Juan Agudelo's time with the New York Red Bulls is done. Heath Pearce's chance is about to begin.
The Red Bulls sent the emerging star forward to Chivas USA on Thursday for the All-Star defender in the first blockbuster trade of the young season.
The 19-year-old Agudelo, a Red Bulls Academy product, has seen action in just four matches for New York this year after recently returning from knee surgery. He bolsters a Chivas USA attack that has scored a league-low six goals in 2012.
WATCH: Agudelo's goals for New York
The Colombian-born New Jersey native has six career MLS goals in a Red Bulls uniform, all of them coming in 2011, when he started in 12 of his 27 appearances. But he battled for playing time last year against Luke Rodgers and this year against Kenny Cooper, while Thierry Henry serves as the team's incumbent top threat up top when healthy.
“To obtain someone of Heath’s pedigree and gain substantial financial considerations, we had to trade Juan – an exciting player with potential,” Red Bulls sporting Erik Soler added. “In our discussions with Juan, he voiced that he wanted to have more time playing first team soccer and even explore the option of moving to another team. We wanted to help him achieve this goal and further develop his career. It has been rewarding to watch Juan develop both as a player and a person within our Academy and First Team and we think that playing for Chivas USA will be a great new opportunity for his career. We wish him the best of luck in the future.”
Agudelo, who made his breakthrough with the US national team under Bob Bradley, has 15 caps and two goals for the team. He was involved in head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's January camp alongside Pearce, who reached 35 career caps for the US with appearances against Venezuela and Panama at the conclusion of that camp.
It's the second trade of Pearce's short MLS career, with Chivas USA acquiring him from FC Dallas after the 2010 season. He started all 10 matches for Chivas this season after appearing in 30 games for the club in 2011 and earning a spot on the MLS All-Star team. Agudelo also earned a spot on the All-Star team via one of two picks made by MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
“I am certainly excited to have Juan Agudelo joining our team, he’s a dynamic young forward who has an incredible future ahead of him. The caveat is you have to give up an asset to get an asset, so in order to get a player like Juan you have to give up a very good player like Heath,” Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser said in a statement. “So we are sad to see him go but this is part of the business. I want to thank Heath for all he´s done for us in his time here and we wish him the best.”
Pearce joined MLS in September 2009 after he played for both Danish side FC Nordsjælland and German club FC Hansa Rostock.
Agudelo and Pearce will get the chance to face their former clubs on Wednesday, May 23, when the Red Bulls host Chivas USA at Red Bull Arena in the teams' only matchup of the season.