Impact coaches feel familiar face Perkins will add stability

Troy Perkins of the Portland Timbers

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MONTREAL – Most Montreal Impact players and staff will have to get used to a new face in the coming days, but Impact head coach Jesse Marsch and assistant Mike Sorber already know full well what they're getting in recently acquired goalkeeper Troy Perkins.

After all, both Marsch and Sorber got to know and esteem Perkins – whom the Portland Timbers traded to the Impact for goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts on Tuesday – during their time as assistants to Bob Bradley with the US national team.

Sorber sees Perkins as a solid technical goalkeeper with experience, good hands and an ability to come off his line – a more “by-the-book” goalkeeper than Ricketts, who is a “big play” ‘keeper, Marsch observed. Furthermore, both men feel Perkins' professionalism and on-field qualities will add stability to their team.

“He had a good experience in Portland, but he’s had a chance to play against us and watch us play,” Sorber said. “He thinks we have a good team, he’s excited to come and he thinks he can help us just like we think he can help us.”

“As a show of that,” Marsch added, “he’s coming in today, wants to start training tomorrow and be ready for the weekend.”

Should he indeed be ready, it is likely Perkins will get the nod against the New England Revolution on Sunday. The new Impact shot-stopper, Marsch said, is coming to Montreal to be the No. 1 goalkeeper, and the back of his jersey will reflect that.

The Impact head coach did recognize, though, that there is always room for competition. Substitute ‘keeper Evan Bush, who has proven that he is ready on a number of different levels according to Marsch, will find in Perkins a goalkeeper with a similar personality, and Marsch feels both players could feed off each other.

But, the Montreal boss insisted, the Troy Perkins transaction was made to improve the Impact now as well as down the line.

“In the moment, I think it’s important to get a goalie here that, with the way that our team is right now and the confidence that we have as a group, can really help solidify that position so that, frankly, we’re giving up less goals,” Marsch said.

On a personal level, coaches and players alike admitted that it was difficult to part with the former Impact No. 1. Ricketts’ personality will be missed in the Impact locker room, especially his “fun-loving Jamaican attitude,” as ex-goalkeeping colleague Bush put it.

“I’m pretty sure he probably didn’t want to leave,” teammate and fellow Jamaican international Shavar Thomas said. “He wanted to prove himself and help the Impact go as far as we can. It cannot be a good situation for anybody, because, you know … it’s like breaking up.”