Jurgen Klinsmann press conference post Panama win
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USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann lauds Orlando City left back Brek Shea ahead of upcoming friendlies

Not surprisingly, Orlando City’s Brek Shea seems like he may have a place on Jurgen Klinsmann’s next US national team squad.

Klinsmann raved about Shea in an interview released by US Soccer on Tuesday, praising the 25-year-old left back less than two weeks ahead of upcoming US friendlies at Denmark (March 25, ESPN2, UniMás, UDN, WatchESPN) and at Switzerland (March 31, FOX Sports 1, UniMás, UDN, FOX Sports GO).

“Brek Shea has the potential to become a very, very strong left back,” Klinsmann said. “He’s obviously a guy that always wants to go forward. He can score goals. He can create goals. If he learns the defending side of the game – being very physical, very focused, being connected to his center back and holding a line, getting all the tactical elements for what it takes to be a good defender – it adds that card into his portfolio.”

Shea, who has spent most of his career as a winger, began making the transition to defense at US camp in January. Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath acquired Shea with a plan of keeping him in the back four and has started Shea at left back in both of the Lions’ first two MLS matches.

“The coach from Orlando can choose where to play him, we can choose where to play him; it’s just great to see,” Klinsmann said. “We started that process in the January camp, and Orlando took it over. We stay in touch with each other. It can only get better.”

Klinsmann also complimented MLS on its opening two weeks of play and singled out some of his USMNT players for their strong play.

“As a start, it was a huge opening weekend for MLS,” he said. “It was awesome to see full stadiums all over the place. It’s been very exciting to go from game to game and seeing our players in action, whether it was Jozy Altidore scoring two goals or Clint Dempsey scoring two goals in Seattle, Nick Rimando playing well, and then new teams in the league.

“[Altidore] had a tough time the last 18 months in the Premier League, and for him it’s an awesome feeling to start right away with two goals. We all know what Jozy can do when he’s healthy and fit. Hopefully he’s off to a fantastic season. It’s also great seeing Clint get going from the start, and Mix Diskerud with New York City Football Club scoring the first goal for that new franchise is exciting. It’s a lot of promising stuff.” 

Additionally, Klinsmann provided some hints at what the US roster will look like for the upcoming friendlies, saying that he plans on bringing in the best group of available players.

“We are going to bring in a very strong roster into Denmark and Switzerland,” he said. “It’s a bit tricky, obviously, because MLS has just started and it’s early in the season, so those players don’t have a rhythm yet. Meanwhile, the European-based players are in a full rhythm and the Mexican-based players are in a full rhythm, so we will bring what we believe will be the strongest roster into these two friendlies. It will be an interesting mix. We are there to learn, to play against very good opponents, but also to get results.”