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.