Atlanta United sign Shea

Atlanta United signed free agent Brek Shea to a one-year deal, the club announced Sunday.

Shea, 28, is expected to add depth and make spot starts for the reigning MLS Cup champs.

“We’re pleased to add a player of Brek’s caliber and versatility to the club,” Atlanta United Vice President Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “He has significant experience, playing numerous years in MLS, overseas and for the U.S. men’s national team, and will be a great addition to our locker room.”

The native of Texas was once a star for Dallas, scoring 19 goals and adding 10 assists in five seasons, and was expected to develop into a consistent starter for the U.S. men’s national team.

However, a move to Stoke City in  England’s Premier League in 2012 didn’t result in helping Shea to fulfill his potential. He made just three starts for the Potters in three years and he didn’t produce in loan spells at various other clubs.

Shea re-joined MLS with Orlando City in 2015. He moved into his customary attacking role but was moved to fullback, where he struggled. He finished with three goals and six assists in 48 appearances across two seasons.

He was traded to Vancouver for the 2017 season. He scored four goals and had two assists in 25 appearances in 2017. He added three goals and two assists in 28 appearances in 2018. Vancouver declined to exercise the option on his contract.

The reported knocks on Shea are many including inconsistent defense and a lack of consistent focus during training and games.

However, physically he is gifted at 6-foot-3 and extremely fast. He has enough skill to slot into a number of positions, from left fullback up the formation to striker. 

Shea had guaranteed compensation of $745,000 in 2018, but as a free agent his salary with Atlanta United should be markedly lower. Financial terms of his contract with Atlanta United weren’t disclosed.

Atlanta United needs to add depth to deal with the number of games it could face this season because of its participation in the CONCACAF Champions League, U.S. Open Cup and league play.

Shea has 34 appearances for the U.S. men’s national team.

In its first two seasons, Atlanta United has taken chances on free agents. One of those moves, Jeff Larentowicz, is a key player. Others, Jacob Peterson and Sal Zizzo, didn’t work out because of injuries.

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