Another U.S. national team midfielder is heading to Europe.
Ricardo Clark has finalized his move to German side Eintracht Frankfurt on Tuesday, agreeing to a deal with the Bundesliga squad for the remainder of the season, with an option to extend the deal through the 2013 season.
Clark left the Houston Dynamo after playing out his MLS contract, ending a seven-year stint in MLS that saw him play for the MetroStars and San Jose Earthquakes before spending four years in Houston after the club formerly known as the Earthquakes made the move. He was a part of two MLS Cup-winning Dynamo teams (though he missed out on the 2007 MLS Cup run while serving a suspension for his infamous kick of Carlos Ruiz).
Clark was added by Frankfurt as cover for injured Bosnian midfielder Zlatan Bajramovic, who is expected to miss the remainder of the current season. Clark will need to work his way back into fitness after being off since November.
Always an athletic force in the middle of the field, Clark's game has matured during his tenure in MLS, with a better understanding of the game and improved ability to read attacks and neutralize dangerous playmakers with his speed and strength, characteristics that should serve him well in Germany.
Is the move a good one for Clark? Considering Eintracht Frankfurt's situation in midfield, Clark will have a good chance to fight for and earn a starting role. He could also work toward impressing prospective clubs if he heads into the summer as a free agent again. With the World Cup looming, Clark will still need to play well this year to secure the type of long-term deal he went into this winter looking for.
The move isn't without risk. If Clark fails to secure a starting job, he could lose ground in the race for playing time on the U.S. World Cup team. With Maurice Edu back to full health and playing for Rangers, and Jermaine Jones lingering as a potential threat at Schalke once he regains health, Clark will need to step his game up at Frankfurt to maintain his regular place alongside Michael Bradley in the U.S. midfield.
Clark and Bradley could do battle on April 10th, when Bradley's Borussia Moenchengladbach faces Eintracht Frankfurt.
What do you think of the move? Like the idea of Clark playing in Germany? Think he should have stayed at Houston another season?
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