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Columbus Crew SC signs free agent Ricardo Clark

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The Black & Gold add midfield depth.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC announced on Friday the club has signed veteran defensive midfielder Ricardo Clark. The move will add depth to a group that brings back two starters in Artur and Wil Trapp, as well as key reserve Mohammed Abu.

“We are excited Ricardo chose to join our club as a free agent signing this winter,” head coach Gregg Berhalter said in the press release. “Ricardo brings over a decade of MLS and National Team experience to our club, which was one of the youngest in the league last season. He is a consistent winner in MLS and adds important depth in our central midfield as we look to return to the MLS Cup playoffs in the upcoming season.”

The 2018 season will be Clark’s 14th in Major League Soccer. He began his career with the New York New Jersey MetroStars (Red Bulls) in 2003 before jumping to the San Jose Earthquakes for the 2005 season, moving with the team as they became the Houston Dynamo. Clark went overseas in 2010 to join Eintracht Frankfurt, spending time at Stabaek on loan in 2012. Clark returned to MLS and the Dynamo for the 2012 season.

Over his career, Clark earned 33 caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team, including playing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2007 Copa America and winning the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The 34 year old will bring veteran presence to the central midfield. He has made 362 MLS appearances, including 341 starts across the regular season and playoffs. Clark has continued to log significant minutes in recent seasons despite his age. He was a key cog for the Dynamo recently, averaging 29 games played in the last five seasons. He remained a regular through last year, starting 26 games with two more substitute appearances.

Clark will battle for minutes with a strong midfield group. Artur established himself as a starter while on loan last season and was seen as such a critical piece to the Crew SC lineup that Berhalter made a Targeted Allocation Money-aided move to make the the Brazilian a permanent part of the roster. Trapp has been a constant starter since breaking into the team in 2013. Abu made 20 appearances with 14 starts in his first season with the club last year.