Atiba Harris and Brek Shea haven’t been a common sight on opposite flanks for FC Dallas. But the midfield tandem wreaked havoc on New England last weekend, their first time lining up opposite each other since the 2010 season opener against Houston.
Harris scored FCD’s only goal of the night in the 66th minute, sending a header into the net to tie the match at one goal apiece after a perfectly placed free kick from Dax McCarty. The midfielder from St. Kitts now has two goals this season, just one behind team leader Jeff Cunningham.
For a guy who many thought might not even start the season in the first 11, Harris has done pretty well for himself considering during preseason, it looked like Honduran Marvin Chavez would start ahead of him on the right side. Harris delivered what was probably his best performance with FCD since being traded from Chivas USA last July.
“I’m feeling confident,” he said after training on Tuesday. I’ve been working hard since preseason. I’m just going out there and giving it my best every time.”
Shea also had a nice showing in Foxborough, nearly connecting on a long-range bomb that struck the crossbar that would have been his first MLS goal. He also missed a chance at close range that would have put FCD ahead. But even though they failed to convert on several key chances, Harris likes what he saw from Shea on Saturday.
“Brek’s a good player,” the midfielder said. “He’s always working. “That’s one thing I’ve been seeing ever since I got here -- Brek is a player who’s going to constantly work. He’s constantly going to put pressure on the defense. Playing with him is good because we feed off each other.”
Harris and Shea are clearly two players who have a great understanding of each other’s tendencies and tend to feed off each other well.
“I start on the left and he starts on the right and we like to switch because we can cut in or stuff like that,” Shea said. “On corner kicks or something, if we see that we’re out of position, he’ll run to the left and I’ll run to the right because we feel comfortable there. It helps so we don’t have to run across the field to track a guy since we’re both right there. It’s good that we’re both comfortable with that.”
While the combo delivered some nice chances against the Revs, Harris and Shea might not be the ones manning the flanks on Wednesday night at Houston. One may have to move up to forward to fill in for Cunningham, whose status is in doubt due to a sore knee.
Should Shea get the call, he says he’s ready.
“I played 20 minutes up top with Jason [Yeisley] and I felt fine,” said Shea of his appearance at striker in last month’s loss to D.C. in a U.S. Open Cup play-in game. “But I didn’t score and as a forward, you need to score. I think Atiba is going to be the one going up top tomorrow but if coach asks me to go up tomorrow, I’ll go.”