Clark hopes "fresh start" in LA ends in another MLS Cup trip
CARSON, Calif. – Colin Clark has been on the losing roster in the past two MLS Cup title games, so the obvious question when he met with media following his first training session with two-time defending champion LA Galaxy – so much so that it was asked twice – was the can't-beat-them-so-you-joined-them kind.
“That's actually one of my first quotes,” he replied, right in stride. “Fairly true.”
The veteran winger, acquired from the Houston Dynamo in last month's Re-Entry Draft, says his goal is all about a three-peat, and he'll do whatever he's asked to make it happen.
What the Galaxy need is a little width, and Clark, who spent two seasons with the Dynamo after nearly five years in Colorado, could become the contributor he never was in Houston. He's not been the player he was on his way to becoming since tearing his left ACL in 2009 and 2010, and he acknowledges he still has something to prove because of that.
“But that's not really what I'm focused on,” he said. “I'm just here to help this team get another championship.”
Clark made 23 league starts in Houston, but his time decreased by more than half from 2011 to 2012 – he made only one MLS appearance from July 4 on last year – as the Dynamo found him expendable.
“You know, it's tough,” he said. “Dom [Kinnear] took a chance on me after back-to-back knee surgeries, and so I'm forever grateful for him. ... You move to a place and you want to make it home, and after two years you're kind of on the outs. So it's tough, but it put me in a better situation here.”
The Galaxy traded up in round two of the Re-Entry Draft to nab Clark, who says it's a “privilege” to play for head coach Bruce Arena and emphasized that “a fresh start here is something I'm ready to have.”
“I think he 's a good player and fills a need we have,” Arena said. “We don't have that many players that are natural wide players in midfield, so I think he's a good addition for us.”
LA have third-year winger Hector Jimenez, who made 17 starts on the right in all competitions last year, and brought in Swedish national team winger Christian Wilhelmsson last September, but let him depart after the MLS Cup victory. The club hasn't otherwise employed a true winger since Eddie Lewis and Chris Klein retired in 2010, and the position has been mostly an afterthought since Cobi Jones' career closed after the 2007 campaign.
“Teams tend to drop off on us, get numbers behind the ball, so you need to stretch them out a little bit,” Arena said. “And establishing width is one way to do it.”
Clark hopes he can add to the Galaxy's repertoire.
“It's a good opportunity,” he said. “I'm just hoping to get a chance and show what I can do. ... [I'm] most comfortable on the left side, out wide. Service in the box, it's what I enjoy doing, probably what I'm best at. And there's so many great forwards here.”