Chivas...more USA than you would think: Heath Pearce, Part 3...
Up first was Honduras at the Home Depot Center. If not for a Jimmy Conrad red card early on, the match might have had a different outcome. However, 10 vs. 11 (while unfortunate) gives the coach a chance see how players deal with added pressure. And while not a starter, Pearce did come in during the second half. But with the US down 3-0, and Honduras content with the result, there was not much to do on defense.
A month later against El Salvador though, Pearce played the entire match at left back and was very active on offense. Setting up players throughout the course of the match, his precise cross in the 75th minute found Brian Ching for the equalizer (the US was down 1-0). His efforts on the day earned him a trip to Holland the following week with the 1st team to take on the Netherlands. However he only came on in the last 20 minutes with the US down 2-0 (the US would lose 2-1). While his play during the MLS regular season got him on the 30-man preliminary roster for the World Cup, he was one of the 7 dropped when the official 23-man roster was submitted to FIFA (interestingly enough two former Goats made the roster). A recall in October of last year saw him go 45 minutes in a scoreless draw vs. Colombia.
Advertisement With that, it seemed Pearce might have seen his last camp. But with a new coach for the US National team in Jürgen Klinsman looking for different ideas in defense, Pearce saw himself recalled to the fray for the first time in nearly a year. And while he didn’t get on to the field in the 1-1 draw vs. Mexico, he was able to display his abilities to the new coach first hand.
“I think if you asked every player here, they’d have an interest of playing for the national team,” stated Pearce on mlssoccer.com. “Obviously, Klinsman is an accomplished player and coach as well so he’ll be a great addition to US Soccer, and there is potential to do great things under him.”
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The following month saw the script flipped as the US travelled down to El Salvador for the next World Cup Qualifier. Where many had predicted a cakewalk for the US, they found themselves down 1-0, 15 minutes into the match. The US looked outplayed throughout long stretches of the match and would eventually go down 2-0 with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Advertisement Even though they were able to mount a comeback and finish at 2-2, the match itself had left a bad mark on the defensive line. Particularly on Peace, who was dropped from the starting lineup. While he did make the roster for that years Confederations Cup team, he did not see a second of action as the US went on to finish 2nd in the tournament.
With the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup though, Pearce was thrown a lifeline. Being scheduled to start only days after the end of the Confederations Cup, most of the US 1st team was given time off. As he was well rested to begin with, he was named to the roster for the tournament where he would participate in 5 out of 6 matches as a starter on route to the Final. Unfortunately, the Gold Cup Final was marred in a devastating 5-0 loss to Mexico. Pearce would go on to sit out the rest of the year.
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So far, Pearce has represented the USA 32 times. Credits: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images Chivas...more USA than you would think: Heath Pearce, Part 1...
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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My day with the Black Army by y2santos on Jul 31, 2011 5:49 PM PDT
This story relates to the events leading up to the Chivas USA vs. San Jose Earthquakes match from July 6th.
Arriving from a previous engagement in which the Sweden beat the United States to close out the 1st round of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup,lot 6 appeared to be a ghost town. Fortunately a dedicated supporter from Las Vegas had arrived earlier. And within a couple of minutes, flags andbanners had arrived. No sooner than they had arrived, it was off to the stadium to set up. A first, I was eager to help.
As the rolls of painters tape used to hold up the banners slowly turned into cardboard rings, the southeast corner of the Home Depot Center turned into the Black Army's home staging ground. Banners go a long way in supporters culture. They are the first impression of the group that the casuals at the stadium get when entering. Make it a good one, and they will remember it far after the match is over. The smaller individual banners spread about the corner can also tell the casuals a little bit about the members. From KISS to Bob Marley, and from Hope Solo, to the State of California, it's obvious that within this group there is an intense, yet relaxing outlook on life and soccer, as well as a high amount of civic and state pride.
No supporters section is complete until the flags are in place though. When it comes to flags, the Black Army carries quite the variety. From black/white and red/white pattern flags (some reminiscent of the Polish flag), California state flags, and flags from the American Revolution, there is a flag for nearly every occasion. None more so poignant than the US flag with Rainbow stripes that I found myself waiving for most of the second half.
Upon finishing, it was back out to lot 6 and await further arrivals. Little by little more and more of the Black Army arrived. By kickoff everyone who would be there, was there and ready to support the Goats. The match itself could have had a better 1st half, but considering the goals by Ben Zemanski and Nick LaBrocca in the 2nd half to end the match, it can be looked over.
With a motto of "Solamente Chivas USA", this strong and determined bunch, known as the Black Army has become a fixture at home matches and plans to figure into Chivas USA's plans for years to come.