FCD's Shea breaks out of slump just in time for playoffs
FRISCO, Texas — It was just what the doctor ordered.
With Brek Shea struggling through a dip in form in league play in recent weeks, partly due to a congested club schedule, the FC Dallas star registered a goal and assist on Saturday night in a 2-0 win over Vancouver just as another postseason journey gets set to begin. The goal was his first in MLS since August 13.
“It isn’t easy playing so many games but you just keep trying to work hard and improve in each one,” Shea said. “I started the year off well and hit a rough patch, but hopefully that’s behind me now.”
Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman will certainly hope so, too, especially with reigning MVP David Ferreira yet to return to action. Despite the Colombian’s absence, the 2010 MLS Cup finalists still made it to the postseason and could have Shea back to his best form.
“We have a strong group no matter who is on the field, but I don’t think there’s any question we’re more dangerous with Brek out there” Hyndman said.
Despite logging more than 1,700 minutes since July 28 in all competitions, more than any other player on the team, Shea is looking forward to the postseason and is ready to get back to contributing to the score line on a regular basis.
“Last month was hard because the team wasn’t playing well and I wasn’t playing well,” said Shea, “but we’ve been working on some things in practice and I feel a lot better and more ready for the playoffs now.”
Saturday night’s performance is perfect timing as Shea continues his bid for league MVP honors. Thierry Henry’s red card against Sporting Kansas City, which ended his season, and D.C. United’s fading postseason chances might help push the needle a little more in Shea’s direction, but the winger isn’t letting the hype go to his head.
“I can’t worry about how those other guys are doing,” Shea said. “I just need to focus on my own game and keep getting better each week.”
Saturday’s game did provide a new injury concern, however. Captain Daniel Hernandez was taken off the field in stoppage time for an apparent knee injury. Hernandez missed the start of the season because of an operation to repair damage to his knee he suffered during the 2010 campaign.
“We’ll evaluate Daniel and see what needs to happen next,” Hyndman said after the game. “Obviously we want our captain ready for the playoffs but his health is our top priority.”
Dalla travels to San Jose for the final regular-season game and will be looking to finish on a high note, not least because they still have some control over their path to MLS Cup.
“We need a win against San Jose to have a chance at third place [automatic playoff spot and bye in play-in round] and that’s our goal,” Hyndman said. “We’ll do all we can to avoid the wildcard playoffs so we can be rested and ready for the next part [of the playoffs].”