For Ricketts, All-Star Game will have to wait
It might seem as if Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts would be in a tough situation.
On the one hand, Ricketts was named to the MLS First XI ahead of Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game against Manchester United in Houston, and having the chance to represent Major League Soccer against a class opponent would be more than enticing.
On the other hand, Ricketts’ club is faced with its own challenge as the Galaxy will play Puerto Rico in a CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round match on Tuesday, with the chance to take a stranglehold on the series at home.
But when it comes down to it, Ricketts said, for now at least, he's focused on the Champions League.
“I’m focused first on playing Puerto Rico on the 27th," he said. "If we make it out of that game unhurt, then you think about the All-Star Game. No disrespect, but the Galaxy comes first.”
While it remains to be seen whether Galaxy coach Bruce Arena goes with Ricketts or Josh Saunders in goal, the Jamaican star could very well see action against Puerto Rico. Arena rested regulars Chris Birchall and Gregg Berhalter in Thursday’s league match against San Jose and later explained that the upcoming five-game, 17-day stretch was the rationale behind the move.
If Ricketts plays against Puerto Rico, his time against Manchester United could be minuscule or non-existent. But that’s fine by him.
Still, having been named to the First XI was an honor simply because it is one he shares with his teammates, and one he received because of them, he said.
“We’ve been working hard all season. I didn’t do it as an individual. I got a lot of help from my teammates but it feels good,” he said. “They do most of the work. Sometimes you get like two shots a game and I fill in but midfield, defense, we’ve been doing well. It’s been easier for me this season than last season.”
However, Ricketts may have a little insight on Manchester United. Ricketts spent three years in England with lower-division side Bradford City.
“Premiership clubs thrive on keeping the ball, ball possession,” Ricketts said. “You have to just fill the gaps, let them play in front. That’s it. They thrive on possession. They are a team that has been playing together for years and the All-Star team gets together for a week. So a little bit more disorganized in terms of preparedness so the best thing is to fall behind the ball and let them play in front.”