CARSON, Calif. – It’s all about winning championships, according to LA Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. Personal accolades can wait.
The 33-year-old Jamaican international earned his 11th shutout of the year in last Thursday’s 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union, and Ricketts tied Kevin Hartman’s franchise record for most clean sheets in one season.
Ricketts, however, could have cared less. In fact, he didn’t even know about the accomplishment until a reporter asked him about it Tuesday.
Asked if he took any pride in the mark now that he did know, Ricketts shook his head and smiled.
“It would feel special if I had a record and we win a championship,” he said. “You play to win championships. If we don’t win a championship, that record means nothing.
“At the end of the season, you look back. You win a championship, then you say this was a special season. It’s a team sport, and you play to win championships.”
Ricketts, who signed with the club on Dec. 23, 2008, is 17-6-4 with a 0.81 goals against average this season. He already has two more shutouts than he did in 2009, when he was 10-5-10 with a goals against average of 1.03.
Ricketts made three saves in Thursday night’s win over the Union, including two in a three minute span late in the second half to keep LA in front. The first of those two came in the 73rd minute when Philadelphia’s Sebastien Le Toux tried to back heel the ball into the net off a pass from Andrew Jacobson, only for Ricketts to quickly dive to his right and deflect the ball just wide of the goal.
Ricketts, asked about that save, said he’d rather talk about a recent goal he’d like to have back.
“Let me talk about the Chivas game first,” he laughed, referring to Alan Gordon’s 63rd-minute header that went through Ricketts’ hands and into the net in the Galaxy’s 2-1 victory on Oct. 3. “I made a silly mistake and I let the team down. To take a clean sheet away from the guys after they worked so hard. In Philly, I just did what I had to do to keep us in the game. That’s just the job.”
It’s a job he has performed exceedingly well, according to Galaxy goalkeeper coach Ian Feuer.
“From day one, his attitude is what makes Ricketts Ricketts,” Feuer said. “To get a senior goalkeeper that still wants to learn, it’s awesome. It’s the little details we’re trying to find, and he thrives on it.
“His biggest attribute is he’s still so humble. He blames himself pretty much for every goal. He doesn’t always say it or show it, but inside he knows he can save almost everything. That’s a good trait to have.
Right back Sean Franklin admitted he didn’t know a thing about Ricketts when he first joined the club – “I just saw that we signed a goalie, a big Jamaican guy,” Franklin joked – but he has seen enough of him to know Ricketts provides the Galaxy a definite sense of security in the net.
“It’s special having a player like that,” Franklin said. “He’s just intimidating. He has a real presence in goal.”
Central defender Omar Gonzalez said he was impressed with Ricketts when he first saw him.
“Just walking in the first day and seeing how big he was, it was pretty incredible,” Gonzalez said of the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder.
Gonzalez isn’t exactly small at 6-5 and 210. “I didn’t think he was going to be able to move well, but he’s very agile and he has great hands. He’s just really calm and collected.
“Whenever the games are tough, I think that’s when he shines the most.”