Brek Shea made 21 starts in the regular season, but none since September 16.
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Shea to play reserve role for Dallas in playoffs

FRISCO, Texas — After solid substitute performances in Sunday’s 2-1 loss away to Los Angeles, FC Dallas midfielders Brek Shea and Eric Avila are expected to be effective options off the bench against Real Salt Lake on Saturday (5 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel).

“They both helped us [against LA],” coach Schellas Hyndman said. “When you get players like that coming off the bench for you to add a little bit of spark in the attack, that was what we needed against LA. Those are two guys that we definitely will be thinking about getting on the field.”

Shea has actually started 21 games this year, notching five goals and four assists. But he hasn’t started since Sept. 16 when he was ejected in the first half of a 2-2 draw with New York, and Marvin Chavez has assumed the starting role one the left side.

“I want to help the team go far whether that’s a starting role or coming off the bench,” Shea said this week. “Whatever [Hyndman] asks of me, I’m going to come out, play my best and help the team win.”

Clearly, though, Shea would prefer to be in the starting XI when Dallas step onto the field on Saturday.

“I always want to start,” Shea said. “I’m competitive and want to get out there. I can show this week that I really want to start, but if coach doesn’t put me in there, I’m going to do everything I can coming off the bench.”

Avila, on the other hand, has been FCD’s “energy guy” off the bench, coming on in the second half to provide fresh legs and pace to his side at a time when opposing defenses are getting tired. For the year, he has appeared in 18 games, including one start. He has one goal and one assist.

“I came on as the first sub and felt great. I’m glad to be in that rotation,” he said. “It’s playoffs and I’ve got to be ready for anything.”

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