Whitecaps midfielder Brek Shea could miss up to 12 weeks with knee injury

Whitecaps MF Brek Shea out with knee injury

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps say Brek Shea could miss up to 12 weeks with an injury to his left knee.

The veteran midfielder was hurt five minutes into Wednesday’s second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal against Tigres UANL when he came together with an opponent on a challenge.

The 27-year-old crumpled to the turf and was helped to the sidelines before being subbed off.

“He’s gone for an MRI (on Friday),” Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said after Thursday’s practice. “If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it will be six, eight, 10, 12 weeks. That’s obviously not great for us.”

Acquired from Orlando City FC for Giles Barnes in February, Shea scored his first goal with the club moments before the injury to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead over Tigres.

The Mexican champions eventually won the match 2-1 to claim the semifinal 4-1 on aggregate.

Shea had just returned to the lineup after serving a one-game MLS suspension for swearing at the referee in Vancouver’s 2-0 home loss to Toronto FC on March 18.

His prolonged absence leaves the Whitecaps (1-2-1) with a selection crisis in attack ahead of Saturday’s Major League Soccer game at Real Salt Lake (0-3-2).

Erik Hurtado (foot contusion) and Yordy Reyna (broken foot) are already on the shelf, while Fredy Montero, who was coming off a slight hamstring problem, played 90 minutes against Tigres.

Alphonso Davies subbed on for Shea following the injury after also playing 90 minutes against the Los Angeles Galaxy last weekend, while Christian Bolanos and Cristian Techera have played 180 minutes over the last two games.

When considering the injuries and fatigue, Robinson will likely be forced to go with a lineup on Saturday that includes Nicolas Mezquida, veteran Mauro Rosales and Kyle Greig, a 27-year-old who played the last four seasons in the second-tier USL and could make the his first MLS appearance of his career.

“We’re a group, we’re a team. Other players will get the chance to step up,” said Robinson. “We’ve dealt with a lot of injuries in the early part of the season unfortunately, but every team will go through it at some stage.”

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press