- By John Santos, Chivas USA Examiner
Heath Pearce is no stranger to the US National team. Having made his debut in late 2005, Pearce made a push to be included in the 2006 FIFA World Cup team. Despite 5 caps in the lead up, the Modesto, California native would not be chosen by then Coach Bruce Arena to go to Germany. However, when Bob Bradley became the man in charge of the US National team in 2007, he looked to Heath Pearce to fill in at Left Back. While he featured briefly in Bob Bradley’s first match (which also featured Jonathan Bornstein scoring his first international goal, and Jimmy Conrad as team captain) his first real test on defense would come later in the summer. No, Pearce didn’t make the Gold Cup team, but rather the 2007 CONMEBOL Copa America team. While the team went 3 and out (along with Sacha Kljestan) Pearce got the start in the final group match vs. Colombia going the full 90. From there on, Pearce earned 3 more caps (vs. Brazil, Switzerland and South Africa) to finish out the year. With 10 caps under his belt as 2007 came to a close, a ride full of peaks and valleys awaited as the road to the 2010 FIFA World Cup began the following year.
Advertisement 2008 began with a March trip to Poland. Looking to solidify his spot on the team, Pearce went 85 minutes in a 3-0 shutout over the hosts. Having earned another opportunity to display his skills, he started and went the distance at famed Wembley Stadium vs. England. The outing didn’t go as planned as the US was played off the field in a 2-0 loss. A few days later, Pearce once again suited up for the length of the match as the US lost to Spain 1-0 on a late goal by Xavi. By week’s end, the US found itself going up against Argentina (who was ranked #1 in the world at the time). While Pearce didn’t go all the way, his 78 minutes on the field helped keep the Albiceleste at bay for a 0-0 draw. As the match concluded, so too did final preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign that would start the following week. Would he make the cut and go on that journey?
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