The Montreal Impact has added two veteran presences to the roster, and has created what should be a heck of an interesting competition for the No. 1 keeper’s job.
On Monday, the club dealt defender Seth Sinovic, acquired in last week’s Expansion Draft from Sporting Kansas City, back to SKC along with allocation money for veteran midfielder Davy Arnaud.
Arnaud is a former MLS all-star who has a knack for scoring highlight-reel goals. He has played the last 10 seasons for the Wizards/SKC franchise, and is second on the team’s scoring list, with 43.
But Arnaud spent the latter part of the season coming off the bench as a sub, and started just 16 games in 2010. So, this move allows SKC to move a well-loved veteran without humiliating him by having him taken in the expansion draft. Considering that this deal saw the Impact return Sinovic to SKC, you have to wonder if this second move was scripted all along.
“Davy is a fierce competitor, an incredible leader and a hard-working player,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch in a release issued by the club. “He is a proven winner in MLS. He will help us establish a winning environment with our team. His acquisition makes us a better team.”
The Impact then made another allocation-money withdrawal, sending the dough to Los Angeles for Jamaican international keeper Donovan Ricketts.
“We are happy to confirm today the arrival of another important player in a key position,” said sporting director Nick De Santis. “From day one, we spoke about having influential players on this team. We feel that it is important to have a first-class goalkeeper with MLS experience. Donovan has played for one of top clubs in MLS. With this acquisition, we are taking another positive step forward in building the foundation of our team.”
Ricketts had been the Galaxy’s No. 1 until late in the year, when he was usurped by Josh Saunders, who got the wins through the playoffs and in MLS Cup. Ricketts was MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2010; he was an all-star in 2009 and 2010. But it’s been difficult to assess just how good Ricketts can be because the Galaxy’s defence is so tight.
Judging by De Santis’s language, Ricketts now goes in as Montreal’s No. 1. Evan Bush, who was clearly the best keeper in NASL this past season, is also signed. Remember that Bush came into the 2011 NASL season as the clear back-up to Bill Gaudette. But Gaudette got hurt and Bush came in — and there was no question afterwards that Bush had claimed the No. 1 job.
With Bush and Ricketts in camp, it makes any sentimental return of Greg Sutton to the Impact fold — as a player, at least — highly unlikely. Sutton was loaned to the Impact by the New York Red Bulls in 2011, but couldn’t get starts ahead of Bush. As well, Gaudette’s status gets pushed very much into “TBD.” Remember that, before its final NASL season, the Impact signed Gaudette with the notion that the ex-Puerto Rico Islander would come with the club to MLS — as he was regarded as the top keeper in Div. 2.
Bush changed that — and now he’ll be fighting for playing time… again.