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Ricardo Clark back to Houston? It could really happen

Ricardo Clark

United States’ Ricardo Clark (15) prepares to head the game-winner against Venezuela in the second half of a friendly soccer match Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. United States defeated Venezuela 1-0.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Let’s all hope Ricardo Clark remembers that Houston doesn’t play at Robertson Stadium anymore. Otherwise, he’s going to be late for his first game – and that would be a lesser fortunate way to begin his second go-round with the Orange.

That’s my way of saying, this thing could really happen.

Perhaps you’ve heard that Clark, who made his MLS bones in South Texas, has been released form Eintracht Frankfurt. So the natural assumption is that he would head back to his previous MLS address. Houston does, in fact, look like a place where the former U.S. international could re-crank his stalled career.

As we know, so many of these transfer-time “natural assumptions” are just flat-out wrong.

Not in this case. There isreason aplenty to believe this little trolley of transfer talk has some wind behind it. Let’s go to the bullets:

  • Start with the fact that Houston retains his MLS rights, which means Clark wouldn’t go through the allocation process. The Dynamo made a bona fide offer to Clark before he left for Germany in 2009; thus, the 29-year-old midfielder’s rights are held at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • He likes Houston. They like him back. Talking to people in MLS offices, I’m told that Clark is quite interested in an H-Town redux and has passed that word accordingly. The question is, at what salary price? If he’s seeking DP dollars, he might be disappointed; Holding midfielders don’t typically get there in MLS.
  • Assuming Geoff Cameron moves – and the big center back’s transfer to Stoke City inches ever closer every day – the Dynamo will have a hole in midfield/defense and a fair amount of salary cap wiggle room. Cameron is on the books for $250,000 guaranteed this year.

(Actually, Jermaine Taylor has been more than adequate as Cameron’s replacement at center back. And Adam Moffat is a capable holding midfielder. So, perhaps “hole” is too strong a word. But any club can always “upgrade,” and Clark probably qualifies – assuming he hasn’t lost all confidence in an Eintracht excursion that went painfully sideways.)

  • As stated, Clark desperately needs that career reboot. For whatever reason, things just never took flight in Frankfurt. The German club loaned Clark to Norway’s Stabæk in the spring than released him outright this summer. Houston is a place where he’s already comfortable, a spot where he could quickly rediscover any lost confidence.

Clark has slipped and slipped in the U.S. pecking order, nearly plum off the national team radar. The pile-up of central midfielders now in front of Clark on the U.S. depth chart represents an increasingly impressive list.

Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear has stated that any MLS club would be foolish not to look at Clark. So, again, it’s really about the salary asking price. And, of course, about whether Cameron makes the big jump, which would throw this opportunity wide open.