Is Rico Clark Below The Magic Spray Line?

Oh my gosh, Landon Donovan is out with a hang nail!

Clark sitting just *below* the Magic Spray line?

Tim Howard just got a bad haircut.

Rico Clark, calf strain. “The horror…….the horror!”

Clint Dempsey, “Yikes!”

At The Shin Guardian over the past six months, we’ve been beat in the face with the impact of injuries on the USMNT. Some have been major, others nuisances.

So today, we’re coming out with the soccer equivalent of baseball’s vaunted Mendoza Line…for injuries. Not quite, but that was the genesis of this column. We’re going to have a little fun, but also ease your mind…

Not every injury is a big one, not everyone a small one…some have potential to heal quickly; others to manifest for a full season.

So to help out USMNT fans, we’re coming out with our USMNT Match Fit Index (MFI) to help you and others wade through the noise of player data around hamstring pulls, split ends, chapped lips, knee surgeries and other major, or completely not-major, ailments.

We’re not doctors or Gaylord Fockers mind you, so when the situation demands for a proper medical opinion, we’ll point you to the experts. This is merely to try to add some humor, some perspective; add a little levity to the situation instead of ….PANIC!

There are four simple distinctions on the MFI:

(These are subject to revisions as our readers weigh in….)

"Match Fit"

Match Fit: Player is in top or near-top physical form, has a sound mind (that we can tell) and is ready to contribute on the pitch for club and country.

Perspective: They’re raring to go and in the form that USMNT fans look for.

Magic Spray: The player has a knock, but in a likelihood a little puff-puff and they’re doing stretches on the sideline waiting to return to the game.

Perspective: The player is likely going to make a go of it, but probably won’t be at full strength for a match’s entirety or part of it…sometimes it’s not even known that the player needs Magic Spray until well afterward. (See Landon example below…)

Training Table: The player has a minor injury, likely no more than a 6-weeker. The injury might get worse. It won’t keep them out for an extended point of time and they should be back to their standing in the timeline offered.

Perspective: Some concern here, but a very wait-and-see, don’t freak out situation. Many times a Training Table ranking gets treated as a Medic! and that’s probably not the right reaction.

For example, should Tim Howard slide onto the training table, the appropriate reaction would not be to run out and buy a Brad Guzan jersey.

—- World Cup 2010, if they are potentially on the roster, is not assured at this point for the player below this line at this time —-

Medic!: Player is out without an absolute timeline to their return to match fitness and play on the pitch. This is obviously the bottom and worst spot you can be in the index….you don’t want to be here.

Perspective: Verifiable concern here. Fans should not jump to conclusions on returns just yet. Every bit of news is scrutinized and that is somewhat okay.


Let’s test it out…Go:

Ricardo Clark….on the training table….

Landon Donovan at the Azteca….hmm….Magic Spray? Gave myself a tough one there with that H1N1

Charlie Davies….Medic! Gooch Monster…Medic! …both hopefully moving to the Training Table soon.

Jermaine Jones…once on the Training Table now going to see the Medic!

John O’Brien…I have no idea where we put chronic suffers here. I’m going to say he was nearly.

Chad Marshall…Magic Spray.

Seems about right?

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Gino on 2010/02/03 at 1:42 PM

    Wasn’t even aware that Rico was hurt. Did it happen in training because I haven’t seen him in a match report yet. What do you all know about Edu? Hope they both get back to Match Fit soon and stay there. We’ll need them both in S. Africa.


    • Posted by Matt B on 2010/02/03 at 1:55 PM

      He strained his calf in training and is supposedly out 3-4 weeks, which would probably rule him out of the Netherlands game March 3


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/03 at 2:24 PM

      Rico apparently has a calf strain — that’s basically all that is known right now…

      If England were tomorrow I’m wondering if a little Magic Spray wouldn’t do the trick…


  2. heard the same….Rico apparently has a calf strain. If the mighty england was tomorrow I would think he would play with a broken leg!!!


    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/02/03 at 9:15 PM

      The answer to all injuries with Rico is a little magic spray. I don’t think I’ve seen him play a game where he isnt magic spray. He always seems to minorly be hurt i guess you could say.


  3. […] According to news reports, the USMNT midfielder was knocked out of training yesterday with AGF and sent for x-rays. The early prognosis as the team “awaits results” is an ankle sprain so we are setting Benny! at Training Table status on the TSG Match Fit Index. […]


  4. […] by matthewsf in USMNT. Leave a Comment TSG came up with our Match Fit Index a few weeks ago. Now we go one level deeper with our Operation […]


  5. […] by going to spy on Jermaine Jones…now he’s on the shelf…and TSG created the Match Fit Index upon his […]


  6. […] those unfamiliar, TSG has the MFI, with four designations: Medic! (You don’t want to go to the Medic!, trust us. CD9, […]


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