The heat and humidity at BBVA Compass Stadium is usually seen as an ally of the Houston Dynamo. But it was anything but friendly Saturday night against the Columbus Crew, because it played a role in costing the club Ricardo Clark for most of the second half.
Clark left Saturday’s match in the 51st minute with what was termed as dehydration symptoms. Warren Creavalle took his place and helped Houston see out an eventual 3-1 win, but the game had Clark feeling exhausted.
“At halftime I started feeling an episode and I had been feeling a little bit faint. I thought it was going to get better, but it didn’t,” said Clark, who took an IV after leaving the game. “I think maybe it was a combination of things. Just maybe the weather, a little bit fatigued. I just didn’t feel right.”
The midfielder stated after the game that he was fine, but a situation like Clark’s is one of the downsides to playing in the hot and humid conditions that are usually the norm in summer matches at BBVA Compass.
But those conditions were not the only thing that contributed to the dogged nature of Saturday’s match, as the open nature of the game also played a part in fatiguing players. The Crew and Dynamo played the most fluid and high-paced game at the stadium in some time and, with both teams needing the points, they took turns applying pressure and going for goal.
That put the Dynamo to the test.
“It was weird. There were parts of the game where I think we had control of it and then it would become wide open again,” right back Kofi Sarkodie said. “I think everyone was putting fire to the pitch.
“The heat affects everyone. I think I dropped 10 pounds today,”
According to head coach Dominic Kinnear, that frenetic pace is part of what put Clark in a tough position physically.
“[Clark] put a lot into that first 20 minutes, he was running everywhere and I think it kind of caught up to him," Kinnear said. “I think every time we come off the field you think, ‘This was the hottest game of the year,’ but I think this was the worst we’ve had this year.
"People say it’s an ally, it’s our friend, but it’s not a great friend at times.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.