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Anybody got a problem with Brek Shea on USMNT roster?

Aug 13, 2012, 11:37 AM EDT

Portrait of US player Brek Shea taken be

There is no scientific formula for picking a national team. There simply is no recipe, with precise measures of well-balanced ingredients as a fixed-point guideline.

This is cooking up an impromptu soup with ingredients on hand – and remembering that you still need to save something for dinner.

So we get to Brek Shea, the struggling winger who was tossed a lifeline with Sunday’s announcement of the U.S. roster.

There is simply no way to justify Shea’s choice if this roster is about winning one match, and about the ongoing demonstration that spit-polished form and fitness are unquestioned requirements for national team call-ups. Generally speaking, that needs to be the presiding message.

(MORE: The Geoff Cameron conundrum)

But, of course, this isn’t about winning a game in Mexico – a mission of low-probability success potential, by the way.

This is all about getting to Brazil 2014 and about achieving as much as realistically possible once there.

Klinsmann’s job right now is to maximize those chances, to squeeze as much opportunity factor into the larger work. And that’s where selecting rosters becomes far more art than science.

And it’s why I have no problem with Shea’s selection.

(Some other choices, I can’t explain, except that to say Klinsmann is clearly a man who zigs when we think he’s sure to zag.)

Here’s what Klinsmann had to say about Shea on last night’s conference call from Mexico:

I had good conversations the last week with Schellas Hyndman of FC Dallas and we both see a lot of upside in Brek Shea. We all knew that after the big disappointment of not qualifying for the Olympics that our youngsters from that program would eventually fall into a hole. They would go through emotional rollercoasters. That’s what happened with Brek – he went through an emotional rollercoaster and he didn’t have himself under control. Schellas and I – we tried to look through all those elements and we think he needs our support and the feeling that we’re there when things get tough.”

Does it send the wrong message? I doubt it. Everybody can see the talent in the FCD man. Heck, at this time last year we were talking about Shea as Major League Soccer’s MVP. If Shea can get his head right, those long legs, the power in his game and all that bullheaded audacity will discover renewed effectiveness.

So that’s the target here, to help Shea get those big feet pointed in the right direction as a best-bet hedge on future, team success.

Clearly, players of lesser talent and raw ability would not be treated the same, would not be afforded the same latitude.

But that’s just big boy sports, and we should all know so.

  1. stackhousesoccer - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    I hate to call it coddling. But if he needs this kind of ‘handling’ then is he strong enough of mind to make it as an international level player anyway. But the man definitely ball. Or he could anyway.

  2. greej1938l - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Why would Anyone have a problem….it’s a exhibition…doesn’t work out…oh well..were back to where we are now.

  3. Steve Davis - Aug 13, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Well, I know the Chris Pontius supporters probably have a problem with it. Which means most D.C. United folks have a problem with it.

  4. californiaredskins - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    The more Brek Shea the better. With all due respect to some of the other guys mentioned in this article (i.e.: Eddie Johnson and Chris Pontius), I’m pretty sure we know where that ceiling is, but I’m not so sure about Shea. If you’re trying to figure out the best team going forward you have to see what you can get out of Shea. Also, I may be a little overly optimistic or maybe just a little insane, but I don’t see the US getting blown out down in Mex City.

  5. brianbosworthisstonecold - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Shea looks like Martina Navratilova.

  6. footballer4ever - Aug 15, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Who’s got any problem now with Break Shea having played tonight? I thought so.

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