Seattle look to Evans for inspiration

When he’s been on the field, Brad Evans has provided an offensive spark for the Seattle Sounders. Keeping him healthy, though, continues to be a challenge.

After suffering a groin injury last week, Evans could miss his fourth game of the year when the Sounders host struggling Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night.

Evans has a team-high four goals and one assist in eight games for Seattle (3-3-5), but his impact has been limited by injuries.

After missing a 1-all draw with Columbus on May 7 because of a quad strain, Evans started against Portland last Saturday but left the 1-all tie in the first half with a groin strain.

"I don’t know why (it happened)," Evans told the Sounders’ official website. "For some reason I made a cross. I don’t know if I caught it too much on my toe but I felt a twinge in my groin. I tried to come back on, but my body said no."

Evans, limited to 12 games in 2010 with Seattle because of various injuries, missed the first two games of this season with a hamstring problem.

The midfielder’s injuries aren’t the only health concerns for the Sounders this week, as midfielders Erik Friberg (left ankle) and Mauro Rosales (hamstring) sat out last weekend’s game as well. All three players, who have combined for six goals and six assists, are questionable against Kansas City.

"Losing a player like Evans changes it and losing Friberg as we prepare for (Saturday’s) game certainly changes things as well for us," coach Sigi Schmid said last week.

Facing the distinct possibility of having to play short-handed again, the Sounders will try for their fourth straight win over Kansas City (1-5-1).

Sporting KC has lost four in a row, scoring three goals in those games, and has not won since a season-opening 3-2 victory over Chivas USA on March 19. The club, which has three games remaining on its season-opening road trip before opening its new home June 9, lost 4-1 to Los Angeles last Saturday after giving up three goals in the second half.

Sporting KC was given the lead in the 39th minute on Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez’s own goal.

Despite having not played a home game, Kansas City said wouldn’t use that as an excuse for its MLS-worst record.

"It’s not easy, but at the same time, it is not so difficult that we should turn in a second half performance that we did tonight," captain Davy Arnaud said. "It is just not obviously what we wanted and it’s very disappointing."

Kansas City allowed at least three goals for the third time during the losing streak. Coach Peter Vermes made a change in net last week, starting Eric Kronberg in place of Jimmy Nielsen, who has given up 13 goals in six games.

Vermes has not said who will start in goal Saturday.