We’re going to miss the Portland game, though. Those are the games we look forward to every year. But I know when I leave I’ve got to make sure if I’m leaving it’s going to be for a good cause. It’s one thing to get called into the national team, but if you’re going and you take it for granted and you’re not going to get anything out of it, you might as well not even go. I’m very blessed and very fortunate to have this opportunity again, and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Here’s the news release from the club:
Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans and forward Eddie Johnson have been called into the U.S. National Team for 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Jamaica and Panama.
Both players will join the USMNT following Saturday’s match in Colorado and will miss Seattle’s matches against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on October 9 and the Portland Timbers on October 13.
The USMNT hosts Jamaica on October 11 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PT on ESPN, WatchESPN and UniMas. The team then visits Panama on October 15 at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. PT on beIN Sport.
Evans, 27, has 13 caps and one goal for the United States. He has earned seven caps and six starts in 2013, and scored the latest game-winner in USMNT qualifying history at Jamaica on June 7.
Johnson, 29, has 59 caps and 19 goals for the United States, including the game-winner against Mexico on September 10 to send the USMNT to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He has scored five goals with one assist this year. Johnson leads all USMNT players with 15 caps in 2013, and his 12 goals in World Cup Qualifying ranks third all-time for the United States.
The USMNT currently sits in first place in the Final Round of qualifying, collecting 16 points from eight matches. The top three teams in the Hexagonal automatically advance to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth-place finisher will contest a two-game playoff against Oceania region winner New Zealand.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)