CARSON, Calif. – In the Los Angeles Galaxy’s quest for MLS Cup 2009, goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was a vital cog on the path towards league glory.
Ricketts, though, was unable to see the job through. He broke his hand early in the second half of MLS Cup and had to leave the game.
With the Galaxy hosting Sunday’s Western Conference Championship against FC Dallas (9 pm ET, ESPN2), Ricketts has the chance to lead his team to MLS Cup glory.
But is his mind already in Toronto?
game at a time,” Ricketts said. “Hopefully come next week we do the job
on the field and I’ll think about the MLS Cup when it comes, but one
to go before that. We have to focus and not get ahead of ourselves, and
keep doing what we’re doing right now.”
What the Galaxy are doing right now is winning. The Galaxy have returned to their early-season dominance, evidenced in the way they turned away Seattle in the first round of the playoffs without too many problems. Save for a late goal in the second leg, Seattle’s strong offense was punchless against Ricketts and the defense.
Ricketts, the 2010 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, did his part, making 12 saves in two games. Several saves, particularly in the game at Qwest Field, were diving, sprawling saves that added to Seattle’s frustration.
But Ricketts has also paid the price physically. In the first leg, he hurt his shoulder making a save. For much of the second half, Ricketts was visibly favoring the shoulder and pointed to it a few times. On Sunday, Ricketts took a cleat to his right knee when Seattle’s Alvaro Fernandez dived after a ball.
But that wasn't going to stop him from finishing the game.
“I never leave games unless something is broken," Ricketts said. "No chance. It was painful initially, but as the game went on it got a little bit better.”
Facing FC Dallas, Ricketts and the Galaxy will once again have a tall task. The challenge moves from stopping the Sounders’ speedy flank play to containing the likes of David Ferreira, Jeff Cunningham and Brek Shea.
However the Galaxy plan for their Western Conference foes, Ricketts said the bottom line is to come out with a victory, regardless of what the game looks like.
“At this stage of the season, it's whatever you have to do to win,” he said. “Maybe it's not attractive, and maybe you guys won't like it, but once we get the win, that's OK.”