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Hyndman: Shea could excel at center back

The Generation adidas trip to Madrid may yet have a lasting impact on at least one of the players who starred in the three matches against La Liga reserve clubs.

FC Dallas left winger Brek Shea, who was selected for the squad to fill in at center back, excelled enough in the position to draw the attention of Spanish club scouts.

“I told Brek, ‘I need a center back,’ and he gave me a big smile as if to say, ‘Are you serious?’ – and I was serious,” said FC Dallas boss Schellas Hyndman, who served as Generation adidas manager.

The coach had just two defenders by trade on his squad: San Jose's Ike Opara and Portland left back Jeremy Hall. With Opara battling a groin injury, Hyndman decided to partner Shea with Philadelphia Union midfielder Amobi Okugo and used both FCD rookie Andrew Wiedeman and Houston Dynamo winger Danny Cruz at right back.

“Brek did extremely well, which was not a surprise to me because I had played him at center back the previous year," Hyndman said.

Although Shea had a breakout season in 2010 at left wing and even made his US national team debut in the same position, Hyndman experimented with Shea at central defense during reserve matches and friendlies when he took over the reins of FC Dallas in 2008.

However, given Shea’s participation with the US in the 2009 U-20 World Cup, Hyndman decided not to confuse his young player heading into that tournament and chose to keep him out on the left wing. Things may change after Spain.

“For Brek to continue to improve to the point where he’s an international player and maybe a national team starter, playing the center back position is really a great position for him,” Hyndman said.

In addition to his size and athleticism, scouts in Madrid raved about Shea's composure on the ball and his ability to pass under pressure.

In the opening 2-1 victory against Real Madrid Castilla on the Merengues’ home turf, Shea shut down forward Álvaro Morata Martín, who made his La Liga debut for José Mourinho’s senior side in Sunday’s road win against Real Zaragoza.

Hyndman would not commit to moving Shea to center back on a permanent basis in 2011 given how FCD's squad is currently built, but said he saw him as the “ace in the hole” should they need him in a pinch in the back.

“I think he’s open to it,” Hyndman said. “I think he’s starting now to realize that he can be a left-side player and a very good left-sided player in this league, or he can be an exceptional center back.”

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