Report: Red Bulls Heath Pearce out with season-ending surgery

(Image, New York Red Bulls website)

New York Red Bulls’ defender Heath Pearce has been under heavy scrutiny the entire season amongst the team’s fans and media alike for an unusual dip in form.

As it turns out, the one-time American international has been playing hurt for quite a stretch.

According to SBI, Pearce, 28, underwent an MRI Friday morning and is now preparing to undergo season-ending hip surgery to repair a labral tear that has been hampering his play for the better part of two years. Pearce has been with the Red Bulls since May of 2012 where he arrived to the team in exchange for U.S. forward prospect Juan Agudelo.

The surgery requires a six-month recovery time frame which effectively ends his 2013 season.

Pearce, a career fullback, came to New York from Chivas USA where he had suddenly moved towards the less-mobile centerback position. He excelled for the Goats and played a vital part next to Markus Holgersson in the run-up to the Red Bulls 2012 playoffs, but the switch to the interior defense after his standout play at fullback was always a source of confusion amongst soccer pundits.

While he has underperformed this season, his loss is still a devastating one for New York. Jamison Olave, while a leader and perhaps the most vital part of the Red Bulls defensive line, remains a liability due to his recent accumulation of injuries. And while he has experienced a resurgence in play, Roy Miller is also suspect at the left back position.

A healthy Heath Pearce always meant New York would have a quality option off the bench in case either of those starters faltered. They now look towards recent Academy signing Matt Miazga and centerback Digao to provide cushioning in the back.

Meanwhile, veteran Ugandan defender Ibrahim Sekagya continues to trial with the team.

  • Dave, would you agree that Sekagya, who apparently is an “all-purpose” experienced back 4 player, would fit the bill if the rules allow, to solve this problem? So the rotating back 4 would come from among Miller, Olave, Holgy, Kimura and the Ugandan if he were able to come on board, and start “blooding” Miazga in a game or three?

  • Dan in New York

    Is it too late to bring Stephen Keel back?

  • ThierryHenryNOT

    I have returned to being our most handsome active player.

  • Yikes – get well soon!

    Does he go on injured reserve? How is this handled with his salary?
    I think half his salary is still being paid by Chivas but what about the substantial other half 150K or so?

  • Gruff and Manly Bob

    first, this means he had the injury BEFORE RBNY signed him. How did RBNY allow that to happen, especially w/ such a high cap hit? second, I find it pretty lame for people to be shitting all over him when he’s obviously been playing hurt.

  • zach plumb

    Show some love for our Keeper Luis Robles by texting “Robles” to 22442 an unlimited amount of times until July 2. You can also vote online at
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/all-star/2013/vote