Orlando City star Brek Shea made his return to the Orlando Citrus Bowl in stunning fashion. The versatile midfielder - who was sidelined for over two months due to injury - came in as a substitute during the 61st minute of play. He would make an immediate impact on the tone of the game for the Lions.
After Orlando City opened up the game early with a 3rd minute Adrian Winter goal, the Lions were eager to continue the strong play and give Orlando City supporters a much deserved victory. However, Sporting Kansas City wouldn’t back down easily, scoring a goal off a Krisztian Nemeth shot in the 59th minute.
Only five minutes in, the United States Men’s National Team player made a play which ultimately lead to a Bryan Rochez game-winning goal. In the 66th minute, Shea capitalized on a Sporting Kansas City turnover, gaining possession of the ball close to midfield. He made a strong run toward goal while showing plenty of patience, waiting for the right opportunity to slot a pass in the box to a charging Rochez. The Honduran international’s run allowed him to meet the perfectly placed pass and slam it home into the left side of the net, leaving SKC goalkeeper Jon Kempin helpless.
Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath was very pleased with Shea’s return, stating, “It is good to have him back. He can win things in the air, he can run behind people, he can create opportunities...You saw the reception he got from the crowd. We will be a better team having him fit and well.”
Shea suffered a sport’s hernia back in June while playing with the United States Men’s National Team. It was an injury that required surgery and recovery, and that kept him out of competition until Sunday evening. However, the attacking midfielder worked tirelessly to get back into match shape.
His hard work and rigorous training paid off, and a relieved Shea was happy to get back in action. “Obviously I’ve been out a while,” smirked Shea. “I’m really excited to be back. The best part was I felt fine, along with getting the three points at home. Injuries are never fun, no matter if they are big or small. To come back and to play my first game injury free, pain free is a big plus for me.”
Shea’s return came at a perfect time for the Lions, who were looking for a spark going into the final stretch of the season. Shea will have his next chance to play on Saturday night against the Chicago Fire in another important conference match-up.