If the Timbers are indeed rebuilding, they've started with the bedrock.
Portland traded keeper Troy Perkins this morning, acquiring Jamaican national and two-time MLS All-Star Donovan Ricketts. Like a quick restart on a free kick, few saw this trade coming. That apparently includes Perkins, who according to The O beat guy Geoffrey C. Arnold, appeared briefly at training this morning before driving off, seemingly shocked.
As to who's better off after this trade, it's probably a wash. Ricketts, 35, has battled injury but is known around the league as an aggressive, top-tier keeper. He was MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and listed on the league's Best XI in 2010. But if anyone was the heart and soul of the Timbers locker room, it was Perkins, the no-nonsense fan favorite who often spoke candidly about the team's struggles. On Sunday night, I asked him what the team needed to do to build off their draw with FC Dallas—Portland's first positive result after five straight defeats. As was his style, Perkins looked me dead in the eye when answering, saying, "I think we've really found ourselves."
Now the team will need to find its way without Perkins.
“Troy has been an important player for us, but we as a coaching staff saw this as an opportunity to improve the position, while optimizing our budget numbers in 2012 and 2013," said Timbers interim coach and General Manager Gavin Wilkinson. "Donovan has a great presence and will provide us with tremendous experience and leadership. He has a proven track record in MLS and has shown he can consistently play well at the highest level.”
Donovan can also provide some direction to young backup Jake Gleeson, a member of New Zealand's Olympic team and a young, aggressive keeper who won Portland's home opener last year in his first MLS start.
PORTLAND—The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has acquired goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts from the Montreal Impact in exchange for goalkeeper Troy Perkins. Timbers general manager/interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson made the announcement.
Ricketts, 35, has established himself as one of the top goalkeepers in MLS since joining the league with the LA Galaxy in 2009. A two-time MLS All-Star in 2009 and 2010, Ricketts was named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and to the MLS Best XI in 2010 after a standout season in which he posted a 0.90 goals-against average and 11 shutouts. He helped lead the Galaxy to back-to-back Supporters Shields in 2010 and 2011 and MLS Cup appearances in 2009 and 2011. He was also a finalist for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2009.
In 94 MLS games, Ricketts has compiled 30 shutouts and a 44-26-21 record, and holds the second-best goals-against average in MLS history among goalkeepers with 90 or more appearances at 1.11. He has a 4-1-1 record in postseason play, registering three shutouts and a 0.99 goals-against average.
“Donovan has been an impact player since he joined MLS and is one of the top-performing goalkeepers in the league,” said Wilkinson. “Troy has been an important player for us, but we as a coaching staff saw this as an opportunity to improve the position, while optimizing our budget numbers in 2012 and 2013. Donovan has a great presence and will provide us with tremendous experience and leadership. He has a proven track record in MLS and has shown he can consistently play well at the highest level.”
A native of Montego Bay, Jamaica, Ricketts has been a longtime member of the Jamaica National Team and served as the team’s vice captain. He has 89 caps for the Reggae Boyz and made his international debut in 2000. Ricketts, who was a member of Jamaica’s World Cup squad in 1998, has featured in Jamaica’s qualifying bids for the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, and recently started in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Guatemala in June. He also featured in the 2009 and 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cups and helped lead Jamaica to the Caribbean Championship in 2008.
Ricketts played three seasons with the Galaxy from 2009-11, logging a 35-15-18 record, 27 shutouts and an 0.92 goals-against average in 70 games during his time with the club. He helped lead the Galaxy to the 2009 Western Conference title, and in 2010 anchored a defense that set a new club record for fewest goals allowed in a season (26). Ricketts was acquired by the Montreal Impact in a trade on Nov. 28, 2011, and appeared in 24 games for the Impact in 2012, posting a 9-11-3 record and three shutouts.
Prior to arriving in MLS, Ricketts started his career in his native Jamaica in 2002 with Village United. He made the move to England in 2004, signing with the Bolton Wanderers of the Premier League. Ricketts was loaned to Bradford City during the 2004-05 season, and went on to play in more than 100 matches with the club through the 2007-08 campaign.
Ricketts will not occupy an international slot on the Timbers roster.
Perkins, 31, appeared in 51 matches for Portland, making 51 consecutive starts for the club from April 23, 2011, to Aug. 3, 2012. During his time with the Timbers, Perkins compiled 12 shutouts, 157 saves, a 1.44 goals-against average and a 14-23-13 record. Perkins, the 2006 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, recorded an MLS career-high nine shutouts during the Timbers’ inaugural MLS season in 2011 and ranked among league leaders in shutouts, wins (9) and saves (91) last season. Perkins, in his seventh MLS season, joined the Timbers on Dec. 17, 2010, in a trade with D.C. United.
“Troy is a first-class person and professional, and he did a lot for this club,” said Wilkinson. “We wish him all the best and thank him for his contributions to the Portland Timbers.”