Heath Pearce had no clue his time with Chivas USA might be nearing its end, not until he was called into Fraser's office Thursday morning and given the news.
The veteran defender, a U.S. national team pool player who served the Goats so well the past season plus two months and a third, was sent to the New York Red Bulls in exchange for forward Juan Agudelo, just 19 and already a rising U.S. national team star.
It was a brilliant trade for Chivas, even if they had to surrender allocation money -- more than the minimum $75,000, Red Bulls GM Erik Soler has intimated -- and pay part of Pearce's salary this season.
Agudelo has superstar potential but needs playing time, and he wasn't getting it with New York. The Goats need goals, and that's one of Agudelo's specialties. Chivas also picked up veteran defender Danny Califf from Philadelphia, for winger Michael Lahoud, to fill the hole Pearce leaves.
Pearce, who came to Chivas in a preseason trade last year from FC Dallas, is a boon for the Red Bulls, whose ailing backline has been troublesome even as they've put together a four-game winning streak that included three shutouts. That didn't make the news any less stunning.
“If it was sudden from your perspective, it was more sudden from mine,” Pearce told media in New Jersey following the Red Bulls' training session Friday. “I had no idea. It was kind of out of left field, but I’m excited for the opportunity, obviously, to be traded to a team like New York Red Bulls that have so much tradition here and demand and pressure to get results. I like that environment.”
He had kind words for Chivas.
“Obviously, on a success level, we didn’t achieve the playoffs last year, but the principles that they’re instilling into the club there are good principles,” he said. “It was an honor to represent Chivas while I was there, but now my focus is here. There’s no time to sit and think about what my time was like there.”
WORTH NOTING: Chivas GM Jose Domene missed the excitement around HDC as the trades came through Thursday, but he's not complaining. His wife, Sandra, was giving birth to the couple's third child, a girl they named Regina. She joins sister Eva and brother Jose Jr. ... Left back Ante Jazic was called into Canada's national team for its friendly against the U.S. and first two semifinal-round qualifiers for the World Cup, June 8 against Cuba in Havana and June 13 against Honduras in Toronto. He'll leave after next weekend's game at HDC against Seattle and return before the following league game, June 16 against Real Salt Lake. He'll miss the the Goats' U.S. Open Cup opener and possibly a fourth-round game a week later. “I'm just honored to be part of the group, to contribute any way I can,” said Jazic, 36, who has 29 caps for Canada. “Hopefully I get on the field, but if not, just bring some experience to the group and see what we can do.” ... Lahoud's departure arrived three days before his “Bowling With Mike & Friends” fund-raiser Sunday at Lucky Strike in Torrance for “Schools For Salone,” a charity Lahoud is involved with that rebuilds schools destroyed in his native Sierra Leone's 10-year civil war, which ended a decade ago. The bowling event will go on, but Lahoud will have to miss it.