With less than 100 days before the start of the 2014 World Cup, there are a precious few spots still up for grabs on the 23-man roster for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Surprisingly, midfielder Brek Shea wasn’t one of the players who played their way off the roster in last week’s friendly against Ukraine. However, when all is said and done, despite being a favorite of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Shea will be nowhere near the final roster for Brazil this summer.
Shea’s biggest problem is the sheer logistics of the roster. Klinsmann is likely to bring between eight and 10 attacking players, and once virtual locks such as Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Graham Zusi, Fabian Johnson, Aron Johannsson, and Eddie Johnson are accounted for, there will only be a few open spots on the roster that Shea could have, and he’ll have to compete with players such as Alejandro Bedoya and fan favorite Chris Wondolowski, among others, for those last spots on the roster. Barring a multitude of injuries, it’s hard to envision Shea beating out the other candidates for one of the final spots on the roster.
Also hurting Shea is his form. He went on loan from Stoke City, where he wasn’t playing, to Barnsley, one of the worst teams in England’s second-highest division. Not only was Shea playing against lower-level competition, but he was also playing for a team that struggled to get positive results. Shea hurt himself further by having his loan end three weeks early after making an inappropriate gesture towards fans, a sign of immaturity and an action unbecoming of someone that deserves to play in a World Cup.
Finally, there is Shea’s skill level. He has the size, speed, and athleticism that Klinsmann would love to be able to bring off the bench this summer, and those skills continue to get him auditions. However, his first touch leaves a lot to be desired, and his decision-making is far below what it needs to be at the international level. Those deficiencies are too much to ignore when selecting a roster for the World Cup.
Right now, Shea does still have an outside chance of making Klinsmann’s 23-man roster for this summer’s World Cup. But he’s done only enough to remain in the running for a spot; he hasn’t done anything to earn a spot. When the final roster comes out, Shea will be nowhere near it; he’s not a World Cup caliber player, and he doesn’t deserve to be with the U.S. in Brazil this summer.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.