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Wednesday, August 31, 2011
CHIVAS USA: Pearce out 4 to 6, maybe less

By Scott French

CARSON -- It's the “best of bad news,” says Heath Pearce, who is expected to miss four to six weeks for Chivas USA after an MRI earlier this week found the expected tear in his right hamstring.
Pearce, who was hurt in the Goats' loss Saturday night to Real Salt Lake, says he has a different timeline.

“They say four to six for the average person, but I'm not the average person,” the team's backline leader said following Wednesday's training session at Home Depot Center. “So I'm aiming for three to four.”

The injury a grade 1 hamstring pull, and the MRI found no correlation to a significant “bordering grade 3” hamstring injury that ended Pearce's season last year at FC Dallas.

“It's a light one. It's not extreme in any sense,” Pearce said. “There's not a lot of bruising -- actually, there's no bruising. There's no defects in the muscle that they felt for. ... It's the lowest level of tear on the spectrum.”

Chivas has added depth in central defense after signing David Junior Lopes earlier this month, but Pearce had played every minute this season before exiting Saturday in the 61st minute after “cutting kind of gently to my left and [feeling] a pop in my hamstring.”

The Goats are desperate for points as they battle for a playoff berth, and Pearce could miss as many as five games, including two crucial meetings with D.C. United and must-win encounters at Chicago and against Toronto FC. He'd like to be back in time for the second D.C. game, on Sept. 21 in Washington.

“Generally, it's four to six,” Pearce said. “I like to think with our activity levels and between the staff and myself and how I feel my body recovers, I think it should be on the shorter side. Four, if not three.”

Head coach Robin Fraser says “that's the attitude you want to have an athlete to have” and that he “hopes it won't be a long-, long-term thing, but hamstrings are finicky, so we'll just keep watching him and keep our fingers crossed a bit.”

A TIME TO REST: Saturday's scheduled MLS Reserve League game against Vancouver has been pushed back to mid-October, so the team will have Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. How big is that?

“It's huge,” Fraser said. “You think about the last month or six weeks and the amount of travel we've been doing, certainly toward the end of the Real Salt Lake game I thought we physically fatigued a bit. It's been a grueling last six weeks. Having the weekend off allos us to take some time off, let the guys heal.

They have a lot of guys healing, too. In addition to Pearce, Zarek Valentin is working on a quad injury -- he's training fully and is expected to be available for the Sept. 10 game against D.C. United -- and midfielder Paulo Nagamura (broken foot) and defender Michael Lahoud (sprained ankle) are out, too.

The list is swelling. This week's additions, all officially “probable,” are goalkeeper Dan Kennedy (groin strain) and midfielders Simon Elliott (quad strain) and Laurent Courtois (knee strain). All trained Wednesday.

WORTH NOTING: Lahoud's injury forced him to turn down an invitation to join Sierra Leone's national team for its crucial African Cup of Nations qualifier Saturday against Egypt. Lahoud was born in Sierra Leone and moved with his family to Virginia when he was 4. Sporting Kansas City's Kei Kamara (Lawndale/Leuzinger HS and Cal State Dominguez Hills) is a Sierra Leone national-teamer. ... Dan Calichman, the Galaxy's first captain and Fraser's and assistant coach Greg Vanney's backline partner with L.A., visited training Wednesday. Calichman guided Claremont-Mudd-Scripps to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title and a berth in the NCAA Division III men's tournament last fall, and he was U.S. Soccer Development Academy's U-17/18 Western Conference Coach of the Year last season at Cosmos Academy West, which earlier this month was integrated into Chivas' academy program.