I am sure we all remember Merritt's emotional press conference dealing with the firing of John Specner. It was a time of great turmoil and bad results starting with the CAL FC game, a game which will probably go on to be known as "The Beginning of the End" for the 2012 season. After that game we continued to plummet as a team, pulling out rough wins against rivals and top ranked opponents while at the same time getting dominated by league bottom dwellers.
This all culminated with the firing of John Spencer. One of the biggest bits from Merritt Paulson, was that this move to fire Spencer "was not waving the white flag on the season" and that the Portland Timbers would continue to strive to win. Until now.
Troy Perkins is (or rather was) the heart and soul of this team. He has now been replaced by D. Ricketts, a goalie that is slightly statistically inferior, but later on will be explained to be totally inferior to Perkins. The biggest question in my mind is why would you do this move now? The effect on the morale of the team in my eyes is like taking the sick dog out to the back of the farmhouse and putting a slug through its head. Our team is struggling to perform against some of the worst teams in the league, and one of the biggest complaints has been that there has been no heart out there on the field with two exceptions for most in Diego Chara, and Troy Perkins.
With this trade one begins to wonder are we getting a good deal out of it? Two arguments have been made. That this deal is for the future in terms of cap space, future changes, room for Gleeson, etc, and that Ricketts can mentor Gleeson for the future since apparently Troy was unwilling. Firstly Gleeson was quoted in saying that Troy helped him both on and off the pitch so the latter idea is completely inaccurate in my eyes, Secondly in addressing the future argument this trade could have been done at a much better time. Plus, if Gleeson was getting advice from Perkins (and you know... the goalkeeping coach) then why bring in Ricketts with the idea that he could be a mentor? Do we even know if he's a good mentor?
Moving on to Ricketts himself as a goalie. OPTA stats show him as being a worse deal than Perkins. He also got those stats playing behind a better team than our own both offensively and defensively. I don't think that anyone here can argue that Montreal is a worse team than Portland currently. The fans of Montreal who have been watching Ricketts play have been outstandingly for the trade move, not showing near as much remorse and heartbreak that we have over Perkins. To me that says a lot about his skill and ability. Factor this in with Montreal trying to make a push for the playoffs and you would have to assume they are trying to upgrade at GK at this point, so how can we say that Ricketts is an upgrade by any stretch of the imagination?
For this season, all we have essentially done is added another question mark/ worry to our list. Going into Toronto I was worried about our attack being able to create and our backline to be able to defend but now I am also worried about the guy in the goal! We are now weak at every part of the field and we have no real strength in any particular area. Our team is demoralized and we have a rough road trip coming up. I am seriously questioning if we are capable of even getting any points after our game against Toronto (Have you seen Ricketts record vs Toronto? Spoiler alert: Its bad).
The white flag has been waved ladies and gents. Our first big move in preparing for the next season is acquiring Ricketts. Obviously a solid foundation on which to build.............