Welcome to Orlando, Brek Shea!
The Orlando Sentinel's Paul Tenorio is reporting that the U.S. International is finalizing a deal with Orlando City and could sign as early as this week.
The dynamic left-footed midfielder has amassed 27 caps for the U.S. Men's National Team and is still only 24 years old. Hampered by injuries and a difficulty finding playing time during two years in England, it sounds as if the Texan is coming home.
Shea long drew comparisons to Kaka from USMNT fans due to his similar combination of height and superb close-control. Though he certainly hasn't equaled the prolific Brazilian's career thus far, who better for him to play beside and emulate?
Shea will slide right in to the currently vacant left wing slot in Coach Adrian Heath's 4-2-3-1 formation. It should be an ideal system for him, as he'll be be more free to attack with two holding midfielders behind him than he might be in the more typical 4-4-2.
Shea spent time training with Orlando City this summer during the English offseason and clearly impressed Heath. The City coach told MLSSoccer.com in June,
"I would be lying if I didn't think it gives us a great opportunity at looking at a player that over the next few years might want to come back to MLS. The fact that we have a relation with him would stand us in good stead down the road if it did get to that stage."
Shea spent four years at FC Dallas before signing with English side Stoke City, a club with strong ties to Orlando City Founder and President Phil Rawlins. It remains to be seen whether Shea can regain the form that led Stoke to spend £2.5 million on him in 2013, but if he can, the lanky winger will be a huge asset to the Lions.