U.S. international left back Heath Pearce was recently demoted at club side Hansa Rostock, and is training with the reserves. Coach Andreas Zachhuber has explained the move is “for performance reasons.” That an international who is likely to play in the upcoming World Cup cannot get minutes at a 2. Bundesliga club will surely have Pearce's agent scrambling to find him a new club.
The 24-year-old spurned Major League Soccer clubs when he left college, choosing instead to try his luck in Denmark with FC Nordsjælland. After success in his 50 appearances there, Pearce moved to the German Bundesliga with Hansa. However, the club was relegated last year, and Pearce has seen his stock plummet, having appeared only three times since December, as Hansa fight to avoid suffering demotion to Germany's third tier.
Now could be the perfect time for Pearce to return home to the league he bypassed and use a stint in MLS to reinvigorate his career. Recent additions Bobby Convey, Cory Gibbs, Brian McBride, Kasey Keller, Robbie Russel, Gregg Berhalter, and Clint Mathis have shown that there is life after Europe.
Goal.com is here to break down which MLS clubs might be interested in a quality leftback and have the cap space to sign him.
1. FC Dallas: Sitting atop the allocation table, Dallas is in prime position to nab the next player who returns to MLS. With a grand total of one point out of four games, the team needs something--anything--to turn this season around. A serviceable leftback wouldn't go amiss for a team that has conceded eight goals in four matches.
2. Seattle Sounders FC: The expansion club has the right blend of open cap space and an available slot in the backline. Zach Scott has done well since his move up from USL-1, but is probably the weakest link in the lineup. Seattle is relatively far down the allocation table, but have a good bargaining chip in Jeff Parke. The team picked up his rights in the 2009 Expansion Draft, but the defender won't sign a new contract with MLS and is playing with the Vancouver Whitecaps. FC Dallas, atop the allocation table, may be willing to try its luck getting Parke to sign if the former New York Red Bull once again fails to land a European contract this summer.
3. Colorado Rapids: Perched quite high at number three in the allocation table, the Rapids are another team weak at the fullback area, and could use a little extra spark help them maintain their early season form and make the playoffs.
4. Kansas City Wizards: Management at KC has surrounded veterans Kevin Hartman and Jimmy Conrad with a slew of youngsters. Rookies and sophomores claim the other three defensive openings. Pearce wouldn't add a great deal to the overall age, as he's still 24, but he has loads of international experience that would certainly help in the pressure situations of the playoffs, if the team makes it that far.
5. New York Red Bulls: It's likely that New York won't need a leftback, if the signing of El Salvadorian international Alfredo Pacheco goes through. However, with that loan deal hitting a snag recently, Juan Carlos Osorio will not want to go through the season with Danleigh Borman as his first choice fullback in an already porous defense.
Zac Lee Rigg, Goal.com
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