WASHINGTON, July 31, 2013 — American forward Brek Shea, who recently scored two game-winning goals to help the U.S. team win the Gold Cup, injured his knee while playing for English Premier club Stoke City in a 2-0 friendly against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., on Tuesday.
Shea suffered the injury after a tackle from the Union’s reserve midfielder Matt Kassel, which by all accounts was reckless.
“Obviously I’m pretty upset right now,” Shea told the media after the game. “I was excited to get back to Stoke and get ready for the season. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it feels.”
Shea scored a goal in the 19th minute and limped off the field eight minutes later. He will have a scan on his knee today. Whatever the outcome, he is sure to miss the start of the season in England, which begins on Aug. 17 when Stoke visits Liverpool FC.
“It’s incredibly frustrating and hugely disappointing to lose Brek, especially in a game like this where you would expect players to look after their fellow professionals,” said Stoke City coach Mark Hughes on the club’s website. “I really have no idea what the lad [Kassel] was thinking about by going in for the challenge like that. Maybe he was trying to make a name for himself, I have no idea, but whatever he was thinking it was totally wrong.”
Shea recently scored the game-winning goal against Costa Rica in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup and the winner against Panama in the U.S. team’s 1-0 win in the Gold Cup final on Sunday. The former FC Dallas player was just beginning to find his form after recovering from a foot injury which limited him to just two appearances with Stoke last season.
According to reports, Kassel was booed by some fans in the crowd at PPL Park after the tackle.
“Obviously I didn’t mean to do that,” Kassel told MLS.com. “I’m friends with the kid. It was completely just going for the ball. Unfortunately things happen and tonight he unfortunately got hurt…There was no intent at all…I wish him all the best and I apologize for the tackle.”
The 23-year-old Kassel played three years at the University of Maryland and has appeared just 33 minutes for the Union this season.
John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times for 20 years. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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