The Red Bulls announced via the team's official website on Friday that Pearce will miss the 2012 Major League Soccer All-Star Game, which will take place on July 25 (Wednesday) in Philadelphia, because of a hamstring injury. Ben Olsen, who will be coaching the MLS All-Stars when they take on Chelsea, has selected San Jose Earthquakes defender Justin Morrow as Pearce's replacement. Multiple sources are reporting that Pearce could return to the New York starting lineup next weekend.
The Red Bulls traded young forward Juan Agudelo for Pearce back in mid-May in order to stabilize and boost what has, throughout the 2012 season, been a shaky back line. Pearce immediately impressed upon joining the New York starting eleven, but he picked up the previously mentioned hamstring injury at the start of July. He has missed the team's last three MLS matches, including last Wednesday's game against the Chicago Fire. Pearce will not play this Saturday when the Red Bulls host the Philadelphia Union.
I view all midseason all-star games in somewhat of a weird way. They are, in my opinion, nothing but a waste of time, not to mention just another opportunity for a star player to needlessly pick up an injury. My first thought upon seeing Friday's announcement that Pearce will be missing the MLS All-Star Game was that I was happy knowing that he will have an opportunity to rest and be 100 percent for meaningful regular season games.
It should be noted that the 2012 MLS All-Star Game is a touchy subject for this New York fan. Including the July 31 home friendly against Tottenham Hotspur, the Red Bulls will play seven total matches between July 8 and August 3. Saturday's game against Philly will be New York's third afternoon summer game played this week. Quite honestly, I'd prefer if every RBNY player, Pearce and team captain Thierry Henry included, had a full week of rest after Saturday afternoon.
With all of that said, I also want to see my favorite team's players voted into these all-star games. For example, I was very surprised and even a bit angry that Dax McCarty was not included in the league's list of potential all-stars. McCarty has, in my eyes, been the best CDM in the league this season, a no-brainer pick for the 2012 MLS All-Star team.
I understand that athletes are honored to participate in these events. The 2012 Red Bulls are currently true title contenders, just one point behind Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City in the standings. Truth be told, I wouldn't be heartbroken if the RBNY-Tottenham game didn't happen because of some type of weather-related cancellation; and I'm a Spurs fan who has tickets for that match. Here's hoping that Pearce and all other injured RBNY players get healthy before the final stretch of the campaign starts.