U.S. national team defender and standout FC Dallas fullback Heath Pearce has been a spectator for his club’s run to MLS Cup due to a hamstring injury, but Pearce sounded confident about playing in Sunday’s MLS Cup Final after undergoing fitness tests on Friday.
“I don’t remember the last time I had to do so many sprints in one training session beside pre-season training, but it felt good,” said Pearce.
“The staff’s going to have to sit down and discuss my situation. Obviously I haven’t been training and there’ve been guys putting in the work in the last weeks so I can’t expect to be on the field or on the bench.”
“I’m working my hardest to make it a difficult decision for the coach,” said Pearce.
"I feel like I’ve been a significant factor, just like everybody who’s played this year and contributed. Like anybody else, I want to get on the field and be with the team. I feel I did well in the fitness test and right now it’s out of my hands.”
FC Dallas has been using Brazilian right back Jackson Golcaves at right back in Pearce’s place, and while he has brought speed to the position, he has not brought Pearce’s stability and ability to provide quality crosses from the right flank.
Pearce has been sidelined since an Oct. 16th loss to Real Salt Lake, a match that came just four days after he played 90 minutes in the U.S. national team’s scoreless tie against Colombia. Goncalves has started all four FC Dallas matches since.
Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman could be tempted to start Pearce in order to attack Colorado’s left flank, which could be considered the weaker wing for the Rapids, but given Pearce’s uncertain fitness status (He hasn’t played since an Oct. 16th loss to Real Salt Lake) Hyndman could choose to bring Pearce in off the bench.
“I feel fit. Whether I can play 90 minutes is difficult to say because it’s difficult to replicate game-like situations or even training situations. The muscle feels good, and after today the fitness feels good.”
Ives Galarcep is a senior writer for FoxSoccer.com covering Major League Soccer and the U.S. national team.