POWERED BY

MLS- FC Dallas

Shea struggling to meet high expectations

Shea (Getty Images)

Brek Shea's season could not be straying any further from how most thought it would unfold.

After a year full of U.S. men's national team appearances and an offseason filled with European transfer speculation and a training stint at Arsenal, Shea has struggled to meet the lofty expectations bestowed upon him and has had his standing as a rising American star and transfer candidate take a step back.

Between the disappointment of the U.S. Under-23 national team's failure to qualify for the Olympics, Shea's three-game suspension for deliberately kicking a ball at a referee and an overall lack of effectiveness on the field that resulted in him being left off the national team roster for the May and June friendlies and World Cup qualifiers, the College Station, Texas, native has regressed in his fifth professional season. Last year, Shea scored 11 goals, assisted on four others and was a legitimate MVP candidate. This season, he had one spurt in April during which he scored in three of four games, but he has not been involved in an FC Dallas goal since then.

Frustations boiled over Wednesday night in San Jose, when the 22-year-old Shea, under contract with FC Dallas through 2015, was unceremoniously substituted for in the 64th minute with FCD looking to come back from a 2-0 deficit. He expressed his emotions during a verbal altercation with manager Schellas Hyndman, one that led player-coach Daniel Hernandez to issue pointed remarks his way.

"I thought [Shea] was very disrespectful, not only just to Schellas, but I thought to the rest of the team," Hernandez told ESPN following the match. "He's a young guy still, but this shows the immaturity there in him, and I think a lack of professionalism that right now, at this point in the season, the way things have been going for us, we can't have.

"Nobody likes to come out of a game. I don't like to come out of a game. I'm pissed off when I come out of a game, or when I don't play. But when things are not going well for you, or you're not having a good game, and coach needs to make a change, you have to respect it. At this point in the season, we can't have those breakdowns right now, because we need everybody. We need him. He's one of the stars of our team, and we need him to step up with his leadership and his play. He's obviously one of the best players in the country. In order for us to try to fight to get into the playoffs, we're going to need him and everyone else, 100 percent."

So where does this leave Shea, Hyndman and FC Dallas? With the club's injury-and-suspension-laden season turning into a nightmare, it would be easy to have a knee-jerk reaction and take drastic measures. The fact is, Shea is the face of that team, and any player is prone to a slump. That his has coincided with the Olympic qualifying disaster and FCD's season-long swoon has magnified things even more, but that does not necessarily mean he will be run out of town.

His actions Wednesday night were inexcusable, and Hyndman's staff should exert some sort of in-house discipline, whether it be a fine, suspension or place on the bench. For Shea, the most effective way to respond and make up for his lapse in judgment is with his actions on the field, where an attitude and form adjustment are both necessary.

————————-

What's your take on Shea's situation in Dallas? Should the club try and trade him? Is Hyndman the one that needs to go? Do you see this being a situation that both parties can salvage? Were the expectations placed on him too high for him to fulfill?

Share your thoughts below.

83 comments
  • Davy Crockett

    Player development isn’t one-size-fits-all.

    Holden developed better here, but I have a feeling Shea would develop better in Europe. Shea’s not given much slack pressure-wise to develop with FCD (i.e. make mistakes) because he’s the most talented player on the team, and they depend on him to produce. If he were backseat to a veteran, he could do his thing and learn the game better without getting absolutely railed by fans, coaches, and players when having a rough stretch.

    On the other hand, I think the motivational pressure of a European club that you mentioned would cause him to be more focused. I think Shea has mentally checked out of MLS, or at least FC Dallas. Some call that immaturity or egotism, others say it’s needing a bigger challenge. It is what it is, I’m not going to say it’s right or wrong.

    Like

  • beachbum

    nice post, thanks. Kid needs an attitude adjustment, not the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard of course.

    does he do it? the question

    he’s got some fire, needs to better direct it in his preparation, my opinion

    Like

  • beachbum

    agree Mig22. does Coach Klinnsman shoulder some blame here? He had Shea in his grasp a ton all year, now look at him?

    Like

  • beachbum

    needs to learn how to hit the player on the ground faking injury when he kicks it, as Beckham did :)

    Like

  • beachbum

    we’ll take him in LA. I’d love to see him in the Galaxy kit, see Arenas work that kid

    Like

  • Davy Crockett

    No, he would have been in one of the top clubs’ academies since he was 15 or so, and probably breaking through and just now getting meaningful PT or on loan.

    Like

  • Yeppers

    All of you should enjoy this too… Wow, what a bad week for Brek… All of this topped off by a cover story in the Dallas alt weekly that paints him as a kid who needs a babysitter 24/7… not to mention his telling a hard to believe story about getting Garber to call Hyndman and forcing him to play Brek. wow. wow.

    http://goo.gl/5vDnJ

    Like

  • Taylor

    Brek shea does not have good balls skills. He is big,fast & athletic but thats about it. He has a long ways to go technique-wise. Shea turns the ball over way too much & makes too many mistakes when he is up against quality competition.

    Like

  • Chase

    Brek Shea is the great white hype. He’s a decent player in a league like the MLS but He’d get chewed to peices in europe unless its a b-league team. The guy gets way too much press.

    Like

  • The Imperative Voice

    Holden was scoring goals on NE his first year, who Houston then played in the final. He might have been improved over time somewhat but they got an English league player and then “brought him along slowly.” Whether that’s justified is questionable IMO, because when regularly used in 2007, he rapidly out produced Mullan.

    The Dynamo have done the same thing to Jermaine Taylor vis a vis their backs. Jamaican international but somehow used as backup to Ashe, etc.

    Regarding Shea, I think it’s debatable whether the best thing for him is getting act together then going abroad, or vice versa. I personally think it would be more fruitful to get the mental aspect together here then pursue transfer so he is judged mostly on play rather than having to get his whole act together including behavior in a more demanding European environment.

    Like

  • The Imperative Voice

    I think the very sort of activity you talk about is part of his problem. He went to Gunners to train then played with the U23s then FCD, with some USMNT in there. What about rest and focus on FCD? I could see where an immature kid might view FCD as the low priority. Maybe what he needs is less loaning and coddling and more weekly paycheck team accountability.

    That being said, for that to work well FCD needs to get their house in order. One could be expressing the correct emotions in the wrong place.

    Like

  • The Imperative Voice

    Shea has had some assists for the senior and U23 teams, shown some flashes, and had 11 goals for Dallas last year. The issue is not hype so much as a form drop. Which requires playing well in the first place….

    Like

  • b

    The difference is Shea is talented and is being mismanaged by Hyndman (who should be fired ASAP based on how he has lost control and given the team’s pathetic record over more than a full calendar year now), whereas Hernandez is a terrible soccer player best known for his reckless and clumsy tackles, so Hernandez criticizing Shea is beyond hypocritical, it is laughable and shows just how messed up things are in Dallas (where the same Hernandez who criticizes Hyndman when he is benched for good reason and criticizes Shea when he is upset at being benched without reason is also the team captain and on the coaching staff with Hyndman. How bizarre is that? Is anyone paying attention at Hunt Headquarters?

    Like

  • b

    It was really minor. Shea got subbed out (in a game where he was one of the few decent offensive threats for Dallas) and said a few words to Hyndman as he walked by. Probably “you’re a crazy old man for taking me out, and because of you we’re going to lose when our freaking left back fails to convert a penalty kick.”

    Like

  • b

    They were not one of the best teams last season. In fact, they were ONE OF THE WORST TEAMS in the second half. And they are THE WORST TEAM this season. So where does that leave them?

    Like

  • b

    Eddie Gaven is still young, too. But he is what he is and never developed into what he could have been. Gaven doesn’t have the drive, imo. How can anyone refuse a Gold Cup callup to spend time with their newborn baby (I’m sure the kid will remember it fondly)? Baseball players are usually not even present when their wives give birth, maybe they miss one game. He refused a callup to the entire Gold Cup. Have fun not improving your game in Columbus Eddie.

    Like

  • Hogatroge Abroad

    I was thinking the same thing. I didn’t see the specific rant, but Hernandez is hardly the paragon of maturity.

    Like

  • Woodstalker

    He was out of gas by the end of last year. Kids like Shea and Agudelo need time to mature. The hype has blown their heads up.

    Like

  • GW

    I Voice

    “Little known but Holden started at Sunderland after Clemson, played for their reserves, had some injuries and never got on track, then benefitted from MLS more as a fresh start than anything else. IMO Houston wasted a lot of their time with him by apprenticing him to Mullan even as he surpassed him. But my basic point is he was a known quantity with English Championship cred when he came back here.”

    Really? Read this Guardian article.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/jan/22/stuart-holden-bolton-wanderers-interview

    Why did Coyle who first saw Holden on TV, not Moyes, not McCarthy or Irvine, bring him back to the UK? They would be the ones with the most familiarity with Stu.

    He may have been a known quantity but obviously it wasn’t a good enough quantity for them to bring him back to the UK. They let him stay in Texas for four years even though, with a UK passport he had no need to go through the permit process.

    If you are trying to say Houston held him back then I would say the facts do not support you.

    Like

  • GW

    Are you serious? One time young? Gaven is 25 right now.

    Gaven never got to even 1% of the hype and what not that has surrounded Shea.

    Gaven was 18 or so when he was first capped and has only played 8 games for the US. Brek already has four more caps and was 22 when he was first capped.

    While it seems unlikely, Gaven is still young enough so that he could still be a late bloomer and fulfill his great potential.

    As for Shea, writing him off at 22 is a blood sport for USMNT fans.

    Like

  • GW

    You never get back that first day/week/month year with your kid. And maybe he won’t remember his dad being there the first day,etc. but I’ll bet his mother will.

    I’ll guess you are not married.

    There is always another Gold Cup, Gaven can shoot for.

    Like

  • GW

    “freelancer”?

    Disciplined, organized, well behaved players can be found or made. Talent scouts around the world look for the “freelancers”, not that Shea world class or anything like that.

    What is wrong with Shea can be fixed.

    But what is right about Shea is very hard if not out right impossible to to teach.

    You can’t really, teach size, power, speed, agression,etc. It’s what JK liked about him and it is what Shea needs to focus on getting back.

    That other stuff is incidental and can be managed if Shea wants to have a great career.

    If he does not then he deserves what he gets.
    Obscurity, Poverty, Scorn, Homelessness, etc.,etc.

    Like

  • GW

    Teams buy players who can help them right now or who they can develop.

    If Shea sucks as bad as y’all seem to think he does then no Dutch team would be so stupid as to buy him.

    If a Dutch team thinks they can straighten him out, then that measn he is a “project” and therefore will not command much of a fee, certainly not 10 million, unless MLS is willing to cut their losses on Shea

    Which means Shea is stuck in Dallas.

    teamThis reminds me of those

    Like

  • Soccer Dad of 5

    FC Dallas might be reworking their team to be primarily Central and South America based team. The large Hispanic community in DFW would be that target. In order to do so, they would need their star players to agree and play into that goal. Brek has been played out of position and with a group of players that have difficulty making and receiving passes. Tonight with a field full of players with those Hispanic roots, they suddenly were able to do so. No one knows what is happening behind the scenes. Certainly, if Brek is being cut some slack, it isn’t showing externally. He may be unhappy. Some of the broadcast media has stated that the coach has been mishandling the two ‘stars’ of the team. Both of them are spending a lot of bench time. Perhaps they don’t fit into the long term – have been told so – see their careers in the trash. Yep that might cause most of us to act out a bit.

    Like

  • Fenwick

    Didn’t he get hit in the Eye at a bar by a Newcastle yob and that was what derailed his career. I think he nearly lost sight in the eye.

    Like

Add your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More from SBI Soccer

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,061 other followers