CARSON, Calif. — For three years, LA Galaxy players did everything they could to keep Donovan Ricketts from working too hard.
On Saturday, they will try and bring the heat on their former ally. Shipped off to Montreal after the 2011 season, Ricketts will face his former club for the first time when the Impact host the Galaxy (4 pm ET, TSN/RDS in Canada, MLS LIVE in US).
“Donovan doesn’t give away cheap goals,” Galaxy manager Bruce Arena said. "I think he’s the best goalkeeper in the league and he’s proven that for four years. He’s an outstanding goalkeeper and it’s not going to be easy.”
Ricketts was a large part of the Galaxy’s turnaround under Arena. When LA’s head coach needed a veteran goalkeeper to help stabilize the backline after a disastrous 2008 season, he turned to the Jamaican standout.
WATCH: Ricketts's daring save vs. TFC
Although it took some time, the Galaxy eventually became a standout defensive side and Ricketts led the club to the MLS Cup final in 2009. In 2010, he was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year while leading LA to the Supporters’ Shield.
Now on the other side, Ricketts will likely want to prove to his former team that he still has it.
“He’d certainly like to get a shutout against us,” Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said. “Knowing Donovan he’s going to come to play. He is one of the best in the league, without a doubt. He was a huge part of this team for three years and a huge part of our championship run.”
And aside from his imposing presence and on-the-field accomplishments, Ricketts made an impression on his teammates with his easy-going attitude and wide smiles off the field.
“I’ve got a lot of fond memories and a lot of times with Donovan,” Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said. “He’s such a great character and great goalkeeper. He’s tough to beat. It’s going to be tough for us this weekend with him in net.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.