After the big news of Troy Perkins' trade today the Timbers still practiced at their Beaverton training facility. Perkins was sighted briefly before practice as he stopped by to say goodbye to his teammates and clean out his locker.
Donovan Ricketts, who was picked up in exchange for Perkins, will practice with the team for the first time on Friday, according to Gavin Wilkinson. With the Perkins trade on everyone's mind after practice, Wilkinson had a lot to say about the trade. Wilkinson confirmed that Ricketts should be expected to start, but also said that hopefully Jake Gleeson would have some opportunities to get minutes with the team this year as well.
Wilkinson also emphasized that this move would be good for the team's salary cap going forward as Ricketts will have part of his cap hit picked up by Montreal for the next two years as part of the trade, keeping the amount that the Timbers pay him equal to what they were paying Troy Perkins.
The other big news from around practice is the return of Jake Gleeson from his time with the New Zealand Olympic team. Although Gleeson has been working his way back from a pulled groin, he was out on the training pitch today and made some good looking saves.
More training notes plus quotes from Gavin Wilkinson after the jump.
Eric Brunner continued working his way back to fitness today as he participated in the full practice. Brunner continued wearing a knee brace after taking a knock during practice last week.
Also wearing a knee brace was Futty Danso, who has participated in warm-ups for the last week but according to Timbers staff has not fully participated in practice recently. Futty stayed out on the pitch for most of practice, only sitting out the last few minutes on the sidelines.
Steven Smith missed some of today's practice as well. Smith warmed up with the team before heading inside as the rest of the team moved on to their usual games of keep away. At the end of practice, Smith joined Futty in watching the remainder of practice from the side of the field.
Cam Vickers, of the Timbers U23s, continued to practice with the team and acted as the utility man, filling in wherever he was needed.
- At one point I heard Gavin shout, "Come on, Jake. Use your Olympic experience!" and it greatly amused me.
- Sean McAuley sounds just like you would expect an English coach to sound. He yells a lot and loudly, but it is always constructive. He definitely holds people accountable.
- Darlington Nagbe continues to be hesitant in his play, getting held up in one of the 5v5 games that were being played toward the end of practice when he had several options to play the ball forward.
On the Troy Perkins trade
It is an upgrade, in all honesty. Troy is a fantastic person and a very good goalkeeper, who I thought was a tremendous acquisition for the club two years ago. But when you sit down and you have staff meetings and you give everyone an active voice in that and the unanimous decision is, "this is right for the club," you do what is right for the club.
You know that you are going to get a hit form some people that it may not be popular with the fans, and rightfully so. I can understand that. Troy was a phenomenal person, a great human being, and a very good professional for us, but Ricketts is a very good professional, a great person, and, in my mind, a better goal keeper.
On Donovan Ricketts' age (35)
I think that what you have got to look at is a goalkeeper's age relative to their body type and how long they have been in the sport. You are looking at somebody that has a great presence, somebody that has a big stature in front of goal, and I think that drives confidence. This is not taking anything away from Troy whatsoever. I think that the quote was that he is a class act, and he really is, but when you start looking at making a business decision and what is right for the organization in the short term and in the immediate future and even going into the long term it is a very good decision for us.
We have got Jake Gleeson and Joe Bendik, and Ricketts accepts that he is a mentor for those two, That one day one of those two is going to surpass where he is. If you look at the body type and the type of player Ricketts is, you look at his personality, it is a better situation for the young goalkeepers as well. With the succession planning of the club and looking Jake and looking at Joe, we have the confidence that one of those two is going to develop into a starting goalkeeper within the next two years.
You are looking at a decision, in all honesty, that is how good is Ricketts? He's a very good goalkeeper. He has had a lot of success: he's had a captaincy with his national team, brings a leadership ability and a different personality completely. He is the real deal.
On the leadership provided by Troy Perkins and Donovan Ricketts
[Perkins] is not a vocal leader, though. There is different kinds of leadership. [Perkins leads] through seniority and professionalism, and that is still a good leader, so what you have done is bring in another person that is a senior player with the same leadership abilities. Troy is not a vocal leader on the field, he has never been that player, he isn't that player. Ricketts isn't that player but he gives us a little but more in that area. That doesn't take away from Troy, it just means that we were very committed to this trade and that was a positive.
On if Jake Gleeson will get some opportunities to start this season
I would definitely hope so. He is a young keeper that we saw last year has a tremendous upside. We need to find out what we've got in these keepers. We need to keep giving them the opportunity to be successful. I think that you've seen that we are willing to give one or two young players a chance and I think that is very beneficial for the club.
On who he expects to be the team's starting keeper
Definitely Ricketts. We are bringing him in to do a job and we are also thinking that that is a better environment for Jake Gleeson to develop in.
On the number of goals that Montreal have given up this year
It is a new back line. We went through it last year. We've addressed it and we feel that he is a better addition to this group. That is not taking away from anything about Troy as a person. Troy has been a consistent starter for us for a long time, but you look at Ricketts and his ability in this league, and his success in this league, and what he has done, and 35, for a goalkeeper, is not old.
Kasey Keller was 40, then you start looking around this league and you are looking at Kevin Hartman, you are looking at a couple of other very good goalkeepers who are getting on but they are still very successful goalkeepers. For us it made sense.
On how the trade happened
They came to us and then it was a situation where, financially for the club, it made sense moving forward to upgrade in positions that we see. Not where we need, because some opportunities present themselves. Some you go looking for and some just present themselves. This presented itself and after many long discussions, it took many days, it wasn't a light decision, the coaching staff went away, did a lot of homework, and were unanimous.
On how the trade helps the club financially
You are looking at Ricketts who is a more expensive goalkeeper; he is not going to hit our cap for any more than what Troy hit our cap number for and we get relief for a number of years.
On why Montreal was willing to part ways with Ricketts
Obviously we've done our homework and we have come up with our conclusions but I think you would have to ask Donovan Ricketts that to get a complete answer. It is not one that I am willing to speak on the behalf of the player for. For us, we see it as a positive. Not all situations that a created are equal and he didn't settle in Montreal from what we can see and what we've gathered. It was a situation where he played in LA, not far away from where we are at, he knows Portland and the environment, is relishing the opportunity to impress the organization and the fans. One of the first comments he made was about our fan-base and how it added to his motivation to come to Portland.
On how trading away an entrenched player like Perkins will affect the other players on the team
Troy was a leader. Donovan Ricketts is a leader. We have got a guy that has played 90 internationals and when you have traveled around like he has, has an understanding of different cultures, has been successful on many teams, we are adding to that, not taking away from it in any way shape or form. We are actually adding leadership to this group from a player that has been there and done that and will actually help the Jake Gleesons of this world, and the Joe Bendiks, and some of the other young players achieve those things.
On the possible fan reaction to trading away a player like Perkins
It is a business decision, it will help the team on the field, and only time will tell. You want every player to be a fan favorite. You want every player to endear themselves. The fact is that goalkeepers are always closer to the fans, they have got quirky personalities. I hope that every goalkeeper that comes here has the same impact on our fans and is liked just as much.
You've got the Darlington Nagbes, you've got a lot of fan favorites in this group, but fan favorites have to be created over time. I remember the Timbers Army banner that said, "legends are created when others are surpassed," or something along those lines.
To be fair, every player, everybody in professional sports, is replaceable. Everybody at every single level, regardless of where they are at, are replaceable and it is important for people to have convictions, to do what they feel is right for the organization and to keep developing the organization.
On the players' reaction to the Perkins trade
The comment was, "wow, Ricketts? Impressive." That's the opinion. Troy was well liked and that is the personality side of it. We are looking at the performance side of it on the field and there is no doubting that Ricketts has ability.
On if Perkins was surprised to be traded
Yeah, but he is a class act. Troy understands that and he'll have a number of years in this game at a number of levels and he is a good person.
On when Ricketts will first practice with the team
Friday morning, and Jake Gleeson is back from the Olympics. It is nice to have him back too.