Ryan Johnson and Donovan Ricketts are two of the Portland Timbers' most capped national team players. For tonight's game they've been called into action once again... this time, however, it's against the USA. While it might be an easy choice for fans in Portland to make -- there's obviously a stronger connection to the USMNT -- it's certainly not in the Timbers' best interest to watch Jamaica get dominated.
I'm right there with you guys in the hopes that team USA beats Jamaica and that the Nats earn a solid three points on their way to World Cup Qualifying. That said, I also see the value in confidence from national team experience translating to club soccer. Ryan Johnson and Donovan Ricketts have had a solid, if not great, season with the Timbers in 2013. Ricketts, especially, has been on top form since the start of this season, well on his way to returning to his 2010 form.
What worries me is that Ryan Johnson will continue to go scoreless, or generally be useless to his Jamaican side, and Ricketts will allow one too many goals to hit the back of the net. While that's great for the USMNT, the effect that can have mentally on a player is something to watch out for. With all the injuries to the backline this year, the last thing we need is for Ricketts to shut down.
Additionally, and perhaps a bit selfishly, I like seeing our Portland boys do well in international competitions. Perhaps it's because the Timbers have yet to field a USMNT player, but I don't really relate with many of the players on the Nats. I like it when they score, I like it when they win, but I don't really look forward to seeing any particular players.
In the end, I'm a bit conflicted about the game tonight and I would be lying if I said there wasn't a small (very small) part of me that wanted Ryan Johnson and Donovan Ricketts to absolutely shut down the USMNT.
How do you feel about tonight's game? Are you hoping Ryan Johnson and Donovan Ricketts have solid performances? Or, for tonight, are they just one more obstacle?