Our man of goalkeeping, Nick Rimando, has hit that magical, momentous, and indelibly round number: 100.
That's right — Rimando has 100 wins for Real Salt Lake after Saturday's 2-1 win over Chicago Fire, and we can't be prouder. Rimando, the greatest goalkeeper in MLS never to win the goalkeeper of the year award, has an overall record of 100-71-62 — 233 appearances for the Salt Lake side. Over the last eight seasons, that's an average of 28 games per season played.
During those eight seasons, Rimando's also become one of the preeminent American goalkeepers, finding himself in the third spot in the U.S. Men's National Team goalkeeping pool. That status sent him to the World Cup, where he was never likely to play, but the trust showed in him spoke volumes to coach Jurgen Klinsmann's consideration.
His time at RSL has given Rimando the stability and consistency that his career had lacked in the years prior to his arrival. His time at DC United came to a surprising halt when injuries limited him to only two appearances in 2006, and he ended up at Real Salt Lake in 2007 via trade in a sort-of rider clause alongside one player not synonymous with the club: Freddy Adu.
Still, Rimando's time at RSL nearly never came to fruition. After arriving in December 2006, he was promptly traded less than two months later for "future considerations." Realizing fairly quickly they made a mistake after then-first-choice-keeper Scott Garlick retired, RSL made a quick move to bring him back to the fold. The instability that marked that dance in-then-out of the team wasn't long-lived, with Jason Kreis stepping into the head coach role and long-serving general manager Garth Lagerwey joining the office staff.
Since then, Rimando has been a highlight of RSL's approach to the game. He exemplifies "the team is the star" motto, and he's never been a player that was bigger than the team. His consistent play underscored a newly consistent Real Salt Lake. In 2009, his importance to the team went skyrocketing — he was immense in the playoffs, making one of the biggest penalty saves of his career against Chicago Fire — a reaching, grasping, clawing effort that kept RSL in the Eastern Conference final shootout. Shortly after that penalty save — the fourth in the set — he made two more, stopping Logan Pause and Brandon Prideaux from the spot, too.
In the 2009 MLS Cup Final, he made more stops , too, as he defined his style as much by penalty stops as by his consistent and spectacular shot-stopping. He stopped Jovan Kirovski and Edson Buddle in a spectacular effort that sent Real Salt Lake into a championship-winning fervor.
And so it was that the legend of Nick Rimando was sealed in history, and may it long be the case. He's hit 100 wins with the club, and there's no reason to quell the excitement about the best goalkeeper the league has ever seen.