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Brek Shea: A Statistical Analysis

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Is he one of the most talented Whitecaps or a waste of space?

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Chicago Fire Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Since joining the Whitecaps Brek Shea has brought out mixed emotions in Whitecaps fans. At first we hated him because he dived against Tigres and got sent off against Toronto F.C. Then he scored against Tigres and (after an injury) against Colorado Rapids and the Houston Dynamo. In fact at that time he had one of the best goals per 90 amongst Designated Players. So we started to think that maybe he wasn’t so bad after all. What has followed has neither been amazing nor offensively bad. So, as with all players we aren’t quite sure how to feel about, let’s look at the stats.

Key Stats:

Goals per 90 minutes: 0.4

Assists per 90 minutes: 0

Shots per 90 minutes: 0.6

Aerials won per 90 minutes: 0.8

Fouled per 90 minutes: 1.1

Key passes per 90 minutes: 0.5

dispossessed per 90 minutes: 0.7

Bad control per game: 1.5

Crosses per game: 0.1

Dribbles per game 0.3

So what we see here is, much like Tchani, a pretty mediocre player. 0.4 goals per 90 is pretty decent for a winger but having no assists is pretty disappointing. Shea only has 0.6 shots per game but the Whitecaps in general don’t get very many shots. Being fouled 1.1 times per game is important as the ‘Caps are pretty deadly from free kicks. Only 0.1 crosses per game is pretty terrible for a winger, especially when you consider Shea’s crosses aren’t very good to begin with.

Comparison to other Whitecaps:

So how does Shea compare to the other wingers on the team? Well his goals per game is slightly better than Cristian Techera’s (0.37) but the bug has three assists and manages 2.2 shots per game. Techera also has 1.8 key passes per game so he’s doing much more to create for others than Shea. However Shea is dispossessed less and has fewer bad controls.

Christian Bolanos has no goals but does have three assists for 0.3 assists per 90 minutes. Bolanos also manages 1.8 shots per game and an impressive 2.1 key passes per 90 minutes. 1.8 crosses per game dwarfs Shea’s 0.1.

Alphonso Davies has stats that are pretty comparable to Shea’s with 0.5 key passes per game, 0.2 crosses per game and 0.5 shots per game. Davies has more dribbles per game at 1.5 but is not fouled as often. The elephant in the room here being that Davies is only 16 (do people know about this?) and Shea is 27.

Shea also makes quite a lot more money then all of these players. In fact he’s currently occupying Vancouver’s 3rd DP slot. Techera is doing a lot more going forward but only costs half as much. Amazingly Bolanos costs even less at a cap hit of only 250,000.

Comparison to similar players around the league:

When you look at the production other teams are getting for their DP wingers things start to look a lot more dire for Shea. David Accam for example has an impressive 10 goals and 6 assists. He also has 2.2 shots per game and 1.9 key passes. The only thing Shea has on Accam is that he doesn’t loose the ball as much. With Accam offering so much more you would expect that he would be on a much bigger contract but you’d be wrong. Accam is on 725.000 per year which is only 100k more than Shea.

Gerso Fernandes of SKC has 6 goals and 1 assist. This does mean that his goals per game is actually slightly lower than Shea’s. However Fernandes has way more shots at a whopping 2.4 per game. It seems to be a reoccurring theme that Shea’s lack of shots is holding him back. Fernandes provides 1.2 key passes per game but also gives the ball away a lot more than Shea. Essentially Shea is providing pretty similar contributions to Fernendes but hasn’t scored as many goals due to playing fewer minutes and not taking as many shots. Fernendes is, however, slightly cheaper than Shea at a cap hit of 550.000.

Conclusion:

Brek Shea is a decent player but terrible value for money. He has an impressive number of goals considering the number of minutes he’s played but doesn’t create enough chances for other players. His low number of shots hinders his goal scoring ability. It’s possible his low number is partly due to the ‘Caps lack of possession and offensive production but Techera and Bolanos seem to managing ok. If Shea were on something in the 200k-300k range I don’t think there’d be any reason to complain but in a salary cap league it’s hard to justify 625k for this level of production. It’s a shame because Shea always seems to be on the verge of doing something brilliant only for his clumsiness to trip him up (sometimes literally). It’s like his body can’t quite keep up with what his brain is telling it to do. Considering he has previously suffered a major injury this is quite possibly exactly what’s going on.