FRISCO, Texas — It was an eventful day for Brek Shea and the US Under-23 national team on Wednesday, one in which the FC Dallas midfielder scored the winner in a scrimmage against his own club and was then sent off with a second caution.
In a match that featured nine bookings and two ejections, Caleb Porter’s side survived against FCD for a 2-1 victory.
“It was fun to play against my friends and teammates,” Shea said after the scrimmage. “It got a little rough out there today. We like to battle, but probably a little too much today.”
Shea was first booked in the 27th minute for an aggressive trip of FCD teammate Zach Loyd. Shea and Loyd, who both trained with the US senior team during the January camp, played a physical game throughout the day. Shea chalked it up to two competitors who like to battle. FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman, however, was somewhat surprised by the physicality of the matchup.
“They’re both head-bangers,” said Hyndman with a smirk. “I thought they both had some good battles. I was surprised that they were going at each other as hard as they did considering they are teammates. They both want to compete.”
Shea and Loyd have been teammates in Dallas since 2010, and both had breakout seasons in 2011. Though the two are good friends off of the field, things change when lined up face-to-face, even in a preseason scrimmage.
“We’re good friends outside, but as soon as the whistle blows inside the lines, it’s business,” said Loyd. “We don’t take anything personal. We’re both very aggressive players and we mix it up a lot in practice, so I was expecting it to be like that.”
The teams traded goals in the opening 20 minutes on corner kicks, but Shea provided a golden opportunity to break the tie before the half. Shea and FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman collided at the top of the box in an attempt to play a high ball, but Hartman was called for the foul. Midfielder Freddy Adu opted to take the penalty kick, but Hartman turned away the waist-high blast to the right side.
Adu returned the favor in the 51st minute, playing a long ball to Shea behind the Dallas defense at the top of the area. In alone with Hartman, Shea fired a high and hard shot into the net to give the US a 2-1 lead.
The duel was cut short in the 75th minute when Shea was ejected on his second caution for a hard foul on FCD trialist Daniel Osorno. After an earlier ejection of Kofi Sarkodie, Shea’s departure left the US with only nine men over the final 15 minutes. Despite a two-man advantage, FCD were unable to break down an organized US U-23 back line.
“I don’t know if I’m more hurt by the fact that we lost, or the fact that we didn’t score being up two men,” said Hyndman. “We had them pretty much locked in.”