NYON, Switzerland (AP) – Brad Evans has made just two reserve appearances over the last two months, but the Seattle Sounders forward may finally be at full strength - and just in time in coach Sigi Schmid's opinion.
The Sounders are hoping to have Evans, as well as O'Brian White and defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado back in the lineup as they host Chivas USA on Saturday.
Evans has four goals in 14 games this season - two off the team lead - but has played a total of 46 minutes since June 18 and been inactive since July 16 because of a hamstring strain.
However, he played 45 minutes in a reserve division game Tuesday and could be ready to go Saturday.
Despite Evans' lack of playing time over the last two months, Seattle (11-5-8) is one point behind second-place FC Dallas in the Western Conference and seven behind MLS-leading Los Angeles.
His addition, as well as the possible returns of Hurtado (MCL sprain) and White (blood clot) come at a critical time for the Sounders according to Schmid, whose team will be playing twice a week for the next month starting next week due to CONCACAF Champions League commitments.
"Beginning with the game against Chivas, we have six difficult games in 18 days," Schmid told MLS.com. "Having to play those amount of games, if we can go 17 to 18 players deep where we can make changes in our starting lineup and not impact our quality of play, that makes it a good thing for us."
White, who has two goals and two assists in seven games, has not played since April 22. He underwent emergency surgery to remove a blood clot in his left leg shortly after that contest.
They'll look to keep a rolling Sounders team that is 7-1-3 in its last 11 following a 2-1 victory over Sporting KC last Saturday. Mauro Rosales and Lamar Neagle scored less than two minutes apart in the closing minutes.
Rosales has two goals and four assists in his last six games.
"You can tell that our effort is always there,'' said Neagle, whose game-winner came in the second minute of stoppage time. "At the end of the game we're still striving to get that win no matter what the score is."
Chivas (7-8-8) snapped a five-game winless streak (0-3-2) on the road with a 3-2 victory at New England last Saturday. Alejandro Moreno, returning to the starting lineup for the first time since June 11, scored twice and gave the club a 3-1 lead in the 80th minute on his second score.
Chivas' five-game road trip also makes stops at Colorado and Portland. The team is sixth in the West with 29 points.
"We're coming off a decent result last week," said forward Justin Braun. "We're just trying to build on that and move forward and keep picking up points as we make a playoff push. It's a good test for us on this long stretch."
The Sounders won 2-1 at home last year after the teams played to a draw in the first meeting in Seattle.