First things first. Thank you Brian Mullan for the past four seasons, thank you for your relentless attitude, your tenacity, for being a fantastic person. You will be missed and you will be remembered by Dynamo fans.
With that out of the way, it's time to tell it how it is: This was an excellent trade and a necessary trade. Rumors have been swirling around Mullan since the off season and he was always one of the players who you expected would be leaving after the close of this disappointing 2010 campaign. Mullan's impact on the salary cap was sizable, around $200,000, and the one thing the Dynamo are going to need going in to 2011 is cap space.
Getting Colin Clarke and $100,000 in allocation funds from the Colorado Rapids for Brian Mullan is a fantastic piece of business by Chris Canetti & Company. The Dynamo have replaced a hard working, tenacious wing player with a younger hard working, tenacious wing player. Granted Clark has tore the same ACL in his knee twice in the past two years, but the Dynamo doctors apparently felt that he will be able to recover fully and be ready to play next season.
Don't forget, if this medical/training team can get Richard Mulrooney on the field and able to play, Colin Clark's knee should be a piece of cake.
Even if Clark was never able to take the field again (which I certainly don't want to happen) this trade is still a great move by Houston thanks to the allocation money. Clark is the kind of player that could thrive in Dominic Kinnear's system and with Dom's ability to help players find a new level, I can't help but be excited about having Clark on the roster.
Of course we have to at least consider the possibility that Clark might not recover from two ACL injuries. Obviously, we all hope he is able to play for the Dynamo and contribute but the Dynamo are in the position where they can get away with taking the risk involved with this trade. The team has enough depth in the midfield to allow for all necessary recovery time and should Clark not work out, that's more salary cap space to work with.
I asked Craig de Aragon, a colleague of mine who covers the Rapids, to share his thoughts on Colin Clark:
Colorado native Colin Clark quickly became a fan favorite here in Denver because of his aggressive runs, sharp left foot and good looks. Once he found his way into the starting 11, he made left wing positions his.
His game is aggressive, to a fault some times. He loves to take defenders on 1v1 but sometimes tries bulling his way through more than one defender and loses the ball. His crossing ability and speed are better than average, and has the potential to become a very good player in this league.
The bump in the road to his path to glory is his newly acquired penchant for season ending injuries. After he tore his left ACL last year that put him out for the season, he started the season healthy and looking to regain his spot. He got back on the field and looked timid off the dribble and scared to go into challenges. Over the course of the season he was in and out of the line up with not a whole lot more success. He continued to look intimidated by his knee. The sad part of this whole story is that finally when we started to see the old Colin Clark coming out against San Jose, disaster struck again, another ACL tear.
Houston is getting a very talented player, but one who is now 26 years old and has torn the same ACL twice. It will be interesting to see if he can come back, not only from the physical wounds but also if mentally he can handle the challenges that lie ahead.
I know I speak for myself but I can safely assume that the rest of the Rapids fanbase wish him the best and hope for him to find success down in Houston.
Players and fans alike will miss Brian Mullan, but professional soccer is a business and to be successful you can't be afraid to make changes. I expect we are going to experience more of these type situations before the 2011 season kicks off where players that are special to us as fans move on from the organization.
The fact the Dynamo are already beginning the process of retooling the roster should be an extremely positive sign to all fans and should show us all that the team will to everything in their power to make 2011 better than 2010.