FRISCO, Texas — When goal-scorer and offensive mastermind David Ferreira went down with an ankle injury in April, the lingering question around FC Dallas was who was going to step up in his absence and provide the scoring.
Enter Brek Shea.
The 21-year-old left-sided midfielder scored his eighth goal of the season on Saturday night as FC Dallas defeated Columbus 2-0, tying him for the league lead. The tally was his fourth in his last four games. Since Ferreira’s injury, Shea has accounted for 42 percent of the team’s scoring.
“The better you play, the more confidence you get,” Shea told the media after the game. “You just get on a roll. I am just on a good roll right now.”
The exuberant native Texan scored the game-winning goal 13 minutes into the second half, beating Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer to a loose ball in the six-yard box and FC Dallas never looked back en route to their third straight win.
Shea repeatedly sprayed the Crew goal, attempting seven shots and nearly curled in a beauty with his left-foot from 25 yards out only to have it barely clear the crossbar.
He had numerous other scoring opportunities, including one in which he wrong-footed perennial all-star and former MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall before rolling a right-footed shot just right of the far post.
“I’m having a lot of fun out there,” Shea stated. “I try to create. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Most impressive is the fact that Shea is tied for the league lead in goals despite starting the season playing as a center back and left back.
“Think about him being the team’s leading scorer despite how many games he played at left back and center back before we got ourselves healthy,” contemplated head coach Schellas Hyndman. “It is not just the goals he scores, he gets some good balls and he keeps the defense under a lot of pressure.”
Against the Crew, Shea went about his normal business, running at defenders, delivering precise crosses with both feet and simply putting his stamp on the Pizza Hut Park pitch.
“He has continued to develop confidence,” said Hyndman. “When a player starts to develop confidence, you’ll find his teammates will pass him the ball more because they have confidence in him.”
When asked what he thought about holding the league lead for goals, Shea was his modest, usual self.
“I don’t really think about being tied for the league lead in goals," he said. "I’m just trying to help the team score goals. I’d much rather play with a lead. Our team plays with a lot more confidence when we’re up a goal.”
And with seven more games in a crowded July, the FC Dallas faithful hope Shea continues his unbridled goal-scoring trend.
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @FCDallasBeatGuy