Today, the Montreal Impact have announced that they have traded goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts to the Portland Timbers in exchange for goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
Here’s how the numbers matchup:
Troy Perkins: GP 22 / Minutes 1957 / Shutouts 3 / Saves 66 / Goals Allowed 35 / Age 30 / Salary $201,833.33
Ricketts: GP 24 / Minutes 2136 / Shutouts 3 / Saves 61 / Goals Allowed 39 / Age 35 / Salary $275,000.00
The first thing that pops out is the fact that Perkins is 5 years younger and costs approximately $73,000.00 less than Ricketts. The savings on the salary cap are huge, especially if Nick De Santis and Joey Saputo are trying to lure in another DP or setting up another trade. The rest of the numbers look fairly similar but there is more than meets the eye. Looking at the MLS standings, it is clear that Portland's overall team performance is a huge influence on Perkins' numbers.
Portland: 20 GP / 5 Wins / 20 Goals for / 37 Goals against / -17 Differential / Last in West
Montreal: 25 GP / 9 Wins / 35 Goals for / 43 Goals against / -8 Differential / 6th in East
Portland's goal differential indicates that the Timbers are caught up in a vicious cycle. Lack of goals is caused by poor play, which causes poor possession numbers that leads to extra stress on the defence forcing the goalie to fish the ball out of his own net more often than he'd like to.
Without having seen many Timbers' games this season, one could say that perhaps Perkins isn't the issue. In any sport, the main player's statistics are always poorer when the whole team is struggling. In Hockey, the goalie can't always be blamed for an awful goals against average. In Football, you could have a great quarterback but his numbers will be awful if no one can catch the ball or if his offensive line can't protect him. Seems to be the same situation in Portland this season.
In Montreal, however, Ricketts does shoulder much more of the blame. I am not saying that the Impact defense has been perfect. They have dealt with their share of mistakes and injuries but we have all been witness to Ricketts' constant poor ball handling, lack of communication and ineffective set piece defense set up. It was clear during games that newcomer and defensive legend Alessandro Nesta had trust issues with the goalkeeper. Nesta had taken over setting up the set piece defence and refused to play the ball back to his keeper, under any circumstance. The Italian centre back was brought to Montreal to not only solidify the Impact's defence but to act as an assistant coach, mentor and assistant sporting director. It is clear that his words are greatly respected and make a huge impact within all levels of the organisation. In my opinion, this led to the departure of Donovan Ricketts.
While this trade doesn't seem to signal the beginning of the Evan Bush era in Montreal, Perkins should instill a bigger sense of calm and confidence on the field. He doesn't not need to be a miracle worker. He just needs to do his job. Having Nesta, Matteo Ferrari, and Nelson Rivas (once he's back from suspension) will make his life a lot easier. The back line will put Perkins in a position to succeed. For those of you are NFL fans, it is like when the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl with that amazing defense and Trent Dilfer at quarterback. Dilfer didn't have to win the game for them, he just had to make sure he didn't screw it up.
Early reports on the social media scene show that the Impact are the clear winners in this deal. Many Timbers' fan seem upset by this deal. Let's see if this translates onto the field and in game action.
This trade shows just how much Joey Saputo, Nick De Santis and Jesse Marsch care about winning. They are serious about making a playoff run this season while building for the future. This trade does all that.
Related: Impact,Timbers trade again: Ricketts-Perkins | Follow Mount Royal Soccer on Twitter
Trade analysis and getting to know Troy Perkins with Stumptown Footy & Shin Guardian
I have asked our friends at Stumptown Footy (@StumptownFooty) and the Shin Guardian (@JNyen) in Portland to give us their insight on the trade and help us get to know the Impact's newest goalkeeper. Here's what they had to say:
1. Can you gives us some insight on how well Perkins' season has been?
It has really been and up and down season for Perkins. The ‘up' is thanks to his great shot stopping ability. The ‘down' is because he gets hung out to dry by his defense too often. He still comes up with the big saves to keep Portland close but it hasn't been enough. Overall, it has been an ‘ok' year for him.
The Timbers season as a whole has been down, perhaps with the exception of one or two players. Perkins happens to be one of the few players with consistency. He has been playing as well as he can be within the system of our poor defense. Portland's goal differential this season is -17. That's not just -17 on the road, that is -17 TOTAL. This isn't entirely Perkins fault but one of a terribly ineffective midfield defense combined with a rotating cast of leaky sieve fullbacks.
2. What are his strong points? Weaknesses?
He is a great reaction save keeper who puts himself in the right position to stop the shot. I don't know if the issue has been him or the backline as a whole but the defense has looked a little lost this year. This is either caused by a lack of communication by Perkins or the team is simply not listening to him.
His biggest weakness is ball distribution. There have been many times when he has kicked the ball straight out of bounds when there has been no pressure on him. Also, he rarely, if ever, throws it or passes it to the defense. He usually settles for the long kick.
Strong points are his intensity, his ability on corner kicks, and he does make absolutely amazing saves at times. Weakness can be his positioning which seemed to get better this year, and his ability on long range shots. Having watched a few Montreal Impact games, I'd say that his hands are better than Ricketts.
3. Why would Portland consider moving him?
There is a big debate on this and we are not sure exactly why they would consider moving him but my guess is to pave the way for our younger goalkeepers to get some playing time. I don't see Ricketts being here longer then the end of this year. Next season, either Jack Gleeson or Joe Bendik should step in to the number one role.
Portland's general manager Gavin Wilkinson is a conundrum wrapped in a riddle. He has made baffling personnel decisions before, and (based on his quote) is using this trade to justify more playing time for our keepers in waiting, Jake Gleeson and Joe Bendik. If Ricketts plays great when he starts and then Gleeson plays very well Wilkinson will be vindicated.
4. Was he a fan favorite?
Troy certainly was one of the favorites. He was a very likeable guy who always answered questions with honesty and without the usually clichés. There are a lot of baffled fans out there who are upset.
Yes, he won supporters player of the year, last year. After the Cal FC USOC loss (a loss to an amateur team in the United States Open Cup tournament) he gave his gloves and jersey to the crowd. He frequently brought his kid onto the playing field after games to shoot goals and run around. He appeared voluntarily on a supporters live stage show for a part after the end of last season. He was well liked among most fans.
5. Does Ricketts step in as your number 1? Or do you have someone waiting in the wings?
Ricketts does step in as our number 1 as Jack Gleeson is still coming off an injury and just got back from the Olympics with New Zealand. I would not expect Joe Bendik to start against Toronto but it could happen.
The answer here is a bit confusing. Portland's GM states that Ricketts has accepted to be a mentor for our young keepers. At the same time Wilkinson also said that Ricketts represented an upgrade at the position over Perkins. PTFC does have two young keepers waiting in the wing, Jake Gleeson and Joe Bendik. Gleeson showed a lot of promise last year but has also had some injury problems. He was tipped to be the keeper for New Zealand in the Olympics but had a strained groin and lost his spot.
6. What are your thoughts on the trade?
I am confused and have to wait to see if this actually turns out to be a good trade or not. Troy was probably the most consistent player for Portland and you knew what to expect from him every game. If Portland sheds salary after this year and then goes with Gleeson or Bendik as our number one, this could turn out to be a good trade depending on their development. This also could turn out to be disastrous for Portland and could end up cost Gavin Wilkinson his job.
I personally am not a fan of Ricketts as a player. I thought he was overrated at LA Galaxy due to the very good back four in front of him and had the habit of making easy saves look difficult. He is frequently injured (losing his spot in LA due to this), and does not (in my opinion) provide an upgrade to Perkins at that position. It sounds like Montreal is taking care of part of his salary which is nice, but the best case long term scenario for Timbers fans is that Jake Gleeson/Joe Bendik play very well and Ricketts is a really good mentor.