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Heath Pearce Selected by Orlando City SC

Pearce taken by Orlando in the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The MLS Expansion Draft has come and gone and the Montreal Impact have lost central defender / left back, Heath Pearce. He was selected by Orlando City SC in the seventh round. Pearce joined the Impact during its Orlando pre-season camp on a trial basis.

Initially perceived as a good backup or a depth player, that perception went out of the window as the 30-year old MLS veteran went on to log 1,822 minutes, 23 MLS games (20 starts) in 2014. Montreal should get allocation money in return for losing Pearce in the Expansion Draft.

For some fans, he will not be missed. Many may just remember that dreadful 89th minute miscue between Pearce and Troy Perkins that cost the Impact points at home to visiting Sporting Kansas City. For some reason it seemed that many fans had less appreciation for him than they did for the likes of guys like Ferrari and Camara. A year after making the playoffs, the team sure struggled in all aspects of the game ,finishing dead last in the 19-team league. It's well known that the team lost a ton of leadership on and off the field 2 years ago with the departure of the legendary Alessandro Nesta. Now with Heath Pearce and Matteo Ferrari gone that void will be magnified even more.

It was clear that Frank Klopas preferred the duo of Pearce and Ferrari. Management clearly has their work cut out for them in finding replacements. We heard all season long about how the defence was getting old, now with the departure of Pearce the back line has an average age of 24.

Leadership on defence now fall on the shoulders of 30 year old Hassoun Camara. He can log a ton of minutes, but he will need to be much more disciplined (11 yellow cards in 2014). Academy grads, Ouimette and Wandrille Lefevre have shown some promise, but the question is can they take their games to the next level and be solid defenders in the league?

Only time will tell. Pearce may not have come with the experience of guys like Ferrari and Nesta, but he was a leader on this team. It was talked about at length that the team needed more leadership. They have addressed that in part by adding veterans Marco Donadel and Nigel Reo-Coker in the midfield. It remains to be seen how the Impact will look to replace him.

Orlando:

Donovan Ricketts (Portland)
Tony Cascio (Colorado)
Jalil Anibaba (Seattle)
Pedro Ribeiro (Philadelphia)
Lewis Neal (DCU)
Jairo Arrieta (Columbus)
Health Pearce (Montreal)
Danny Mwanga (Colorado)
Mark Sherrod (Houston)
Eric Gehrig (Columbus)

New York City FC:

Ned Grabavoy (RSL)
Patrick Mullins (New England)
Jason Hernandez (San Jose)
Daniel Lovitz (Toronto)
Tony Taylor (New England)
Mehdi Ballouchy (Vancouver)
George John (FC Dallas)
Tommy McNamara (DCU)
Sal Zizzo (SKC)
Chris Wingert (RSL)