By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
Seattle Sounders midfielder Brad Evans was removed from the United States national team roster Sunday due to a lingering calf injury.
National team coach Jurgen Klinsmann replaced Evans with Tony Beltran of Real Salt Lake, a 2013 Major League Soccer All-Star who has made two appearances with the U.S. team.
Beltran will join the rest of the 22-man national team — including Sounders forward Clint Dempsey and defender DeAndre Yedlin — in time for its 8 p.m. Wednesday friendly against Mexico in Glendale, Ariz.
Dempsey and Yedlin are scheduled to return to the Sounders in time for their next match, Saturday at Portland.
Evans’ status for that game is not known, as he continues to recover from a calf injury suffered March 15 against Toronto FC.
The injury has kept Evans out of Seattle’s last two matches, including a 2-1 home loss to the Columbus Crew on Saturday. Dempsey also missed that one while serving the last of a two-game suspension for what the MLS Disciplinary Committee ruled violent conduct during the Toronto game.
Dempsey will be eligible again for the Cascadia Cup match against the Timbers (0-2-2). However, the Sounders (2-2-0) will be without central defender Djimi Traore, whose red card in the 58th minute Saturday served as the turning point in Columbus’ come-from-behind win. The call resulted in a penalty kick that yielded the Crew’s first goal, while also forcing Seattle to play the final 30 minutes with 10 players.
“It’s double jeopardy,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “Is it a penalty and red card, or is it a penalty and a yellow?”
Playing shorthanded also caused Schmid to further adjust an already jumbled roster. Jalil Anibaba made his Sounders debut while replacing Traore in the central defense. And with his players needing to cover extra space, Schmid sent on the fresh legs of rookie Sean Okoli and veteran defender Leo Gonzalez.
When Gonzalez checked onto the pitch in the 86th minute, he became the fifth player to appear in 100 matches as a Sounder. The others are Osvaldo Alonso (a record 143 appearances), Fredy Montero, Evans and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
On the other end of the spectrum, midfielder Micheal Azira made his first MLS start after spending his previous two seasons at USL-Pro Charleston.
“I thought Azira played well,” Schmid said. “Again I thought the three midfielders — Osvaldo, Azira, and (Gonzalo) Pineda — were good.”
Pineda, who joined the club over the off-season from Liga MX, made his third appearance and second start as a Sounder.
“He’s good with the ball,” Schmid said. “He’s got good vision, he finds people, hit a couple of good free kicks and corners.”
The Sounders Reserves took a 5-0 win over the University of Portland on Sunday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. Kevin Parsemain led the way with two goals. The other scores came from Chad Barrett, Marco Pappa and Cam Weaver. … The Sounders are off Monday. They will return to training on Tuesday.