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In praise of Nick Rimando after his game-winning performance over Colorado Rapids

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Real Salt Lake
Sure, this one was an easy save. He made plenty of hard ones, too.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The first chapter of the 2016 Rocky Mountain campaign is in the books, and Real Salt Lake added three points to their account.

While the attacking front three played great, and Joao Plata's goal was a beautiful example of the kind of disruption he creates with opposing defenses, this game was more about the goals that RSL didn't let in. Nick Rimando showed us again why he is the greatest goal keeper this league he has ever seen.

His performance was on point throughout the game. His decision making on coming off his line or staying big in the box was the difference maker in the game against the Rapids. He did have help in the 43rd minute to keep his clean sheet for the first time this season with Aaron Maund's headed save from the goal line.

Rimando's reaction saves are better than any other goalkeeper in the league, bar none. He is able to come off his line and rush the oncoming player and stay big to generate a big save. The box management he has in corners and set pieces taken is a big reason why RSL is sitting comfortably with 11 points, one point behind the league leaders, Sporting Kansas City.

Throughout the week we wondered whether or not we would be seeing the Wall of the Wasatch because of an ankle injury that kept him out of the game against another rival, Sporting KC. He erased all those doubts the moment he took the field.

Not only was is great to have Rimando back in the goal, but you were able to glimpse at how he helps manage the defense. He took a few seconds to praise or teach the back line for plays that were made.

If there was a Mount Rushmore of goalkeepers, Nick Rimando should be the only one up there. He takes this clean sheet and moves on the next game against the Whitecaps where RSL will try and help him get back to back clean sheets at the RioT.