Orlando City has a problem.
The club surprised many by selecting goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts with the first pick in the 2014 Major League Soccer Expansion Draft, but with his selection, the Lions were also taking out an insurance policy.
Even before the draft, Orlando had already acquired a starting goalkeeper in Tally Hall, but when the former Houston Dynamo man suffered an ACL injury, Orlando decided to pick up Ricketts to hold down the position while Hall rehabbed his leg.
One of the most league's most decorated keepers, the 37-year-old Ricketts has been serviceable for Orlando during the club's first MLS season, but he hasn't played well enough to keep a healthy Tally Hall on the bench.
Through eight games, Ricketts has posted a goals against average of 1.25 per game, a mark that puts him 14th in MLS among keepers with at least five appearances. He also ranks 13th in the league in saves.
But perhaps the most disappointing statistic of all is Ricketts' save percentage. Among goalkeepers who have started all their team's MLS games, Ricketts' save rate of 65 percent ranks dead last.
So what's the upshot of all this?
Well, the plan was never for Ricketts to be the Lions' goalkeeper through the duration of the season. There were whispers that a strong early season performance from Ricketts could create a bit of controversy between the sticks, but that doesn't seem likely to happen now. When Hall is healthy, look for him to assume starting duties at goalkeeper.
This will leave Orlando, and Ricketts, with a couple options as far what happens next.
It's possible that Ricketts might simply decide to retire.The Jamaica Observer ran an article in December speculating that Ricketts might call it quits after this season. At 37 and in the last year of his contract, Ricketts could have trouble finding a starting job in MLS next year. He got paid handsomely in his last deal, and removed himself from Jamaican national team consideration after last year's World Cup cycle. The writing seems to be on the wall.
But perhaps Ricketts would be willing to finish out the season as a backup. Orlando would certainly love to have a keeper of his experience who could make spot starts in MLS games or handle friendlies and early-round U.S. Open Cup games. Ricketts has established himself as a leader on an Orlando City team looking to build an identity for the future, and there's no reason that role should have to end just because he's not playing every day.
But if Ricketts still wants to be an everyday goalkeeper in MLS, it's likely not going to be with Orlando City. So might the Lions look to trade him?
The market for a goalkeeper of Ricketts' experience is certainly healthy, but Orlando's asking price will have to be reasonable. Remember, the Lions were able to get a still-in-his-prime Tally Hall for allocation money and an international roster spot, and it's unlikely any team would offer that for Ricketts. Still though, Orlando City should pick up the phone if anyone calls about a goalkeeper.
One possible landing spot for Ricketts could be Philadelphia.
To put it simply, the Union's goalkeeping situation has gone from bad to worse to complete shambles in 2015. The club began the year with Algerian international Raïs M'Bolhi in goal. You might know M'Bolhi as the guy Landon Donovan scored "that goal" on in the 2010 World Cup.
But, in one of the strangest episodes of the young season, M'Bolhi was benched and then banned from club activities by the Union after a dismal performance against Sporting KC. That left Philly with two goalkeepers in John McCarthy and Andrew Blake. McCarthy started the last five games for the Union and has been unimpressive, posting a dismal save rate of 50 percent and allowing nine goals in just five games.
But in Wednesday's training session, Philadelphia lost both goalkeepers to injury, meaning the once banished M'Bolhi will likely start for the club this weekend, though a rift between player and team is still evident.
Despite all that, the Union are still in a position to remain competitive down the stretch in 2015, though they'll need to find a goalkeeper they can count on. Ricketts would seem to be an ideal candidate.
Orlando could ask for allocation money or even a SuperDraft pick in exchange for Ricketts, and give him the opportunity to finish his career as a starter with the Union. The clubs have been willing trade partners before, as Philly sent Amobi Okugo to Orlando in exchange for allocation money and a draft pick.
Trading Ricketts would be that rare move that helps Orlando City in the future without mortgaging their current season.
Whatever the Lions decide to do, once Hall returns from injury, it shouldn't take long for Orlando fans to find out just what the the club has in store for the only goalkeeper they've ever known.