MORELIA, Mexico – LA Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts missed all of July and August due to a broken forearm, and his absence lasted longer than was initially expected.
But Ricketts finally returned to the club on Friday and helped the Galaxy to a victory over the Colorado Rapids last Friday night.
“He wasn’t tested a whole lot but had to make a few important saves in the game,” LA head coach Bruce Arena said after the match. “He looked pretty good. He’s been about nine to 10 weeks now. It’s good to get him back. We’re not going to push him real hard. We’re still going to be using he and [Josh Saunders], but I think it’s a real good problem to have.”
While his teammates were glad to see him return, they weren’t exactly breathing any sighs of relief.
“It’s a big lift," said captain Landon Donovan. "To be honest, though, we didn’t miss a beat with Josh and [Brian] Perk in here. Josh has been fantastic for the last few months. We honestly feel we have three goalies who are legitimate starters in this league and we’re very blessed.”
The start was the 13th of the season for Ricketts, who suffered a broken forearm against San Jose on June 25.
Weary Keane returns
When Robbie Keane returned to Los Angeles days before the Galaxy’s match against Colorado on Friday, he did so with tired legs. He had played 180 minutes for the Republic of Ireland, in games in Dublin and Moscow, and had spent quite a few hours in the air.
It did not stop him from wanting to play against the Rapids, though, and if he’d had it his way he would have played more than he did.
“Robbie is a real warrior,” Arena said. “He’s probably not really happy with me that he only played 30 minutes. If Robbie had his way, he’d probably play 90 minutes.”
As it stood, Keane played the final half-hour in the Galaxy’s 1-0 win over Colorado and could see more playing time on Tuesday in the Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League match in Morelia (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer). Throwing him onto the field for more minutes against the Rapids would not have been ideal.
“We’ve got to think about the player as well as the team,” Arena said. “We didn’t want to put him in a position for him to get hurt; 30 minutes is difficult, maybe 45 is better since he gets a chance to warm up a little bit better and has more time to get into the game but I thought our guys played so well in the first half that I wanted to reward them and keep some of them on the field a little bit longer.”
Changes in the lineup
The Galaxy welcomed in players such as Paolo Cardozo, Chad Barrett and Bryan Jordan back into the lineup Friday, marking a wealth of returning talent to the club. Part of that was getting players back from injury (Ricketts and Barrett), but the movement in the starting lineup is something that will likely be repeated often down the stretch.
“We rotated some guys in and they responded,” defender Todd Dunivant said. “Paolo Cardozo, [Michael] Stephens, you saw Chad Barrett come back in and really do a good job. [Jordan] did a great job at right back. Those guys are stepping up and that’s what we need to have at this time because we have so many games this month. We’re going to have to rotate guys and it was a good step for us.”