Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando has been called up to join the U.S. national soccer team in its upcoming game against No. 9 ranked Russia. This game marks the seventh time in a row Rimando has joined the U.S. team.
The last game played was in Kansas City, Kan. against Guatemala where the U.S. won 3-1, advancing the team to the final round of World Cup Qualifying. Rimando joins the team after a season in Major League Soccer.
Rimando had a terrific season with RSL having 83 saves and 12 shutouts. Rimando allowed only one goal in the last four games of the season. Unfortunately, the goal was last weekend in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Seattle Sounders where RSL lost 1–0.
Though RSL did not advance to the Western Conference Finals, Rimando’s teammates had only good things to say about him.
“Nicks a battler and there is no question that he is the best goalkeeper in the league in my eyes,” midfielder Ned Grabavoy said. “He’s a pure shot stopper and just a guy that’s won everywhere he’s been.”
Kyle Beckerman, captain of the RSL team, had similar thoughts about the goalkeeper.
“Nick is a big time player for us and he’s been one of the best goalkeepers in the league for years now,” Beckerman said. “He does it year after year, so people expect it.”
One of the greatest moments for the goalie this season was during the first round of the Western Conference Semifinals when Rimando broke his nose during the game, stayed in and still had four amazing saves against the Sounders.
Directly after the game, RSL Coach Jason Kreis declared RImando’s performance historic.
“I just got of the radio and said, and I’ll say it again: I think it will have to go down as one of the single best individual performances by any player that’s ever worn an RSL jersey,” Kreis said.
When asked about his performance and its significance, Rimando spoke more of his team than himself.
“I don’t know, you have to ask my teammates,” Rimando said. “It was a good result for us here for sure, a result that we’re okay with going home to.”
Even the Sounders’ Coach Sigi Schmid recognized Rimando’s skill and compared it to his own goalie Michael Gspurning.
“I know Nicky (Rimando) fairly well, and he’s a good goalkeeper,” Schmid said. “He’s courageous and his reactions are good. He’s a great keeper, but Gspurning is right there. You saw two of the best goalkeepers in the league tonight.”
Hopefully Rimando’s record can help U.S. come home with a win this week against the Russians.
The U.S. team will play Russia at the Kuban Stadium in Krasnodar at 8:00 a.m. MT on Wednesday morning and the match can be seen live on ESPN2 and Univision Deportes.