Guys like Brek Shea have one job, just one mission, for the month of July where the national team is concerned: to make U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann take notice.
Brek Shea has done his job. Partially, at least.
Shea was added to the United States’ 23-man Gold Cup roster late Saturday. He became the 23rd man when U.S. midfielder Joshua Gatt was been ruled out for the tournament, which starts today, due to a knee injury suffered last week while playing for Molde FK in the Norway.
Tournament rules allow replacement of an injured player up to 24 hours prior to a team’s first group match; the player must come off the original, provisional 35-man roster submitted in May.
Klinsmann could have added a forward or a defender, and he might have been hesitant to add Shea, who spent some time in the coach’s doghouse this spring for a career that decision that may have imperiled his World Cup roster chances.
But Shea got into camp and then got into last Friday’s game – and he made an impression. The rustiness on his game showed in one poorly hit cross and in a well-struck shot that might have been on target with just a little more time on the field lately. But Shea was generally active, attentive and, most of all, aggressive with the ball. That’s exactly what the moment called for, a higher tempo to press and pressure a wearying Guatemalan midfield and back line.
Shea did what a couple of others, like Jose Torres or Alejandro Bedoya, did not: he leaned into the opportunity and went right at people.
He made Klinsmann notice – and now Shea has a Gold Cup opportunity before him as a result.