Montreal Impact Lose One, Add One On MLS Draft Day


The Montreal Impact lost defender Heath Pearce in the MLS Expansion Draft to Orlando City SC and added midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker in the MLS Waiver Draft.

Reo-Coker, 30 years old, has over 200 games experience in the English Premier League with West Ham United, Aston Villa and Bolton and served as captain as each of those teams.

He spent last year with Vancouver and Chivas USA after being traded midway through the season. He played 21 games, making 17 starts for the two teams.

More from La Métropole Sports

“He fits the profile we were looking for in a midfielder,” said Impact head coach and director of player personnel Frank Klopas. “He has strong leadership qualities and his addition will be positive for the group.”

In his first MLS season in 2013, Reo-Coker played 32 games and was not substituted in 31 of those games with Vancouver.

Reo-Coker had two assists last season, so he can’t be expected to drive offence, but adds a veteran presence to a midfield that should be pretty solid including Ignacio Piatti, Felipe, Calum Mallace, Dilly Duka, Issey Nakajima-Ferran, Justin Mapp and presumably captain Patrice Bernier among others.

Obviously, a good number on that list play a more offensive role, meaning that Reo-Coker can fit in to the holding midfielder role as a more long-term solution than the 35-year-old Bernier. Bernier, by the way is still without a contract.

Heath Pearce was one of the most notable Impact players left unprotected in the draft along with Issey Nakajima-Ferran. The reason that Pearce was taken is the same as why he played so often last year for the Impact.

He’s a veteran who is reliable in his own end and won’t look completely out of place. He is a perfect fit for an expansion team looking for depth, or a team in transition as the Impact were last year.

If the Impact want to take the next step, then Pearce shouldn’t fit in their plans. It would make more sense to play a young player to gain experience than it would to play Pearce. And, if you’re looking to make a playoff run as the Impact are, you need to find someone better.

All in all, a pretty good day for the Impact, who are continuing to tinker with a lineup that has some talent but there are still some holes to fill.