Seattle Sounders FC finally broke the LA Galaxy playoff hoodoo on a wet Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field. But at what cost?
Heading into the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday, the Sounders saw Leo Gonzalez, Andreas Ivanschitz and captain Brad Evans all pick up knocks and injuries.
Gonzalez was removed from the action just 36 minutes into the game, being replaced by Zach Scott. Brad Evans was therefore to fill in at left-back and this could well have contributed to the Sounders captain later leaving the field holding his hamstring.
During the second half, Evans made a number of forward runs and this extra running may well have caused tired muscles to give way in stoppage time.
After a fairly innocuous looking challenge on the Sounders byline, Evans stayed down and things didn’t look good. It was immediately obvious that the injury looked hamstring related.
Hopes that this would be no more than cramp appear to be wide of the mark. The Sounders medical staff did not attempt to stretch out the muscle or make any attempt for Evans to return to action despite the Sounders being down to 10 men for the final minute of play.
These comments are likely to raise alarm, particularly with the recent injury to Osvaldo Alonso in similar circumstances. After initially confirming directly after the game that Alonso should be fit for Wednesday, the player was then be ruled out on game day. Schmid appears less optimistic about Evans, or at the very least unwilling to offer any false hope.
No update has yet surfaced regarding the severity of Evans’ injury, or indeed whether he is still in contention for this Sunday. However, early signs and certainly the way the player hobbled to the locker room holding his hamstring are not promising.
If Evans has suffered even a slight Grade 1 hamstring strain, the chances of being fit to play in just 3 days time are slim. Hamstring injuries are considered a high risk of re-injury or further tearing if played on when not fully healed.
According to Neal Reynolds, English Premier League physiotherapist, a Grade 1 sprain will normally take between 1-3 weeks to fully recover. However, Reynolds also states “…some of them can only take a couple of days then others will take a little bit longer so it varies considerably”. Hopefully, Super Brad can be one of the few to manage a quick turnaround.
The Sounders may very well have to plan for the first leg without Evans and hope that he can recover in time for the second leg or Conference Finals (should the Sounders make it). Zach Scott is the clear and obvious choice to fill in for Evans, with Oniel Fisher getting the start at left-back if Gonzalez doesn’t recover.
We will continue to update on this situation as more information and clarifications are released by the club.