So long, fullback version of Brek Shea, we hardly knew ye! After only eight matches at left back, the converted midfielder has returned to his former home on the left wing. The move came amidst an Orlando City scoring drought and immediately following Kevin Molino's season-ending injury.
Results on the field have been mixed; Orlando City managed a 1-1-1 record in the three matches since the move. Though goal scoring has been up dramatically, there's certainly seemed to be a lack of chemistry between Shea and Kaká at times.
On paper, the move makes perfect sense for the formerly scoring-challenged Lions. No matter where he is on the field, Shea is second to only Kaká when it comes to finishing and creative ability. Moving him closer to goal and allowing him more freedom in attack makes sense, especially after the Molino injury.
So what's the problem?
Shea had found a new lease on his soccer life at left back. In just a few months, he'd gone from a fringe national team member, who wasn't even named to the preliminary World Cup roster last year, to a regular starter at left back. While it may still happen, it was looking almost certain that he would start there in this summer's Gold Cup. Without regular training time on the backline, there's no telling whether Manager Jurgen Klinsmann would trust the Texan there with the Yanks.
Outside of the USMNT picture, Shea's future isn't quite as blindingly bright as it once was. 22-year-old MLS stars get £2.5 million transfer offers to go play in the EPL. At 25 now, and with a complete European flame-out under his belt, Brek has a long road ahead of him to attract any interest again from a top Euro league.
That was, of course, until he was re-imagined as a defender. All of a sudden, the potential was there again. Purely attacking midfielders are a dime a dozen to begin with, and top clubs would feel like they'd already seen that play out with Shea anyway. At fullback, Shea's superior athleticism stood out once again.
On an MLS team with more depth, Brek Shea could be a force as a converted winger playing fullback (See: Rogers, Robbie, Yedlin, DeAndre). That's simply not the case with Orlando City right now, so Shea is back up top. For what it's worth, I'm not necessarily suggesting Shea should refuse the move; it's his job to do what's best for the team. However, from everything he's said, he's in favor of it himself.
Does Shea even care about another chance in Europe? Does he still see a future for himself with the USMNT on the wing, or does he believe Klinsmann will continue to play him at left back? These are questions I can't answer.
What I can say, though, is that if Brek Shea cares about making it in a top European league or with the U.S. National Team, he's only hurting his chances by moving back to the wing.