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Atlanta United left back Brek Shea out for the season with torn ACL

Shea suffered the injury during Atlanta’s loss at the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.

May 19, 2019; Harrison, NJ, USA; Atlanta United midfielder Brek Shea (20) controls the ball during the second half against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
May 19, 2019; Harrison, NJ, USA; Atlanta United midfielder Brek Shea (20) controls the ball during the second half against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

MARIETTA, Ga. — Atlanta United fullback Brek Shea will miss the remainder of the 2019 season with a knee injury, manager Frank de Boer said Tuesday. 

“He has a really bad injury in his knee and I feel really sorry for him, because he was looking good, looking fresh,” de Boer told reporters at the Children’s Healthcare Training Ground.

“His knee is destroyed. It’s not looking good for him. ACL for sure, meniscus also, some other things also.”

Shea will undergo surgery to repair the injury on his right knee. Atlanta has placed him on the season-ending injury list, per an official club announcement. The moves opens a spot on Atlanta’s senior roster, though any replacement player must fit within a complex set of budget guidelines:

The club will remain responsible for the injured player’s full Salary Budget Charge. Clubs may execute a trade to create Salary Budget space in order to sign a Season-Ending Injury Replacement Player. This is the only circumstance in which a club may trade for Salary Budget space. Clubs are only able to receive Salary Budget relief (paid out of the club’s own pocket) for a season-ending injury under the following parameters:

  • The injured player must be earning at least $100,000 per annum.
  • The injured player must have suffered the season-ending injury prior to the close of the Primary Transfer Window and the new player must be signed as of such date.
  • The Season-Ending Injury Replacement Player may earn up to $250,000 but not more than the player who suffered the season-ending injury.
  • The club is ultimately responsible for the payment of the replacement player’s salary (which will not be charged to the club’s budget).
  • Clubs will only be allowed to sign one such Season-Ending Injury Replacement Player a year.

If the injured player occupies an international roster slot, the Season-Ending Injury Replacement Player may also be an International Player and occupy such a slot.

Shea sustained the injury in the fifth minute of Atlanta’s 2-1 loss at the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, when he twisted his ankle while attempting to apply defensive pressure on the ball.

“He twisted his ankle, but because of the speed that he did it, something else in his knee didn’t go well,” de Boer said after the game.

Shea played in 24 games across all competitions for Atlanta this season, contributing two assists. He signed with the Five Stripes as a free agent in December 2018.

Atlanta will be thin at fullback depth for its home game against the Houston Dynamo Wednesday. Shea is out, as is Mikey Ambrose with a hamstring injury. George Bello has not recovered from a right adductor injury. Right fullback Franco Escobar will sit due to a yellow-card suspension.

Following the Seattle game, de Boer said “it’s a possibility that we do something in the transfer market” to address fullback depth. The Five Stripes have since been linked to 22-year-old Chicago Fire defensive midfielder Mo Adams. De Boer on Tuesday acknowledged interest in the player and explained Adams could potentially play as a fullback.

“I think he also has the qualities of a fullback, with his pace and aggressiveness,” de Boer said. “Maybe he’s not the guy who will go down the line 100 times like Franco can do, but I think he can still do a decent job. So I think we can rotate him, if the deal is done, with certain positions.”

De Boer also commented Tuesday on the injury statuses of Bello and wingers Ezequiel Barco and Héctor “Tito” Villalba. None of the three will play Wednesday. Barco seems to be the closest to a return.

“They’re still too soon [to play],” the manager said. “Barco is really doing well and progressing. I don’t know if, next game [Sunday against DC United] he can be available, but we have to look every time, day-by-day, his reaction [to physical activity].

“Tito still is not there. George is coming there, but still is more like Tito’s perspective.”





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