FRISCO, Texas — With five goals and three assists in 21 games this year, it’s not hard to see the incredible potential that Brek Shea possesses. But there are also times when it's easy to remember the FC Dallas midfielder is only 20 and still prone to mistakes that younger players sometimes make.
Shea was sent off Sept. 16 against New York for a hard tackle in the first half on Red Bulls defender Chris Albright. The 6-foot-4 Texas native found himself in the unique position practicing last week with full knowledge that he wouldn’t be on the field.
“I think he really did a good job focusing,” FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said. “Brek is a very talented young player. What gets him into trouble is his emotions. His emotions cannot be distorted, because once his emotions get distorted, so does his intelligence.
"I think the more he understands that and can control his emotions I think he will be a very, very good player for FC Dallas and hopefully one day for the US. It’s his Achilles heel.”
The FCD midfielder automatically got a one-game suspension for his red-card challenge on Albright, but was assessed another game by the league office due to unsportsmanlike behavior as he left the field. Shea sat out the Hoops' last two matches, draws against both New England and Kansas City.
“I think he came out last week and worked hard,” Hyndman said. “I think he was embarrassed. I think he was frustrated. I think he realized he let his team down. And then when he got the additional suspension, it validated to him because other people thought it was bad.
"The thing that should make him happy is the team still did well without him, so nobody’s looking at him and pointing the finger. Maybe in some ways, it’s a step towards maturity.”
With the experience behind him, Shea will get his next chance to return to the starting XI when FCD host the Chicago Fire at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday. Hyndman’s club can clinch their first playoff berth since 2007 with a win.
“I missed two games, so during training, I wanted to work to keep my fitness up so when I’m eligible again, if coach puts me in, I’m ready to play,” Shea said. “I picked up where I left off. It sucks not being able to help the team and having to watch. When I do get a chance, I want to show I messed up and can help the team.”
Starting or not, Shea will be happy to be back with the team again and not taking in the game from his couch.
“It’s very stressful watching the game at home,” Shea said. “They were up early but then in the second half, Kansas City getting a goal [made it tense]. But then, when Jeff [Cunningham] finished it, it was good to watch the guys get a win on the road.”
Speedy Honduran Marvin Chavez filled in for Shea on the left flank for the last two games. Chavez even scored FCD’s first goal against Kansas City but had to leave in the first half following a hard tackle by the Wizards’ Michael Harrington.
Chavez’s status for this weekend is uncertain, but an MRI showed nothing negative according to Hyndman, meaning he could return to practice on Wednesday.