24 Under 24: #1 Brek Shea, FC Dallas
|Tale of the Tape|
|Matches played: 27|
|Matches started: 27|
#1. Brek Shea
Pos: M | FC Dallas | Age: 21
The talent has always been there ever since Dallas made him their 2008 first-round draft pick. But Shea's had to endure the ups and downs of four years in the pros as he carried the weight of high expectations on his shoulders. The lows, which have included run-ins with the manager and experimental stints at other positions, have given way to a breakout 2011. After starting this season at left back, he may have benefited from the long-term injury to David Ferreira, taking the team on his shoulders and registering an MVP-candidate campaign in which he has singlehandedly decided matches with plays only he can pull off. It's no coincidence that his USMNT career is also just taking flight.
What the TDs and coaches say: "Has it all and he’s performing really, really well … Scores goals, he’s good on set pieces and has the physical and technical ability to be a top player for the US for a number of years … For his size he’s very fit, very fast. He has a good cross and shot. He reads the game pretty well … Great running with the ball … Has made big strides and he’s much more mature this year … He’s daring because when he gets the ball he’s never afraid to take a player on 1-v-1 and beat him … And his crossing has improved so much. If defenders are not tight enough he’ll hit it around him or in front of him. And that’s tough when marking a winger … Needs to be consistent in MLS and play regularly for the US national team … Needs to recognize quicker when holes are opened up by the forward’s runs … He has to also pick his moments of when to show some flair and when to keep it simple."