From the idle mind of Fred

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Brouwer Got Second Chance, USA & Ricardo Clark Didn't

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

In Game One of the First Round of the NHL playoffs, the Blackhawks Troy Brouwer, at the end of a long shift, tried to skate the puck out of the Hawks zone.  The puck was stolen and that led to the Nashville Predators scoring the go-ahead goal, leading to a 4-1 victory at the United Center.

Saturday in South Africa, Ricardo Clark tried to make a move around a Ghanain player at midfield.  He lost the ball and Ghana charged up field with Kevin Prince Boateng scoring the first goal of the game, just five minutes into the Round of 16 match-up with the USA.  Clark compounded his problems by making a sloppy tackle soon afterwards meaning that he would miss the next game, if the US were able to come back.  That didn't happen.

Coach Bob Bradley pulled Clark in the 30th minute, ending his evening!  With the US losing, 2-1 in extra time, that will stay with Clark for the foreseeable future, possibly for the rest of his career. 

Heck, I'm still upset with Pablo Mastroeni when, after four years of preparation, he failed to run down a ball in the corner in the USA's first game of the 2006 World Cup in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.  As a result, the Czech Republic player had time for a well-placed cross into the box and the US was down 1-0, just five minutes into their first game.

See...this giving up early goals has been going on for a while!

Brouwer was relegated to the bench with his confidence shaken, but because the NHL playoffs are Best of Seven Series, instead of the one and done of the knockout stage at the World Cup, the Hawks winger was able to get another opportunity to make things right...and he most definitely did.

Now to be honest, Ricardo Clark had no right being on the field.  He played in the first game for the US against England.  He didn't play exceptionally well and then did not see the field in the next two games.  Clark didn't even belong on the squad.

There were better options in the midfield for the US team, including Maurice Edu and Jose Torres, both who saw action against Slovenia and Algeria.

Coach Bradley screwed up!  If you saw the National Anthem before the game versus Ghana, the camera panned over the starters for the US.  Everyone was intense, some singing softly, some with their eyes closed, others staring straight ahead.  Not Clark!  He looked uncomfortable, even during the song!  As the players broke off towards their staring positions, Donovan took a few snorts of smelling salts, as he does before every game.  Everyone seemed focused.  Everyone except Clark, who was actually having a laugh before the opening whistle.

He wasn't ready for the big stage.  He has NEVER shown ANYTHING to make one believe he was right for the midfield spot along side Michael Bradley.

Now Clark will have to live with this the rest of his life...and he'll have to deal with everyone remembering that he was the one who screwed up against Ghana.

Sorry Ricardo...hope things go better in your league play, because I can't imagine he'll get another shot with the national squad!


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1 Comment

Gladbach said:

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I made the comment when I saw the line up that Clark should not be in the game. I have never been impressed with him. A bad give-away and a yellow card early in the game. Instead of subbing at the 30 minute mark, he should have been on the bench. Also, I had no problem with not starting Gooch.

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