Ricardo Clark is a man of few words. But on the BBVA Compass Stadium pitch Sunday, his presence was felt loud and clear.
Clark was a stalwart in the middle of the park for the Dynamo, and a crucial reason Houston kept Sporting Kansas City in check and claimed a critical 2-0 lead in the first league of the Eastern Conference semifinal.
“I think people would be surprised about how much ground he covers,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “A trained eye would see it but I think fans that just see him make a sliding play that don’t realize he was attacking the play before. Not that people don’t appreciate him, but, when you really pay attention you appreciate him a whole lot more.”
If you paid attention Sunday you got an eyeful of what makes Clark so integral for Houston.
The former US international was a force on both sides, breaking up plays in defense and surging forward whenever he got the chance to try and threaten Sporting Kansas City from long range.
Clark, though, is not new to this type of performance.
After Wednesday’s affair head coach Dominic Kinnear praised the returning Dynamo midfielder for his work in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire where he displayed the same sideline to sideline effort and abilities he did on Sunday.
“Rico covers so much ground and makes it so much easier on our forwards,” said forward Will Bruin. “He’s going up down, left right and he’s made the forward’s life so much easier on the defensive side where we can just concentrate on the attacking stuff.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.