The United States Men's National Team released its 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup roster on Tuesday, but Orlando City midfielder/defender Brek Shea was not among the 23 names in the squad.
Seeing as he was a regular call-up as a fullback in recent months for USMNT manager Jürgen Klinsmann, Shea's omission could be seen as a bit of a surprise. On one hand, Lions fans would love to see Shea represent the U.S. in this summer's Gold Cup, but on the other, the news that the left winger-turned-left back-turned left winger again would not be leaving Orlando for a month was not unwelcome.
On Tuesday night's coach's show, however, Orlando City manager Adrian Heath revealed that the 25-year-old Texan has been dealing with an injury since his return from international duty earlier in June that could affect his availability for the Lions in the coming weeks.
"When [Shea] came back from the last trip playing Holland and Germany, we had a medical report from the U.S. Soccer Federation," Heath said on his weekly call-in show. "One thing they put on it is you're going to have to be careful with his groin area because he's got a problem there."
According to Heath, Shea was forced to miss a few training sessions upon his return to Orlando, and the club expressed concerns to the national team after the Montréal match that playing Shea in the Gold Cup would be a risky proposition due the groin injury.
While 'common sense prevailed' on Tuesday when Shea was left off the USMNT's 23-man roster, Orlando was still working to find out the severity of Shea's injury and how to handle his playing time moving forward as of Wednesday, and that was exacerbated when Shea was forced off after just 39 minutes against Colorado Rapids after playing much of the first half with a noticeable limp.
It was revealed after the match that Shea will indeed be shut down for the next two weeks.
Given that Shea's injury had been pinpointed weeks ago as a groin issue, and that he had played 90 minutes in each of City's last two matches against D.C. United and the Montreal Impact despite it, the delayed announcement from Heath on Tuesday that Shea would be evaluated by a specialist following Wednesday's match seemed a bit strange.
It seems like the club's training staff, perhaps with the help of an MRI, would have been able to identify the nature of the injury by this point, and that a specialist would have already been consulted if necessary. There is also the possibility that Shea's groin condition had worsened at some point between the United and Impact games, which necessitated the third party assessment prior to his early exit against the Rapids.
Whatever the case is, it now appears that the on-field pros of Shea not being called up for OCSC could be dampened by the groin injury. Now that Shea has to be shut down, as Heath had mentioned as a possibility on Tuesday, the Lions will be facing the same situation they would have had he been selected by Klinsmann, with Carlos Rivas, Lewis Neal and co. having to replace Shea on the left side of the midfield.
Shea's premature substitution on Wednesday night highlighted the delicate nature of his affliction, but until the injury is diagnosed outright and a plan of action for rehabilitation is laid out after the next 10 days, the situation remains a bit of a mystery for Orlando City fans.