PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 19: Midfielder Ricardo Clark of USA pulls the goal during training session at Pilditch Stadium on June 19, 2010 in Pretoria, South Africa. The USA will play their next World Cup Group C match against Algeria at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, on Wednesday June, 23, 2010, (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Ricardo Clark is rejoining the red hot Houston Dynamo, making them one of the favorites to win MLS Cup.
Three years ago, Ricardo Clark left the Houston Dynamo for Europe and a sojourn that included Eintracht Frankfurt, Stabaek, but after limited success abroad he is returning to MLS and his former club. The midfielder signed with the Dynamo on Wednesday, filling a large hole in the team left by Geoff Cameron, who was sold to Stoke City.
Clark was released by Frankfurt earlier this summer and for weeks has been pegged to rejoin the Dynamo, but the team had to wait for Cameron's UK work permit to be approved so he could officially make the move to England and clear up the cap space necessary to sign Clark. On Wednesday, that work permit was approved and almost immediately Clark and Houston finalized his homecoming.
"We’re happy to see Ricardo back on our team," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. "He’s been a great player for us in the past and will be a great player when he returns. In my opinion, he’s one of the better midfielders in the league and the country. Because of that, he is a great addition to the Dynamo."
Those whose memory of Clark is his national team performance since 2009 might scoff at Kinnear's statement, but it is completely true. Clark gives the ball away too much and in awful places for the U.S., which we saw at the World Cup, and can get caught out of position at the international level, but in MLS he was one of the best in the league. His giveaways don't hurt as much and he can recover when he is out of position, which is why he was a two-time MLS Cup winner with the Dynamo and a Best XI selection.
In Clark, the Dynamo have an excellent MLS midfielder. He will win the ball back for them and his range is extraordinary, which is hugely important for a team that lacks pace at the back. Clark is also a perfect replacement for Cameron, who was being moved back into the midfield before his sale so Clark can slide ride into the place that Cameron vacated and not displace anyone.
This move only strengthens what is already MLS's hottest team. The Dynamo are undefeated at BBVA Compass Stadium, have won five straight and haven't lost a match since June 23rd. It's a run that has propelled them to the top of the Eastern Conference and now they add Clark to the mix, making them a favorite to win their first MLS Cup since 2007.