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Impact makes needed switch at the goalkeeping position

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On Tuesday, the Impact passed judgment on Donovan Ricketts. The keeper was dealt to the Portland Timbers for the Western Conference strugglers No. 1 shot stopper, Troy Perkins.

Thus ends the Jekyll-and-Hyde run of the Jamaican in the Impact goal. While, ovee the last few weeks, coach Jesse Marsch had reaffirmed his confidence in Ricketts, the keeper’s ability to confound you with a) eyepopping saves and b) infuriating mistakes, sometimes within minutes of each other, hadn’t gone unnoticed.

“We would like to thank Donovan for his services with the Impact but we did not feel he fit into our plans moving forward,” said Impact sporting director Nick De Santis in a release issued by the club.

With Perkins, the Impact gets a veteran who has played 13,477 MLS minutes and has recorded 36 clean sheets in the league. Perkins was a surefire starter with D.C. United when he chose to leave MLS at the end of the 2007 season, and then spent the next two seasons in Norway with Valerenga, where he became the No. 1. He returned to MLS in 2010.

As well, with upcoming conflicts between international matches/World Cup qualifiers and the MLS schedule, unloading a keeper who will have commitments with Jamaica for Perkins, a veteran who isn’t in the U.S. national team plans, means the Impact has a solid No. 1 for all of the remaining matches, barring injury.

As for Ricketts? He was excellent in this past weekend’s win over the Union (which likely helped increase his trade-bait value all that much more) but, far too often, the former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year has looked like the veteran who lost his Los Angeles Galaxy starting job last season.

While the Impact’s league-worst goals against is certainly not all the keeper’s fault, he has had some error-filled games, notably in a 3-0 loss on the road to Houston in July and the infamous 3-0 loss to Toronto at Stade Saputo, which was keyed by a Torsten Frings free kick which went right through the keeper’s hands.

He’ll get a chance with a cellar-dwelling Portland team that has nothing to lose.

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