The United States added Brek Shea to its Gold Cup roster on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Josh Gatt.
Shea most recently played the final half hour of the USA’s 6-0 demolition of Guatemala in a friendly on Friday. He assisted the final goal, Alejandro Bedoya’s first in a U.S. uniform.
Following a winter transfer to Stoke City, the former FC Dallas winger struggled with injury and, later, a settled lineup. He made two appearances, both off the bench, in the Premier League.
Klinsmann called Shea into the squad that participated in World Cup qualifiers last month, but quickly sent the left-footer to Dallas to train alone and build fitness.
“Brek had a tough couple months behind him,” Klinsmann said. “He went to Stoke, had injuries, worked himself back to fitness then didn’t get the playing opportunity because they were kind of set in that moment there.”
Klinsmann mentioned that he and new Stoke manager Mark Hughes had exchanged several calls to figure out the best plan for Shea. “We want to get him back on track there,” Klinsmann said. “He’s working really hard and he’s in a learning process. Now we’re happy.”
The 23-year-old described his physical state as “preseason fitness. No, but I feel good. I feel better than I’ve felt in a long time.”
Shea replaces Gatt, who injured his knee playing for Molde FK on June 29.
“I’m very upset that I couldn’t make the Gold Cup because of my knee,” Gatt tweeted. “I’m wishing the U.S. all the best and hope to see them taking home gold!”
Gatt remained in Norway for an MRI following the match against Sarpsborg. Gold Cup rules allow for injury-induced replacements up to 24 hours before the team’s first group stage match. The Yanks start the tournament against Belize in Portland on Thursday.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation for Josh,” U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “This is now a couple of times that he has been i njured after receiving a call up to the national team, and it must be frustrating and disappointing. He has been making great progress and we were really looking forward to the opportunity to see him in action. We wish him all the best.”
D.C. United attacker Chris Pontius will join the alternate pool of 12 players available to Klinsmann after the group stages. Teams may make four changes to their 23-man rosters ahead of the knockout rounds.
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