ORLANDO, Fla. – It could turn out to be the ultimate nightmare scenario for the New York Red Bulls.
When NYRB travel to face FC Dallas in the first match on the NBC Sports Network (March 11, 2 pm CT), they could face the prospect of FCD’s Brek Shea wreaking havoc … at forward.
If playmaker David Ferreira cannot recover from a sore right Achilles by next weekend, FC Dallas won’t hesitate to field a 4-4-2 featuring Shea and Panamanian international Blas Pérez. Saturday night’s Disney Pro Soccer Classic third-place match, won by FC Dallas 1-0 over rival Houston Dynamo, proved it could be a match made in heaven.
“It’s always a viable option if we don’t have the players that we want,” Hyndman said after the match. “And the thing Brek brings is that he’s a handful. He may not always make the right runs or the timing of the runs, but he’s a complete handful and forces the opponents to stay back and respect him and Blas together. It’s a nice combination.”
Shea, who scored the game-winning goal against Houston after Perez was brought down in the box, was especially receptive to the shift.
“I enjoyed [playing forward] a lot,” Shea said after the match. “I love being able to float all around the front and try to run off other players and have players run off me.
“You just run a lot. I run around and keep the defense busy and try to find the ball where I can and run off Blas.”
Ferreira sat out his second consecutive exhibition match on Saturday but FC Dallas didn’t miss a step. Shea was not only effective in stretching the Dynamo defense with his speedy runs, but he won a number of headers during a first-half performance which saw Dallas dictate the play.
Hyndman gave his explanation as to his rationale for the tactical change.
“What I was trying to do is get Brek some playing time and at the same time put our best XI on the field,” Hyndman said. “I thought having Carlos Rodríguez as a left-sided midfielder and Jair Benítez as a left back was a good combination and had been working for us. If I’d brought Brek at the left side of midfield, I would put Carlos on the bench, which I didn’t think was the right answer.”
Shea said he’s open to returning to striker against the Red Bulls should Hyndman lean in that direction. But the FC Dallas manager is holding out hope that his playmaker can be back in time for First Kick.
“It’s a big game,” Hyndman said. “Of course playing Red Bulls, one of the best teams in the league and the team that beat us in the playoffs, we should have a great sellout crowd and the fans should be excited. And we’re going to be hopefully with David Ferreira.”