By ADAM SERRANO
FC Dallas full back Heath Pearce has been on the sidelines for much of FC Dallas' run to MLS Cup with a hamstring injury, but Pearce is still aiming to return to the field for Sunday's MLS Cup Final. After undergoing a number of fitness tests on Friday, Pearce was bullish about being ready to take the field against the Colorado Rapids.
“I don’t remember the last time I had to do so many sprints in one training session beside pre-season training, but it felt good," Pearce said. “The staff’s going to have to sit down and discuss my situation. Obviously I haven’t been training and there’ve been guys putting in the work in the last weeks so I can’t expect to be on the field or on the bench.”
Brazilian right back Jackson Goncalves has been starting at right back in Pearce’s place, though he has struggled at times to match Pearce's effectiveness and consistency. Pearce has been out since an Oct. 16th loss to Real Salt Lake. Four days before that, he played 90 minutes in the U.S. national team’s 0-0 tie against Colombia.
“I’m working my hardest to make it a difficult decision for the coach,” said Pearce, who I feel like I’ve been a significant factor, just like everybody who’s played this year and contributed. Like anybody else, I want to get on the field and be with the team. I feel I did well in the fitness test and right now it’s out of my hands.”
Whether FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman starts Pearce or not, it is looking like a safe bet that Pearce will see the field at some point in Sunday's final.
“I feel fit. Whether I can play 90 minutes is difficult to say because it’s difficult to replicate game-like situations or even training situations. The muscle feels good, and after today the fitness feels good.”
Who do you think Hyndman should start? Should he stick with Jackson, or bring in Pearce?
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