Impact Notebook: Ricketts savors last shot at World Cup

Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts

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MONTREAL – Montreal Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts will be going away for a while.

The big Jamaican was called up by Theodore Whitmore for national team duty. But first, there’s a game against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

The veteran ‘keeper will leave the team immediately following his planned start in Commerce City, Colo., and as a result he will miss the Reggae Boyz' friendly against Panama at the National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday.

Ricketts will, however, be available for Jamaica’s next three games – a second match against Panama on June 1, followed by two crucial World Cup qualifiers at home against Guatemala on June 8 and away to Antigua and Barbuda on June 12. Ricketts returns to Montreal two days later.

At 34, Ricketts is well aware that the 2014 World Cup could be his last international tournament – he made the 1998 World Cup squad but did not play – and he intends to do everything he possibly can to send his national team to Brazil.

“The only extra pressure I have is that this is my last qualifier – I’m getting [older], I’m 24,” Ricketts joked with reporters. “This is my last push to be in the World Cup again, so that’s the only pressure I have. I just want to make sure we get through the qualifiers for this World Cup because it's my last.”

Throw research out the window

Contrary to their usual routine, the Impact will train twice in Colorado before Saturday’s matchup, which means the squad and staff will leave early on Thursday.

Head coach Jesse Marsch made the change based on his experiences as a former MLS player.

“It’s a combination of the altitude and of the difficulties of travelling to the West Coast from Montreal, finding flights and everything else,” Marsch said. “I know that the research says that you’re only supposed to be there for 24 hours, but my experience says the longer that I’ve been there ahead of a match, the better I felt.”