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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Brek Shea's injury: Reaction from the people involved

Regardless of the score in the Union's match with Stoke City, the lasting memory of what was supposed to be a friendly was the knee injury sustained by Brek Shea. Coming off his game-winning goal in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final against Panama and the game-winner against Costa Rica in the group stages (his first goal for the Stars and Stripes), it seemed that one of the great young talents in the American pipeline had turned a corner. Coupled with a pretty goal for the Potters Tuesday, it seems a shame to see Shea hobble off the field with an apparently serious knee injury after a tackle by the Union's Matt Kassel. Here's what all the parties involved in the play had to say.
Brek Shea, seen here with Team USA in the Gold Cup final
in which he scored the winner, left Tuesday's friendly with the
Philadelphia Union after a knee injury sustained in a tackle
by Matt Kassel. (Associated Press)

Brek Shea
On the injury:
It’s throbbing a little bit. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.

On the tackle by Kassel:
He was going for the ball. I just tried to put my body in front of his. It’s soccer. Tackles happen. I’ve done worse to other people.

On the emotional roller coaster he's experienced:
Obviously, I’m pretty upset right now. I’m excited to get back to Stoke and get ready for the season. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it feels, and we’ll find out tomorrow.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes
On the injury:

It was a nasty injury. Looks like some damage to the ligaments in his knee. He’s going to be scanned. I thought it was a very, very poor challenge by the boy (Kassel). What the hell he was thinking of, I have no idea.

On the possible severity:
He’s going to be out for a number of weeks at least. Of course we hope that it’s nothing worse, but certainly he’s got some damage to his knee ligaments.

On Shea's mindset:
He’s disappointed, I think we all are, because it was a poor challenge. You don’t expect that. It’s a friendly game. You need to protect your fellow professional. And I don’t think the guy did that. Don’t know who he was. Maybe he was trying to make a name for himself, I don’t know. He went the wrong way about it.

Union midfielder Matt Kassel

On the tackle:
Obviously I didn’t mean to go in and hurt the guy. I’m friends with the kid. I was just completely going for the ball, and things unfortunately happen in the game. Tonight, unfortunately he got hurt.

On an incident like that in a friendly setting:
Every day I go on the field, I play as hard as I possibly can. There’s no holding back from anybody. Even in practice, you can ask any of the guys, I go in hard every single time. Unfortunately, he stepped in as I was on the ground already, and my leg came through on him. No intent at all, and like I said, I wish him the best and I apologized for the tackle.

Shortly after the game, Kassel tweeted to Shea: "@BrekShea sorry for the challenge man didnt mean to hurt you! All the best moving forward my brotha!!” (The tweet has since been removed from Kassel's account.

Union manager John Hackworth
On the tackle:
It was a long ways away, but it’s unfortunate no matter what. (Union trainer) Paul Rushing told me that it looks like it’s a knee injury of some sort. It’s scary. I feel bad about that, and it’s kind of the risk you take no matter what when you play a friendly. It’s really unfortunate because I thought that Brek was playing really well.

Union defender Amobi Okugo
On the incident:
We all made fun of Kassel – like why aren’t you trying to take out someone like (Honduran midfielder Wilson) Palacios or someone else that’s in CONCACAF? But Brek’s gonna be fine. He’s a strong player and hopefully it’s not too serious.

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