The U.S. Men's National Team suffered a 3-2 away loss to Chile on Wednesday night, but Orlando City SC fans still have plenty of reasons to be happy. Brek Shea started the game, making him the first ever Orlando City player to represent the full USMNT.
If that isn't enough, the left-footed Lion also banged home a superb volley into the side netting to give the U.S. an early lead. In the sixth minute of the game, Matt Besler sent in a ball that split two of the Chilean defenders and connected with Shea, who smashed it past the keeper from a tight angle.
Considering City has yet to play a minute of Major League Soccer action, having one of its own make such an impact for the U.S. on the international stage is a feat worth celebrating.
He started the game in the left wingback/left wing role for Jurgen Klinsmann's experimental 3-5-2 formation. Around the 60-minute mark, Brek reverted back to a natural left back, when substitutions caused the U.S. to adjust to a flat back four. It seems Adrian Heath plans to deploy him at left back, so it was good to see him get some minutes there against such tough competition.
With the exception of the goal, Shea had a mixed game. The Orlando City man was solid in the offensive third and nearly got on the end of a DeAndre Yedlin cross to double his tally. Defensively, he did a solid job of tracking back, but struggled positionally at times.
It is easy to forget that Brek hasn't too many competitive minutes lately, especially at left back. With that in mind, many of the errors on Shea's part can be chalked up to lack of game fitness and game sharpness.
Getting on the score sheet is always great, and it will do wonders for Brek's confidence going into the MLS season, but what was more important was the game time. Playing 90 minutes at the international level in a hostile environment is better for match fitness than two-a-day training sessions will ever be.
On a personal note, I couldn't help but smile every time Orlando was mentioned in the National Team environment. Player involvement and success on the international stage will only bring name recognition and respect to the Lions.
My only question is, who will be next Orlando City player to put on the red, white, and blue?