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What Brek Shea's U.S. Winter Camp Performance Means for City

Shea's solid showing for the U.S. this winter might have sealed his spot as the Lions' starting left back.

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Brek Shea's goal against Chile last month, his first international goal since the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, marked a return to the type of play expected of the former FC Dallas star.

Shea made a sharp run from an advanced position at left wingback, powering past Chilean defender Osvaldo Gonzalez and banking the shot off the backside post, well past the reach of the goalkeeper.

The goal was the highlight of his successful return to the national side during the U.S. winter camp. Shea's two starts were equal to the number of appearances he made for the Stars and Stripes in all of 2014 and the Chilean match was his first start since he took the field for the U.S. against Austria in Nov. of 2013.

Klinsmann's use of Shea as a left-sided defender in both matches was one of the major developments to watch during the camp, especially if your loyalties lie with Orlando City SC. Although he went goal-less against Panama, Shea's showing against the Central American side might be more telling of his ability to handle the left back duties for OCSC.

He showed good poise and willingness to not only go forward, but also tracked back and covered for Miguel Ibarra whenever  he went on runs in the attacking half during the Panama game, and helped the center backs when Panama pressed through its attacking half.

The highlights show Shea all over the field, hovering in the middle of the box in the U.S.'s attacking half, or making a good defensive play on the ball in his own box (around 0:45 in the video). The way he quickly dispossess the Panamanian defender after initially double-marking the previous possessor is telling of his potential at the position -- probably one of the best examples of how Shea can use his athleticism on defense.

Although not shown in the video, his advanced play on the attack and failed cross in the box helped set up Michael Bradley's impeccable corner-kick goal to put the Americans on the board for the first time in the match.

Shea also had a well-played ball crossed into the box from an advanced position on the left side that eventually led to Chris Wondolowksi's miss that gave fans flashbacks of his clunker against Belgium.

It's encouraging to see Shea play so well, despite playing in a new position in both games and the lack of playing time he received in his two years in England.

If he can shore up his defensive play, which didn't look too bad against Panama but still needs improvement, he could not only become the main man to take the left back spot in the United States' starting 11, but also might give the Lions a left-sided advantage if he plays behind Kevin Molino or Carlos Rivas if Adrian Heath decides to stick with a four-man defense.

He still has to battle Luke Boden for the position, but it's doubtful that Heath will be able to field his best side without Shea, and the left back spot might be the right role for him.

We'll see what happens when Shea takes the field for Orlando City for the first time in Friday's preseason game against Swedish side BK Hacken.