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Brek Shea sidelined up to four weeks with MCL sprain

BrekSheaStoke2 (GettyImages)


When Brek Shea went down after a terrible tackle that looked like it might lead to serious injury, the immediate fear was that Shea might be forced to miss a lengthy period of time with a devastating knee injury.

Shea did wind up with an injury, but it isn’t as severe as originally feared. Sources have confirmed to SBI that Shea is set to miss four weeks with an MCL sprain.

Shea suffered the injury after being tackled by Matt Kassel during Stoke City’s 2-0 exhibition victory against the Philadelphia Union last Tuesday, just two days after Shea scored the game-winning goal in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s Gold Cup final victory vs. Panama.

The injury will force Shea to miss the start of the upcoming English Premier League season, but the injury is not nearly as bad as it looked like it could be when the tackle happened.

The tackle had Stoke City manager Mark Hughes fuming after Tuesday’s friendly, when he thought Shea’s injury could be even more serious.

What do you think of this development? Relieved to hear it’s not a more serious injury? Worried it is going to set him back in his quest for vital playing time at Stoke City?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Thank God it wasn’t much worse as I think everyone was fearing when it happened. With that said It’s really important that Shea take his time with his recovery and not push it to fast too soon. Coming back to early from a knee injury is how sprains turn into injuries that require surgery.

    The coach seems to like him and Stoke was dreadful going forward last year, so if he is fit he should be able to find a way to consistent playing time even if it’s in 6 weeks from now.

    If healthy Shea has a very good chance of making the WC team. His touch and vision can still be improved but he works hard to get back on defense, and has such speed and power defenders need to respect that and give him a half step, what makes shea world class is that with that half step he can deliver very dangerous crosses pretty consistently. That fits well with the style JK wants to play and makes him an attractive 70th minute sub type to open the game.

  2. Also since you all seem to be so dumb and so negative (some of you)…. Brek is not the new Holden… He has foot surgery his last injury and was fit for quite some time but Pulis did not like him in his plans, which shows just how much better he is, how much more respect he will get, and how much more PT he will get from a manager that actually attacks offensively…. And another thing, those of you that are saying his regained form and fitness from the USMNT has nothing to do with Stoke, well you my friends are world class idiots!!!!! Sure it is different players, different style of play, in a different country, so the team chemistry may take some work… But form and fitness are not team chemistry, so if he is playing well, staying healthy (aside from dumb Kassel murders), getting his speed back, getting his touch back, scoring goals, getting assistd and good crosses under his belt, how exactly does this not help him with Stoke or not translate to Stoke? Of course it does, soccer is soccer and if you are doing those things then they will carry with you to different matches, different leagues, different teams, etc. the chemistry he built with USMNT willn ot help him but the form and fitness and training that he gained ASSUREDLY WILL, and to say otherwise is jsut unintelligent and uninformed about the game we all LOVE…… Stoke and the EPL will BREKonize this year, I guarantee you…… # LEGGO #AllStatesEverything

  3. Everyone need to relax first and foremost acting as if his career is devastated, etc. If Holden can have 3 major knee surgeries within a 3 1/2 year span and people still say he will be back then why in the hell are we freaking out on Brek’s injury?? Had it been a Holden type injury then i would be freaking out more than anyone, Brek is the man, but it isn’t.. It’s a sprain, which is way more scarey than a tweak, but way less scarey than a tear… He is lucky, and so is the USMNT… BREK WILL BE ON THAT ROSTER, and this injury doesn’t change that (since it’s only 4 weeks)…. Klinsmann loves him and continues to give him chances, and Hughes has only had good things to say, and was FURIOUS about the tackle, clearly he likes the lad. All this means that missing a few weeks of full contact training will not kill his chances of playing time. Sure they will get him moving around in about 2 weeks or a little less I would imagine, then they will start the rehab n move him around even more, then he will train, etc. etc. So no he will not just be back in 4 weeks and starting and all that, but in no way does an MCL sprain mean he will assuredly miss multiple weeks of the EPL season. The season is still a few weeks away, so LET US HOPE that by week 2 or week three the lad is back and practicing and playing if we are lucky.. ANd as much as I currently hate Kassel for the tackle because it was a horrendous one, I do not hate him and you guys need to chill. Tackles happen, even Brek himself was quoted saying “I have done worse, I’m not mad at all”, it is clearly a part of soccer no matter the league, no matter the country, no matter the team….. It happens…… Brek will be back and playing (not starting) but week 2 or 3 of the season I think, which is much, much better than it initially looked to be, I eman he is already walking with a brace and no crutches (look at his and Camerons Instagram or Twitter feeds) which is a GREAT sign!!!! Let’s go Brek get it done, the EPL better BREKonize!!!!

    • I truly hope you’re right about Holden returning at full strength but people saying he will be back and it actually occurring at close to full capability are unfortunately two different things. Hoping he does though.

    • A sprain means a tear. Given the nature of the tackle and the immediate swelling of the knee, I would say it was a 2nd-degree sprain, which usually takes between 6 to 8 weeks to heal completely. A 4-week timeline is more indicative of a severe 1st-degree sprain.

  4. Good news about Shea! Hopefully this is a lesson for the media! Stop blowing things out of proportion before you have the facts. I was at the game, it was a tackle that’s all. There was no malicious intent. Tackles happen in the game of soccer even Shea said that but of course the media as well as their coach blew the whole thing out of proportion. The only two who acted like professionals were Shea and Kassel in their responses. Again, I’m glad to hear that Shea is ok.

    • Blown out of proportion? The whole thing got very little press. I don’t see any contradiction between the nature of that coverage and the ultimate severity of the injury.

      And I certainly cannot phathom how missing 4 weeks ia “Good news for Shea!”

  5. He’s turning into the next Stuart Holden, I’m sorry to say. How much PT has he missed in the last year due to injuries?

  6. Well, at least he will be okay soon. Kassel dodged a bullet there. He could have become the most hated person by USA soccer fans after Giuseppe Rossi. I hope that moron Kassel learned a lesson.

    • Realy?? You put Rossi as the most hated person? Torsten Fringe handled the ball on the goal-line to prevent the US equalizing against Germany in quarter-finals of World Cup 2002. Nigel De Jong is the A-hole of A-holes who flat out killed Stu’s career right as it began to take off for the Nats. None of us were surprised by his Ninja kick tackle in the World Cup Final. Does US Soccer hate Giuseppe playing for italy MORE than we hate DeJong?

      Speaking of Italy, do we hate Rossi more than the Ref of the US-Italy game of WC2006? With only 8-players on the field and 1 in goal, I don’t know how the US players even survived that match without dying from cardiac arrest or some other form of exhaustion after that A-hole’s imaginary red card offenses.

  7. Matt Kassel is a hack, he did the same thing to some young kid earlier. Way to screw things up for Shea at Stoke City and perhaps his World Cup chances as well. Please leave the professional soccer to guys with skills.

    Of course he’s with the Philly Union who have a clueless coach with “hack” right in his name….

    • Oh please. Bad tackles happen in soccer. Anyone who has played at a high level has committed a few. Sometimes players walk away unscathed other times they get hurt. Its unfortunate, but just a part of the game. Lets not make this guy out to be some sort of criminal

  8. “Relieved that it is only four months …”

    “Devastating for his career …”

    Do people even read the post before commenting?

    • A player in his first full season at a major club under a new manager that represents a sink or swim moment in his career–and at an age where you have to establish yourself as a player–and he is taken out by a horrible tackle in a friendly preseason match.

      The injury means he will miss the entire preseason and any opportunity to integrate into the team that he’s desperately fighting for a spot in.

      You generally only get one or two shots in the top flight in Europe–so yeah this is devastating.

      Hope he can recover.

      • Lets not exaggerate things. It hurts his chances certainly but if he is good enough to play at Stoke he will make it. One 4 week injury does not define a career. It is not devastating.

      • Well said. If he is good enough, he’ll be fine. It’s not like Hughes is going to forget that the guy had a goal and an assist in his time on the field. And it’s not like Stoke is drowning in creative players. He’ll get his opportunities. Things could have been MUCH worse.

      • Stoke was a lousy team that fired its coach, just avoided relegation, is changing its playing style, and will probably be spending a few months evaluating existing personnel before moving onto the transfer market. I think as long as he can get fit and in form, and show well, before the next window, he’s fine.

        But if this decays into how he left Dallas, extended recovery, re-aggravation, him barely playing, debates about whether he can stay healthy or whether he’s worth a hoot, maybe he gets loaned out, all bets are off.

  9. Based on what I heard, the MCL sprain was the original fear, out 3-4 weeks. Then, when people heard the first reports about it, they blew it out all out of proportion, including many here who acted like Matt Kassel ruined Brek Shea’s career with the worst tackle in soccer history–which they never even saw.

    Anyways, I’m glad Shea will recover in a month, and I hope it’s just a hiccup to him starting at Stoke this season. As we saw in the Gold Cup, he’s got the raw talent, but he needs one dose each of confidence and technical fitness to really be productive.

    • I speak with any authority on this subject only because I tore my MCL three weeks ago (also on a tough tackle playing ball, albeit a legit one). Initial fear was ACL – you get anything beyond a grade II MCL tear and there’s a pretty good chance the ACL is damaged as well. Until you get the MRI there’s just now way to know. And as for Imperative Voice’s comment a couple up from yours – definitely a strange sensation when that knee doesn’t bend. Luckily for Shea he’ll have top notch medical and rehab staff available – he’s likely going to be back much sooner than me, even with the head start.

  10. Mark Hughes seems to like him, so hopefully that counts for something–but he’s missing all of pre-season and training camp.

    Devastating for his career and a constant reminder that among the talent that’s shining in MLS is an army of brutish players incapable of proper decision making and awareness on the field only further exacerbated by the fact that this type of play isn’t punished appropriately by officiating or the league.

    • because the EPL has no horror tackles or devastating injuries. Talk to Stu Holden about this. De Jong did something worse in the biggest game of all, and got away with it.

      Is there a league anywhere with consistently good officiating and no thugs with players over the age of 6?

    • Matt Kassel was supposed to be a symbol of everything right about MLS. He’s a Red Bull Academy developed player who signed a homegrown contract after a short stint at Maryland. He had the ideal development. How could he be a symbol of the dark side?

      • Matt Ka$$el was a symbol of everything right about MLS? Are you thinking of someone else? Why would a meh prospect who NYRB didn’t even want to sign out of their own academy be a symbol of anything? What was he, a second round pick? Maybe late first round?

    • A MCL sprain is not devastating for his career. You sit for a few weeks until you get range of motion back in your knee and then you’re good as new. The no fun part is when the knee barely bends.

      I think it’s speed of play that makes MLS seem more violent. MLS is more deliberate. In England the ball is usually up and down the field like nothing. Harder to get in a tackle that way. However, I think the notion that we are unusually brutal is over-stated. We play organized defensive ball in a fairly physical fashion and so it ends up like Brazil or Italy.

      Heck, Stoke until this season had a Pulis-derived reputation as a negative defensive side, a la the Dynamo. So the idea this is bad MLS and good elsewhere….?

      I remember the bad ole days so I wonder how much of this is people trying to push along the finesse trend on the sport. I remember when you had to mug someone to get a card, there were no tick-tack calls and simulation cards, and the game somehow survived. They started policing fouls from behind and simulation and stuff and we still have a Holden every few years.

      Have you played in a no slide tackle league? I think a tough, precise defensive play is as beautiful as a well-scored goal. And just like people will miss shots leading up to a sublime strike, you will have professional fouls and nasty tackles alongside some sweet takeaway.

      • “Have you played in a no slide tackle league? I think a tough, precise defensive play is as beautiful as a well-scored goal.”


  11. Relieved that it is only four months but i do still have concerns about how that will effect his ability to get playing time there. Missing preseason is a big deal, that is when a team meshes and gels, missing any of that time is sure to have a negative effect.

      • However, it is four weeks in addition to the preseason and training he’s missed so far. Normally not a big deal, but when you’ve got a new manager, and he’s trying to reshape the team, and you’re trying to play your way into it, You can’t miss a week. All it takes is someone to step up and earn their place over him and he could be seeing 75′ subs and 2nd round FA cup matches.

        However, that is OBVIOUSLY worse case scenario. But it’s not a crazy possibility. It’s not as if he was a definite starter to begin with.

    • The down time is four weeks, not months AND as Shea has already had the benefit of a preseason and fitness with the USMNT, he is (was) probably as fit as anyone on Stoke and his recovery and assimilation back into Stoke will not suffer irreparably had he been out for several months.

      He dodged a big bullet and hopefully can get back into the swing of things and compete for a spot on the first 11 or at least make the bench and come in as the super-sub, which is a role I see him filling for the at least the USMNT and maybe even Stoke.

      • Shea’s recent play with the NT doesn’t have much to do with how he will mesh with the Stoke players once he returns from his injury. That is what will suffer.

  12. Phew. Big PHEW. Could’ve been much much worse, and Hughes does seem to actually like him, which is good news for Brek. But I do I hope someone has told him that how he practices, and therefore whether or not he plays, and then how he plays, is going to be the decider for whether or not he goes to Brazil next summer. It’s all in his hands right now, and with so much competition for those outside mid spots, a guy sitting the bench for Stoke is not likely to make the ’14 US squad.

    Get on your horse, Brek.

    • It almost certainly does. Just can’t see him getting game time between here and then to warrant a spot on that roster. We need to just leave Shea alone until he work his way into the rotation at Stoke. Hughes seemed to be optimistic that Shea could do that before his injury. Lets let him be for a little and see where he is come October.

      • yes, a sub on the B-team isn’t WCQ material-he’s got a long way to improve and he isn’t taking the spot from FJ, Zusi or Donovan-whoever ends up playing on left. Even Bedoya/Corona are ahead of him (based on starting and playing ahead of Shea in Gold Cup)

      • Wow, really Blokhin? You do realize he was coming back from an injury and was never expected to start any of the games at the Gold Cup? Perhaps you completely ignored that little factoid. Pretty sure he is still in the plans for Brazil and hopefully he can have a solid season to insure his spot. Also, I guess you didn’t give him any credit for TWO game winning goals in the tournament. A year is a long time, let’s let the guy get fully healed, get some playing time, then you can crucify him if you want if he doesn’t live up to your weighty expectations.

      • What Gold Cup were you watching?? The only good thing you can say about Shea is that is so inconsistent teams have no idea which “Shea” is coming on the pitch. Yeah he scored a couple of needed goals and I’ll give him credit on the first one to some degree but the last one..? It was going in by itself and there weren’t any defenders nearby to stop it. His overall performances at Gold Cup were absolutely NOT WC quality; not even as a 3rd string sub! Now if in a year he absolutely turns it around, great! But as others have said, he needs to get into a regular starting spot at Stoke and then we see how he does. At best though, I see him as having an outside chance of being a Sub at WC. He should be more focused on 2018.

      • Paul, he wasn’t performing at 100%(I thought everyone knew this) and yes he deserves credit for scoring 2 game winning goals. He looked like absolute poppy cock in the game he was subbed at half and it was quite obvious to us all. Some of us, excluding you, kept his performance in perspective. Funny how Klinsmann had enough confidence, despite that, to put him in the very next game in which he goes on to score the winning goal. I’ve been watching Brek for years so I know how good he is and it’s only the fair weather fans who rate a player only on his last game. I think most of us are aware that Brek is at his best when he is 100% just like all other players around the world. Perhaps you should learn this and see the bigger picture like I do.

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