Major League Soccer journeyman Break Shea already has three goals in 2018 and appears to be in for a big year ahead. Is the Vancouver Whitecaps winger set for a comeback season?
Not many would have predicted that Brek Shea would be tied for the lead in goal scoring after six matches for the Vancouver Whitecaps. In 2017 alone, he scored four goals in 28 appearances for the Canadian club. With plenty of games ahead, it seems he may be in for a comeback year following a disappointing last few years in MLS.
So far, two of Shea’s goals have come from off the bench. Most recently, he scored against Real Salt Lake, a fine finish from close range. Scoring on the road has been an early-season trend with all three goals this season coming away from BC Place.
It has been an up-and-down career for Shea in the last five years. Following a successful stint at FC Dallas, he made the move to England joining Stoke City in the Premier League in 2013. However, he was never able to get first-team minutes with Stoke and ended up spending time with Barnsley and Birmingham City on loan.
His return to MLS saw him play more at left back then at the wing for Orlando City. As a result, he did not have the offensive impact we were accustomed to seeing with FC Dallas and the United States Men’s National Team. But now that he is with Vancouver, we are beginning to see that the wing is where he belongs.
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Perhaps the role of being a regular substitute, also, is where Shea will find his success this year. Last season, two of his four goals were in matches where he came off the bench. He still possesses excellent speed that late in matches can become a problem for backlines that are worn down.
Another thing working in his favor is that he was unable to get the regular playing time he is now seeing last season. He was injured in the CONCACAF Champions League early last year and, as a result, did not play regular minutes until May.
This season is obviously a different story and being able to get off to a good start seems to be doing his confidence well. Now that Shea is no longer a Designated Player for the Whitecaps, there may be some pressure lifted off of him.
Shea has a real chance to prove his critics wrong in 2018. So far he has been able to give the Whitecaps valuable minutes as they look to return to the MLS playoffs. The once highly coveted USMNT prospect may not be done just yet.