Shea getting look at center back for Dallas

Normally a midfielder, youngster shows his versatility

Brek Shea, FC Dallas

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

After just one game,
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman finds himself in a bit of a quandary at
center back.

Kyle Davies, who
started the season opener against Houston, suffered a broken right arm and will
miss the next eight to 10 weeks. Ugo Ihemelu is still hampered by a hamstring injury suffered
the week before the opener. He did not participate in Monday’s practice.

However, Hyndman might
have an experimental solution: Brek Shea.

The 20-year-old played
the full 90 at center back in a scrimmage last Wednesday against the Austin
Aztex and performed well. During his two-plus years with FCD, he has primarily
lined up as a forward or midfielder, but Hyndman thinks the 6-foot-3 Texan’s physical
gifts could be better employed at the back.

“He’s a player that
sees the game in front of him,” Hyndman said. “It’s a little bit easier when
you’ve got the game in front of you than when it’s around you. He’s able to
make quicker decisions or see the game because he does have a pretty good
understanding of the game. He’s strong in the air and is a great distributor of
the ball. He can deliver great diagonal balls. He’s a good passer. All the
things that were his strengths on the flank, he does those as a defender.”

In 2008, Shea was the
second overall pick in the MLS Super Draft. He was in Hyndman’s first 11 at left
midfield against the Dynamo, but agrees with his coach that center back might
be a better fit.

“I like that
everything is in front of me and mostly, I don’t have to worry about what’s
behind me,” Shea said. “With my size and speed, it’s an advantage for me on
balls over the top against most people. I think I can do well there if I just
work on the little things.”

Dallas play Saturday
against Columbus, and Shea could end up starting at center back should Ihemelu
again be unavailable. He won’t be as polished or experienced as Ihemelu, but Hyndman sees great potential
in a positional switch for Shea.

“I think it’s going to
be a work in progress,” Hyndman said. “But I think he could find his best
position in this league playing there. And maybe internationally if he can
perform.”