Man of the Match Q&A: Ricardo Clark
After starting the season in central midfield, what were your thoughts heading into Saturday's game against Dallas in which you started at right back for the first time as a member of the Earthquakes?
Ricardo Clark: "I was pretty confident going in. I hadn't played the position in a while, but I thought that I could go out there and fulfill whatever role I was asked to on the field. I was a little nervous, but it worked out. It is not like that position is entirely new for me, I did play a little bit back there when I was with the MetroStars."
Since it was your first time playing on the back line with the Quakes, was there anything in particular that you needed to keep reminding yourself as the game went on?
RC: "I needed to remember to hold the line, that is definitely something that is important. Also, I needed to be aware of when to pinch in when the ball is on the other side to help out the center backs, especially with those two forwards [Carlos Ruiz and Eddie Johnson] that they had. Those are the main things to keep in mind. When I have to pinch in, it is not something that is set by the book. It is just that you have to sense when the most danger is on. If one of the center backs has no support, then more than likely I am going to pinch in and help them out, but if one of the center backs is guarding Eddie [Johnson] and the other one is free, then I can stay out a little more. It is something that you just have to sense, and I think we did a pretty good job of that on Saturday."
Overall, what were your thoughts about the way you played individually and the way the team played on Saturday against FC Dallas?
RC: "It definitely feels good to get a shutout. It was a good result, but I think it could have been better. We could have got the win there. I mean, the shutout is definitely important, but we need to start winning these games. I thought I did well, and worked together with the team well. I think everyone; especially the defense came to play. We just have to keep that going throughout the next games."
Playing as an outside defender, did you feel confident pushing up into the attack from the wings?
RC: "Yeah, I think so. I had one or two runs going forward I think. The best one was in the first half, where I created a chance and probably could have done a little better with the shot, but I was a little off balance. I probably could have passed it or done something a little better with it, but once or twice during the game I got to go forward. It is kind of easy on that side, because I've got Brian Mullan with me. He is good at going forward and it just makes my job a lot easier. Going forward from that position is one of those things that it really depends on how the game is going. If we are up, of course I am not going to push up as much. I will just stay home a bit more. We will see what happens as I get more comfortable playing there."
After facing one of the top teams in the Western Conference in FC Dallas, the Quakes next travel to Los Angeles to play another club that is ahead of them, the Galaxy. What are your thoughts about playing the Galaxy on Saturday and having your first taste of one of the best rivalries in MLS?
RC: "I'm excited, along with a lot of other people on the team to go in there and play. It is always a good atmosphere there at The Home Depot Center, and especially with some of the moves that have been made by both teams, I am sure it is going to be exciting. I think it is going to be another good game."
Now with a 2-1-4 record, what is your assessment of the Quakes 2005 season so far?
RC: "I'm not really surprised with how we are doing. I think that we definitely are headed in the right direction. I think if not for a couple of slip-ups that we had in the beginning of the season, our record could be changed around a lot right now. It is still early, that is the thing. It is still too early to tell how things are going to go, but I think everybody has a lot of confidence right now. If we get some good results in these next couple games then that will put us in a good position for the rest of the season."