With depth on defense, FCD deal Pearce to Chivas USA

Defender departs with surreal moment after preseason scrimmage

FRISCO, Texas--- Not long after FC Dallas put the finishing touches on a 4-1 win over Houston Baptist on Tuesday morning, there was a truly surreal scene on the practice field adjoining Pizza Hut Park.

That’s when FCD defender Heath Pearce casually strolled out and began informing his teammates that he had been traded to Chivas USA. The several media members assembled on the sidelines at first thought Pearce, one of the bigger jokers on the Dallas roster, might be doing a bit, but it quickly became apparent that the US national team veteran was indeed headed out of town.

FCD Head coach Schellas Hyndman offered a quick explanation for the deal, which ends Pearce’s 34-game stint with FC Dallas over the course of the 2009-10 seasons. FC Dallas received allocation money in the deal.

“It was really [about] flexibility with roster and roster spots. These are the tough things that we do,” Hyndman said. “Sometimes they don’t like it but at the same time, we try to make the team a better team.”

FCD currently carry six realistic starting defenders heading into 2011, including Brazilian handyman Jackson and MLS SuperDraft selection Bobby Warshaw. Jackson took Pearce’s place in the postseason last year and played well, and Zach Loyd emerged as a promising and reliable defender for the future, even earning his first US cap against Chile in January.

Chivas USA had first inquired about acquiring Pearce several days ago, so the entire deal went from the early stages to fruition in a matter of about two days, according to Hyndman.

Pearce, a 26-year-old defender and US national team regular, joined FCD in 2009 and started 32 matches, mostly seeing time at right back. He had seven assists, including six last season.

In 2010, he played in 28 games for FCD, including 27 starts. However, he didn’t play a single game during the club’s run to the MLS Cup final last November after injuring a hamstring due to what was eventually deemed overtraining.

Not having Pearce available for the postseason never sat well with Hyndman, and the veteran defender had also missed his share of practices early in the preseason.

“The season didn’t end as well as I wanted it to for myself,” Pearce told MLSsoccer.com in January. “I had the injury, and nobody wants to be injured. [But] I’m proud of the way the team carried themselves throughout the whole playoffs. I’m real happy to have been part of that even though I wasn’t playing.”