GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 21: Ricardo Clark #15 of USA celebrates after scoring against Venezuela during the final moments of the friendly match at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 21, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. USA defeated Venezuela 1-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Things are looking up in Dynamo Nation these days. This weekend's win over Toronto FC extended the Dynamo's winning streak to four matches and has propelled Houston in to second place in the Eastern Conference, only one point out of first place behind the New York Red Bulls.
That little fact makes the next two weeks a pretty big deal. The Dynamo and Red Bulls play two matches against each other in a rare home and home series with the first match taking place Friday in Houston. The Dynamo are playing the best soccer of any team in the East at the moment, and a pair of nice results against New York could leave Houston sitting in first place as the season enters the playoff stretch.
There's still a long way to go until the season concludes with 12 league matches left and four CONCACAF Champions League matches (and the associated travel of course), so I'm certainly not advocating celebrating anything yet.
However, there's no doubt that this team is playing at a high level at the moment and has dealt with the departure of a certain defender/midfielder with relative ease. Boniek Garica's arrival and the formation change has breathed a new life of sorts in to the Dynamo and while they haven't abandoned their defensive roots, this is the most offensively exciting team we've seen in Houston since the two cup runs in 2006 and 2007.
The challenge ahead for Kinnear is to keep the team rolling along and deal with the challenges that are about to be presented by the CCL. Fortunately, it appears there's some more help on the way.
The Chronicle is reporting that US international midfielder and former Dynamo player Ricardo Clark will rejoin the team pending the approval of his international transfer certificate. Clark was an integral part of the two championship teams and is a skilled, hard nosed player that can beef up the Dynamo midfield. There's no question he'll have a lot to prove considering his struggles since going overseas in 2009.
How soon Clark can begin playing will hinge on Cameron's work permit being approved, since the Dynamo can't technically remove his salary from the books until the transfer becomes officially official. Fortunately, the Dynamo have a fairly light schedule between now and when the CCL begins on August 30th, so there will be time to get Clark in training and see what he can offer the team.
There's a great deal of understandable trepidation about Clark, but I'll counter with one thought. The Dynamo haven't gotten every signing right, no team does. Considering how well things are going at the moment, Kinnear is not about to just bring in a new player on a whim. Dom knows what Clark is capable of and I'm pretty confident that he'll come in to Houston with something to prove. A motivated and fired up Ricardo Clark could be a hell of an addition to this team.
Bottom line, I like this proposed move. I think it's going to make the team better and bolster their chances of making another run at the MLS Cup come November.