MLS Soccer

Evans has been on both sides of the harsh word

In 2007, Marc Burch yelled at Brad Evans.

And all these years later, Evans remembers.

“I just remember my rookie year coming into camp injured, and my first practice Marc Burch telling me to put some (expletive) pace on the ball,” Evans said. “That was my first eye-opening experience of playing MLS.”

Burch remembers, too — Evans makes sure of it.

“He reminds me all the time,” Burch said. “We’re good buddies now, and he always gives me a hard time about giving him a hard time.”

On Saturday in Commerce City, Colorado, the two will cross paths again: Evans as center back for the Seattle Sounders and Burch as a defender with the Colorado Rapids. They’re both veterans now — exactly 200 Major League Soccer appearances for Evans, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Wednesday; and 188 career appearances for Burch, despite his coming into the league one season ahead of Evans.

That’s what gave Burch the seniority to instruct Evans back in 2007, when Evans arrived in Columbus as a second-round pick out of UC Irvine — where he scored a school-record 31 goals.

“Brad was a big-timer coming out of college and I wasn’t really,” Burch said this week in a phone interview. “I think I was just putting him in his place early.”

The two would be teammates for only one season in Columbus. But they were united again in Seattle, where Burch played 49 games as a Sounder in 2012-13. He arrived through the re-entry draft and departed the same way — something he admits he’ll remember Saturday.

“Beating a team that kind of let you go or didn’t pick up your option, that kind of stuff is in the back of your mind,” Burch said. “You like to win against your old club. We’ve had a pretty fortunate start to our season and have been playing pretty well, and of course I’d like to continue that, especially at home.”

After a second season in Columbus, Evans came to Seattle through the expansion draft. He has been a Sounder ever since, matched in seniority by only Osvaldo Alonso and Zach Scott. He has shifted from playing mostly midfield to playing mostly center back, and is also in his second season as the club’s primary captain.

“I was the next person in line,” Evans said. “From then on (I) kept it, tried to keep an even head. I think one thing that I can provide is every day I’ll come in and put my head down and work, try to keep the guys positive as much as possible. Even in a funk, if the training is (bad), if people are (angry) at coaches, just try to keep a positive attitude and keep the guys together, most importantly. I think finding a good locker room and a good peace of mind for a lot of guys is No. 1 for me in being a captain.”

And oddly enough, with the captain’s armband comes the responsibility sometimes to do exactly what Burch did all those years ago: Yell at a teammate.

“Lighting little fires, I think, is No. 1 in that position,” Evans said. “Yelling at guys, but letting them know that you’re still on their side. You take them to the side after and say, ‘This is for the group. It’s not me yelling at you because I don’t like you. It’s because we all need to do better collectively.’

“At the same time, I have to be responsible for myself. I can’t be making 15 mistakes a game and then yell at somebody for making a mistake. I have to be even-keeled and letting them know we all make mistakes, but at the same time we’ve got to stop them in this situation.”

ADDED TIME

Clint Dempsey and Cristian Roldan were limited in training Wednesday, but coach Sigi Schmid said that was planned recovery time. … Schmid said the recent run of warm weather around Puget Sound has been good for training. The forecast calls for a high temperature around 70 in the Denver area Saturday. … The Sounders return to training Thursday at Starfire Sports Complex.

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