Impact goalie Perkins peeved at last-place ranking on MLS website
Montreal Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins makes a diving attempt on a shot that went wide in the first half against the Houston Dynamo during a knockout-round match in the MLS Cup soccer playoffs, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, in Houston. (AP / Bob Levey)
Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, March 4, 2014 6:18PM EST
MONTREAL -- Goalkeeper Troy Perkins feels the Montreal Impact isn't getting any respect from Major League Soccer.
Perkins was peeved to see the club rated last in the 19-team circuit in pre-season power rankings on the MLS website.
"I think if we won the league and the Cup we'd still be looked down upon," Perkins said Tuesday. "We always feel we have something to prove.
"For the league to put us at the bottom of that list is a bit of a slap in the face, but you know what? I'll take it every day. If that's the way they think about us, then we'll show them."
The www.mlssoccer.com website ranked Kansas City first, followed by Portland, Los Angeles, Salt Lake and New York.
The only Canadian side it's panel of experts sees making the playoffs is the 10th-ranked Vancouver Whitecaps. Toronto FC, despite some impressive signings, is rated 14th.
"It's a lack of respect for this club and for Canadian clubs even bigger," said Perkins. "All three clubs in Canada have a lot to prove and they need to come a long way to earn respect, while for a club in the United States, it's kind of granted success and respect from the get-go."
Impact captain Patrice Bernier said the team was ranked near the bottom going into last season, but ended up at the top for several weeks as it surged to first place in the first half of the season, before crashing to fifth in the Eastern Conference.
"Someone has to put something on the website, but it's the 34 (regular season) games that will decide were we finish," he said.
Those who do the rankings see the Impact as an aging squad with big question marks on the central defence, which lost Italian star Alessandro Nesta to retirement, and on attack, where 37-year-old Marco Di Vaio will miss the first three games from a suspension.
The Impact also made few changes from last year's roster, other than signing 21-year-old Uruguayan forward Santiago Gonzalez.
But that may change soon if management can agree on a contact with former New York Red Bulls and U.S. international defender Heath Pearce.
The 29-year-old Pearce, who is coming off hip surgery, joined the team at training camp in Orlando, Fla., and returned with them as camp shifted back to Montreal. He hopes to have a contract signed soon and expects to be fit to play a full match within two or three weeks.
"He's an experienced player," said coach Frank Klopas. "It's just a matter of seeing how he is health-wise.
"He had a good camp. He's a quality player who knows the league well and brings a lot of international experience."
Pearce played two years in Denmark and another two in Germany before joining MLS in 2009 with Dallas. He also played for Chivas USA before moving to New York in 2012. The Red Bulls released him after last season.
He has earned 35 caps with the U.S. national team, but has been overlooked by selectors in recent years.
"I look at it as a good opportunity for us," said Klopas. "Other teams wanted to bring him in.
"We had a relationship with him and it could wind up being a steal if his health is fine -- and there are no issues so far. He's improving every day."
The Modesto, Calif., native said he played the last two seasons with the injury, but finally opted for surgery in July to repair a torn labrum in his hip.
"They went in and stitched the labrum up and there was an impingement, so they shaved the bone down," said Pearce. "I don't know if it's necessarily a major surgery.
"My surgeon has a 95 per cent success rate of getting his athletes back. I haven't had any setbacks from it and I felt I've had a pretty speedy and efficient recovery."
If he signs, he will bring much needed depth to the back line, where centre back Nelson Rivas is injured and Adrian Lopez won't return until April after knee surgery.
Pearce is mainly a left back, but can also play in the centre.
"It's been a long process to get back healthy," he said. "I feel fully fit and now I'm just leaving the business side to the businessmen and try to take care of what I do, which is train well and perform well
"When we get this done I can contribute any way I'm asked."
He had other offers but chose the Impact because he likes Klopas, the former Chicago Fire coach who replaced Marco Schallibaum in Montreal this season, and because he felt it was a good fit for him.
The Impact open the regular season Saturday in Dallas and will stay in Texas to play the following week in Houston.
The team has sold 20,000 tickets so far for its home opener March 22 at Olympic Stadium.