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Brek Shea

Determining Brek Shea’s best position

brek-shea

What is Brek Shea’s best position? Shea has always been a player with a lot of potential, yet he hasn’t truly fulfilled that potential. There was a three season span in which Shea looked like he would become the premier player in Major League Soccer, as he tallied 19 goals in 77 league games (11 of those came in 2011). However, Shea’s move to English Premier League side Stoke City was a setback in his career. His return stateside has helped to bring out the best in the tall Texan, despite an injury cutting his 2015 season short.

Yet, since returning, Orlando City manager Adrian Heath has shuttle his US international between positions. Shea featured eight times as a left-back last season for the Lions, where he tallied no goals or assists. This season Shea has played at full-back in Orlando’s 1-1 draw with Chicago, again no goals or assists, and the American’s influence on the game was minimal. Take into account his weakness at tackling and propensity to be called for fouls, and it’s easy to see that Shea is an attacking player that is being shoehorned into playing as a defender.

In week 1 of the MLS season, Shea played on the left side of an attacking three in Heath’s new 4-3-3 formation. According to Whoscored.com, Shea had 50 touches, completing 21 of 31 passes at a 68% clip. The position let him cut inside and play off the left shoulder of Cyle Larin. Shea even had the assist on Larin’s goal in the Lions’ opening game against Real Salt Lake.

Looking at week 2 against Chicago, Shea took 76 touches according Whoscored.com. He also complete 50 of 60 passes at an 83% success rate.

So what is Shea’s best position?

At one time, due to Shea’s 6’3” frame, he could have been made into a target man striker. However, due to his skill on the ball he was used as a second striker or expert midfielder thanks to his skill on the ball.

In 2016, Shea appears to be a player that can be shuttled between positions. While he has proved he can get goals and assists in more advanced areas, he has also proved his passing statistics are better when playing at the back. However, that can be highly misleading as at left-back he would have played passes to other defenders or goalkeeper Joe Bendik. Those passes would have been under far less pressure than the passes Shea had played as an attacker.

Maybe at this point in his career, at the age of 26, Shea is a player that can fit the need for Orlando City. If Heath persists with the 4-3-3 formation, Kaka should take up one of the two wing positions when he returns from injury. Heath has a quite a few attacking options at his disposal this season as Orlando has put together a decent squad of players. Therefore, Shea maybe stuck at left-back due to the quantity of attacking options.

SEE MORE: Schedule of MLS games on US TV and live streaming

While it may not be his best position, Shea has taken the opportunity in full stride, and is confident he can parlay his work in the Orlando defense into a starting berth with the US national team.

“I have no doubts in my ability; I think if I stay healthy I will be with the national team,” Shea insisted in a recent interview.

“That’s my mindset. Obviously I’m not the coach, but I don’t think there’s anyone who is better than me in that left-back position in the national team.”

With the confidence in his own abilities and a desire to make the position his own, it looks like the Brek Shea as a defender experiment will go on. Whether or not it is his best position, he is taking every chance in his hands to force his way into the US team.

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