FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made a prediction back in February that midfielder Brek Shea could score eight goals in 2011. That may have been conservative.
Fifteen games into the campaign, Shea has already amassed five goals, elevating him to the go-to player for FC Dallas while David Ferreira recovers from a broken ankle.
Hyndman has seen a lot of growth in his 21-year-old player.
“What we are seeing is a skillful player that is maturing into being one of the better players in the league,” Hyndman said this week. “We have the pleasure of watching him every game.”
Last Sunday against Sporting Kansas City, Shea demonstrated his skill by dribbling through four Sporting defenders before coolly slotting the ball under a diving Eric Kronberg. Media buzz after the goal suggested it was “Messi-like” and some wondered why Shea had not been included on the US’ Gold Cup roster.
Shea himself doesn’t remember much after beating the first three defenders, saying he, “blacked out,” and, “It happened really fast.”
WATCH: Shea's stunning strike vs. Sporting KC
“It was really an exceptional play on his part,” said Hyndman. “The thing I was probably the most pleased with was probably the composure when he finished.”
The goal also matched Shea’s season total of five from last season, despite the fact he began the season as a center back and left back, effectively keeping him away the opposing goal. Furthermore, it displayed the strides of maturity and consistency he has taken since being drafted by FC Dallas in 2008.
“I go out every game and try to get better and every day in training try to get better to help the team,” said Shea. “I think with all the experiences I’ve had in the offseason — going to Spain [with the Generation Adidas team], playing in the January [USMNT] camp and then playing last year and making it to the final — the more games I’ve gotten, the more consistent I’ve become and the more comfortable I’ve become."
The tall, blond Texas native is a fierce competitor on the pitch. During training sessions, Shea regularly awes the audience with a crisp pass, flawless touch or his finishing efforts.
When he doesn’t perform as admirably, Shea might kick the field in anger, yell aloud and focus on improving the next time.
And each year since being drafted, his number of opportunities has risen. The US national-teamer participated in two games his rookie season, 19 his sophomore year, and 25 last year to carve a role for himself on the pitch.
“Obviously, the more games you get the more comfortable you get, and I think that shows this year and last year,” stated Shea. “I think especially now that we are playing a 4-4-2, I get a lot more of the ball and they expect more from me out there getting shots and crosses off — so I have to do that.”