Klinsmann, US team call on Shea

FC Dallas star sets up all-important goal, shines against Mexico

PHILADELPHIA — Brek Shea's mission Wednesday night wasn't to wow the US
national team. It was simply to do what he does best: Just be Brek.

Shea is easily the most laid-back superstar Major League Soccer has
seen in, oh, well, forget it. Here’s the deal, dude: Shea has ridden a
friendly, soft-spoken demeanor and very loud skills right into the
hearts of MLS fans, and now perhaps into a very real shot as part of the
future of the US team.

Shea grabbed an assist on the Americans’ lone goal of the 1-1 draw
against Mexico at Lincoln Financial Field on Wednesday, skirting past
the Mexican defense to the touch line before his pitch-perfect pass fell
to the foot of a wide-open Robbie Rogers.

That was the first highlight moment of what could become a delightfully
long reel for the FC Dallas star, who has remained quintessentially
Shea despite his recent success: humble and happy, and always playing it
cool.

“The more you play, the more confidence you get, and the more composure
you get on the ball,” Shea said. “Over time, it just comes.”

Shea came on in the 60th minute for holding midfielder Jermaine Jones
and instantly injected some much-needed enthusiasm into the mix. He is
unmistakable even from afar in this group because of his looks (he’s the
only 6-foot-4 player sporting a dyed streak that parts a sea of blonde
hair, imagine that), but he also stuck out as the best one-on-one threat
the Americans had on a night when they needed all the chances they
could get.

“In our league, if he’s not the best then he’s one of the best at just
getting the ball, going at people and putting them under pressure,”
midfielder Landon Donovan said. “As a defender, it’s a nightmare to
defend against him.

“As far as his attacking qualities,” Donovan added, “he showed tonight
he’s got the makings of a really good player.”

The cap was just the third in the budding international career for
Shea, who largely flopped during his debut last fall against Colombia at
PPL Park. On Wednesday he was far more dynamic, aggressive and, most
importantly, comfortable with his game and what he can bring to the
team.

“Last  time I was excited, nervous, and it was fast compared to the
soccer I had been playing,” he said. “Tonight I kinda just got in there,
and did what I like to do.”

US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann praised not only Shea’s play but his
rapid acclimation to the US group this time around, and the ease with
which he fit into the US team.

“He fit right in there, it was really nice to see him,” Klinsmann said.
“I knew we can bring him on anytime, we had that in the back of our
minds. We knew some players had to be changed so we could get fresh legs
in there, and he was on the top of our list.

“It was fun to watch him.”